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Priority Review of Permit Applications under WRDA

The Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (WRDA 2000, Public Law No. 106-541) as amended, allows the Corps to accept funds from non-federal public entities to provide priority review of their permit applications.

Section 214 of WRDA 2000 reads as follows:

a. IN GENERAL. -In Fiscal Years 2001 through 2003, the Secretary (of the Army), after public notice, may accept and expend funds contributed by non-federal public entities to expedite the evaluation of permits under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army.

b. EFFECT ON PERMITTING - In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall ensure that the use of funds accepted under subsection (a) will not impact impartial decision making with respect to permits, either substantively or procedurally.

The Secretary of the Army has delegated this responsibility to the Chief of Engineers and his authorized representatives, including the Commander of the Philadelphia District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Non-federal public entities are comprised of state and local governmental agencies and Indian tribal governments. They include, but are not limited to, local transportation agencies desiring to expedite highway projects, port authorities wanting permits expedited for marine terminals, flood and storm water management agencies, and governmental economic development agencies seeking to expedite permit applications for certain kinds of work, including industrial or commercial development.

The Corps Regulatory Program is funded as a congressionally appropriated line item in the annual Federal budget. Additional funds received by the Philadelphia District from a non-Federal public entity are used to augment the Philadelphia District Regulatory budget, in accordance with the provisions of WRDA 2000 as amended. Funds are used primarily to hire additional staff to expedite the evaluation of permit applications designated by the non-Federal public entity.

    To ensure funds received from a from a Non-Federal public entity will not impact impartial decision-making, the following procedures have been established:
  •  All final permit decisions for cases where these funds are used must be reviewed at least by one level above the decision maker, unless the decision maker is the District Commander.  
  • All final permit decisions for cases where these funds are used will be made available on the Philadelphia District web page.

  •  The Corps will not eliminate any procedures or decisions that would otherwise be required for that type of project and permit application under consideration.

  •  The Corps will comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

  •  Funds will only be expended to provide priority review of the participating non-federal entity’s permit application.  

Currently the Philadelphia District is accepting funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to expedite review of permit applications. The point of contact for the Philadelphia District is Todd Schaible.