Read about section 404 HERE
I-5 CORRIDOR REINFORCEMENT PROJECT 404 PERMIT
BPA, as a federal agency, is subject to the regulations of the Clean Water Act, to the same extent as any
nongovernmental entity. See CWA section 313, 33 USC 1323. Thus, in the case of the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement
Project, since all action alternatives involve the discharge of dredge or fill material into a "water of the United
States," we need to obtain a 404 permit, and the Corps will make the decision on which alignment meets their
regulatory standards - i.e., receives their section 404 permit. The complexity regarding the section 404 permit is that then Corps can only permit "the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative or "LEDPA." The Corps determines this through its 404(b)(1) alternatives analysis. The Corps
first develops (in coordination with BPA) a "reasonable array" of project alternatives, and then undertakes a two
step analysis. In the first step, the Corps determines which of the alternatives are technologically, economically, and logistically practical to carry out (relying heavily on information from BPA) and in the second step, the Corps
takes those alternatives which have met the practicability test (step 1), and determines which of those is the least
environmentally damaging to "aquatic resources." Again, the Corps can only issue a 404 permit for the LEDPA.
While BPA can select any alternative for I-5, if the Corps cannot conclude the alternative is the LEDPA then the
Corps cannot issue a 404 permit for that alternative, effectively precluding the project’s construction because to
do otherwise would violate the CWA. BPA generally doesn't experience such detailed review by
the Corps of our 404 permits because the vast majority of our projects fit into what is called a "Nationwide Permit."
Nationwide permits do not require application of the 404(b)(1) alternatives analysis. The I-5 Corridor project,
however, does not qualify for a Nationwide Permit, and is instead being processed as an Individual Permit (which
does require the 404(b)(1) alternatives analysis and a demonstration that the proposed project is the LEDPA.
Since both agencies are presumably going to rely on the same NEPA document (Corps is a cooperating agency on
the EIS), the Corps will make its permit decision after the Final EIS has been issued. There is no rule as to whether
the Corps must make its decision prior to or after BPA makes its decision, but it would be preferable for the Corps
to make its permit decision prior to our ROD so we can cite that fact in our ROD. It is possible that if the Corps is not satisfied with our Final EIS, they could decide to supplement the Final EIS with their own NEPA document,
or even decide to deny the permit based on insufficient information. However, that scenario, while possible, is
extremely unlikely. The working relation with the Corps is improving and we anticipate a permit decision will be
forthcoming in a timely manner.
Click on the attachment below to read the newest 2011 plan to protect spotted owls
|RevisedNSORecPlan2011.pdf||[ ]||2235 kB|
September 4, 2011
Underground lines can inspire sticker shock
Sep 04 - The Stamford Advocate, Stamford, Conn.
October 30, 2011
These articles from The Columbian reinforces the fact that BPA needs the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project in order to sell more power. More power = more money. Unfortunately, we will pay for the greed three ways: as landowners, ratepayers, and taxpayers.
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