Permit Processing

The New Orleans District (NOD) will accept permit applications directly from applicants whose proposed activity is located outside the Louisiana Coastal Zone. Permit applications for proposed activities situated within the Coastal Zone must first be submitted to the Coastal Management Division (CMD) of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, who will then forward a copy of the permit application to the NOD. Upon receipt, an application is immediately assigned to a permit analyst and given a permit number. The application form and drawings are reviewed by the permit analyst to determine if the information submitted is sufficient to consider the permit application complete. If the drawings are not acceptable or additional information is needed to consider the application form complete, permit processing stops until the needed information is supplied by the applicant and/or his authorized agent.

Complete applications are evaluated to determine if the proposed activity may be authorized by a Nationwide Permit or General (Regional) Permit. These are permits in which the public and governmental agencies have previously agreed to authorization of certain well-defined, routine, noncontroversial categories of work within designated areas.

When an individual permit application is determined to be complete, a public notice containing the name and address of the applicant, location of the proposed activity, and project description is advertised for comment. Comment periods normally do not exceed 30 days. The public notice is the primary method of advising interested Federal, state and local resource and/or regulatory agencies, environmental organizations and private individuals of the proposed activity and of soliciting comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impact on the public interest.

For Section 404 activities the Corps must evaluate the proposed activity under the Environmental Protection Agency's 404(b)(1) guidelines. The applicant must demonstrate that there are no feasible/practicable less environmentally damaging alternative sites available to the applicant that would achieve the project purpose.

Prior to Department of the Army authorization, the applicant must obtain a Coastal Use Permit if the project site is located within the coastal zone, a Water Quality Certification from the Department of Environmental Quality for Section 404 activities and provide mitigation and or compensation for all unavoidable impacts to wetland resources.

After all actions have been completed, the District Engineer will determine in accordance with applicable regulations whether or not the permit should be issued. The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits expected to result from the proposed action must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.

If the final decision is not to issue a permit, the applicant will be advised in writing of the reasons the proposed activity was considered contrary to the public interest.

If the final decision is to issue the permit, an original typed copy of the permit is sent to the applicant by mail. The applicant is given the opportunity to review the permit and conditions of approval. If acceptable, the applicant must sign and date the original copy and return it to the NOD along with the required noncommercial activity ($10) and/or commercial activity ($100) processing fee. After a permit has been signed by the applicant and returned with the required processing fee, an official of the NOD will sign the permit. The signed permit is then mailed to the permittee.