Projects which may cause more than minimal adverse effects to the aquatic environment, should receive an SP review. LOPs, that are subject to Section 10 of the RHA, should be used on a case-by-case basis to authorize activities where the work will have only minor individual or cumulative impacts on the environment or navigation, and where the work would encounter no appreciable opposition. LOPs in cases subject to Section 404 CWA (as well as Section 10 RHA), may be used to authorize projects that exceed the aforementioned thresholds, provided a PN has been issued establishing the suite of activities and geographic area where the LOP will be in effect. This process is essentially the same as establishing an RGP. Normally, coordination with applicable Federal and State agencies project by project is included in an LOP and adjacent property owners are notified. The short agency notification period, lack of need for a PN and the additional activity conditions associated with an LOP result in abbreviated documentation needed to authorize a project under an established LOP, which saves time over the preparation of an SP decision document.
Emergency Procedures. Division engineers are authorized to approve special procedures in emergency situations. Each division should develop emergency permit authorization procedures. An “emergency” is defined in the regulations (33 CFR 325.2(e)(4)) as a situation which would result in an unacceptable hazard to life, a significant loss of property, or an immediate unforeseen, and significant economic hardship if corrective action, requiring a permit, is not undertaken within a time period less than the normal time to process the application under standard procedures. In these situations, the district engineer explains the situation and the associated permit procedures to the division engineer then issues the permit after the division engineer concurs. This entire process may be verbal in extreme emergencies. Even in emergency situations, districts should make a reasonable effort to obtain comments from the involved Federal, State, local agencies, and the public. A decision document may be prepared after the fact and should include an environmental assessment (EA). In addition, districts should publish a notice regarding the special procedures and their rationale and prepare an EA and statement of findings (SOF) as soon as practicable after the emergency permit is issued. Districts should also maximize the use exemptions, as well as available regional, programmatic, and nationwide GPs in emergency situations. Some districts have developed GPs for emergency situations, which the district believes will periodically reoccur. This provides a more efficient, predictable permit mechanism to deal with the emergency when it reoccurs without reinventing the wheel, as well as an opportunity to efficiently coordinate with the involved agencies and the public. In any event, districts and divisions should establish procedures for the coordination of emergency permits whether or not GPs have been developed.