Army Corps of Engineers will close regulatory offices due to lac - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Army Corps of Engineers will close regulatory offices due to lack of federal funding

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The headquarters building of the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers got a bit emptier on Oct. 15 when the corps shut down its regulatory offices nationwide.

"Initially they had a skeleton crew. As of this morning, everybody in the regulatory division was sent home, including the chief," Brian Maka, spokesman for the Huntington District, said.

Regulatory functions in the Huntington District and others, including the Pittsburgh District, closed because of a lack of federal funding during the budget impasse in Congress.

Regulatory offices will not be able to evaluate individual permit applications, pre-construction notifications for nationwide permit or regional general permit authorizations as well as requests for jurisdictional determinations until after current-year funding is received and the offices reopen.

Normally about 400 people work in the Huntington District headquarters building. As of Oct. 15, that number was down to about 100, Maka said. The Huntington District employs about 800 people in the states where it operates, but about 450 of them are on furlough during the shutdown, Maka said.

All corps-operated recreation and day use areas are closed but operations dealing with safety and commerce, such as the flood control dams on the Ohio River tributaries and the navigation locks and dams on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, remain open, Maka said.

If an emergency activity needs to be conducted in waters or wetlands that require a Department of the Army authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 during the closure, the corps advises people to contact the Huntington District Emergency Operations Center at 304-399-5150, ext. 5320.

Anyone who applies for NWP authorizations is reminded by the corps that proposed NWP activities that require PCNs must wait before beginning the activity, and certain NWP PCNs require a written response from the corps before beginning the NWP activity.

Prospective applicants should be sure their proposed activities comply with all NWP terms and conditions, including regional conditions.