Proposed Suspension and Modification of Nationwide Permit 21
In the July 15, 2009, issue of the Federal Register (74 FR 34311) the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a proposal to take two actions concerning Nationwide Permit 21, which authorizes discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States for surface coal mining activities. The two proposed actions are to suspend NWP 21 to prohibit its use to authorize surface coal mining activities in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, and then to modify NWP 21 to make that prohibition permanent until NWP 21 expires on March 18, 2012. In the July 15, 2009, notice we also offered commenters opportunity to request a public hearing. In the August 13, 2009, issue of the Federal Register (74 FR 40815), we extended the comment period to September 14, 2009. We have received several requests to hold public hearings, and have determined that hearings would afford us the opportunity to gain additional information to assist us in reaching decisions on these two proposed actions. Therefore, we will be holding public hearings in each of the six affected states. Written comments to supplement the hearing records may be submitted until October 26, 2009.