Letters of permission are a type of permit issued through an abbreviated processing procedure. It includes coordination with federal and state fish and wildlife agencies as required by the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and a public interest evaluation but without the publishing of an individual public notice.
Letters of permission are available to the district engineer (see 33 CFR Part 325
, specifically 33 CFR 325.2(e)(1)). The letter is an expedited process for an individual permit, where a decision to issue is made within 45 days.
Letters of permission may be used for projects subject to Section 10
of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 when the Corps determines the proposed work would be minor, would not have significant individual or cumulative impacts on environmental values, and should encounter no appreciable opposition. Letters of permission cannot be used to authorize the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of dumping it into ocean waters. Additionally, the letter of permission cannot be used in the Alaska District for work under Section 404
of the Clean Water Act unless and until the district identifies suitable project categories in coordination with state and federal agencies.
All applications that qualify as letters of permission are categorically excluded under the Corps implementing regulations for the National Environmental Policy Act. See 33 CFR Part 325 Appendix B
for details. An environmental assessment or environmental impact statement is not legally mandated for letters of permssion. However, this does not exempt the Corps from complying with other laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, when issuing a letter of permission.
Letters of permission are issued in letter form and will identify the permittee, project location, work authorized, time limits, and any project-specific limitations or special conditions. Relevant general conditions are also attached and incorporated into the letter of permission.