July 31, 2016

Water Docket
Mr. David Olson
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Attn: CECW-CO-R,
441 G Street NW Washington, DC 20314-1000

Re: Comments by the North Dakota Grain Growers Association regarding the Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits (Docket ID No. COE-2015- 0017)

Dear Mr. Olson,

I write on behalf of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association (NDGGA) to offer comments regarding the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits (NWPs). NDGGA, through its contracts with the North Dakota Wheat Commission and the North Dakota Barley Council, engages in domestic policy issues on behalf of the 19,000 wheat farmers and 4000 barley farmers in the state of North Dakota.

NDGGA has grave concerns regarding the new definitions contained in the new NWPs rulemaking; these new definitions appear to circumvent the legal process of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) court case which now in litigation. Specifically, USACE has made reference to new WOTUS definitions for what constitutes a waterbody, non-tidal wetland and ordinary high water mark; these new definitions are in judicial review presently and should not be included in the new rulemaking. Additionally, the proposed waiver modifications to impose a linear foot cap on losses of intermittent and ephemeral stream beds potentially eligible for waivers of the 300 linear foot limit would be overly burdensome and excessive, and create more need for standard individual permits. Finally the requirements in the proposed rule requiring compensatory mitigation are burdensome for permittees and will be detrimental to the NWPs process.

NDGGA provides a voice for wheat and barley producers on domestic policy issues – such as crop insurance, disaster assistance and the Farm Bill – while serving as a source for agronomic and crop marketing education for its members.

Phone: 701-282-9361 | Fax: 701-239-7280 | 1002 Main Ave W. #3 West Fargo, N.D. 58078

NDGGA is in support of the USACE’s NWPs permitting process; it is a valuable “tool in the toolbox” for orderly water management for North Dakota and the nation. NDGGA understands that the USACE NWPs rulemaking regarding NWPs is under a timeline crunch; that said it is imperative that the correct rules be adopted. The North Dakota Grain Growers Association respectfully request the United States Army Corps of Engineers consider our Association’s comments and adopt rules consistent with our requests.

Sincerely,

John Weinand
President
North Dakota Grain Growers Association