Posted on September 13, 2022
Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District denied IPOP, LLC’s permit application to dredge and dispose of material in wetlands and waterways of the U.S. near Nome, Alaska. USACE rejected the proposed project under its authority for Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.
IPOP, LLC’s stated purpose for dredging was to conduct gold mining activities and gather scientific information in an area of about 195 acres within Safety Sound and Bonanza Channel near the Seward Peninsula community.
USACE’s regulatory mission is to maintain and restore the nation’s aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions.
“Today’s action is reflective of an exhaustive permit review process,” said Col. Damon Delarosa, commander of the Alaska District. “On top of extensive consultations with our sister agencies and tribal partners as well as collecting the public’s input, the applicant failed to adequately show that their proposal is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative.”
Nationwide, less than one percent of all requests for USACE permits are denied. Those few applicants who are rejected usually have refused to change the design, timing or location of the proposed activity.
“The Corps is neither an opponent nor a proponent of any project,” said Sara Longan, acting chief of the Alaska District’s Regulatory Division. “We owe the public a thorough review and a timely decision, which is the last milestone that we find ourselves at today.”
The mission of USACE’s Regulatory Program is one of the oldest in the federal government. Initially, it served to protect and maintain the navigable capacity of the nation’s waters. Time, changing public needs, evolving policy, case law and new statutory mandates have led to modifications to the program and its authorities.
USACE’s jurisdiction as related to the DA permit application process includes Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1972, under which USACE regulates the discharge of dredge and fill materials in waters of the United States; and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, under which USACE is responsible for the protection and maintenance of the nation’s navigable waterways.