The USACE regulatory program enables billions of dollars’ worth of construction and development projects to proceed each year while ensuring that they have minimal impact on the environment.
The USACE permit system is designed to be fast, fair and efficient. Approximately 86% of general permit decisions are made in 60 days or less. Many projects are authorized under nationwide or regional general permits, which provide faster decisions in instances where there will be minor environmental impact. The average processing time for general permits is 24 days. Most of the permits issued by USACE each year are general permits.
In many cases, USACE works with potential applicants during the planning and design of projects so that problems can be spotted early on and addressed, saving development costs and reducing potential environmental harm.
The permit program also minimizes environmental effects that would have a negative impact on fishing and hunting, commercial navigation, and recreational boating, all of which are multibillion-dollar industries. For example, the regulatory program ensures the continued viability of wetland-dependent species, which generate $15 billion in revenue a year for the fishing and shellfishing industry.
Finally, the regulatory program helps prevent or modify activities that could increase the potential for flooding or cause erosion, helping to prevent damage that could have a substantial negative economic impact.