Transport ship

Department of Defense – United States Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps)

Latham leverages significant skill, resources, and relationships with key regulators to help major companies interested in working within or near “navigable waters” under the Rivers and Harbors Act and “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act — the latter of which have been interpreted to include both minor wetlands and major waterways. Any project that involves discharge of dredge or fill material to “navigable waters” and other “waters of the United States,” including construction and dredging, must first be permitted by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority to review permits and can also play a critical role. During the permitting process, the Army Corps weighs a variety of factors and conducts reviews, all of which Latham lawyers are skilled at navigating, including:

  • Jurisdictional determinations
  • Working with other federal, state, and local agencies, interest groups, and the general public to obtain their views of a project
  • Assessing the availability and requirements of Nationwide or Regional General Permits in lieu of individual permits
  • Weighing in on the Army Corps’ alternatives analysis and “public interest review,” to ensure the Corps properly balances reasonable use of private property with the authorized impacts to navigable waters
  • Conducting environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Negotiating any mitigation the Army Corps might require because of an adverse impacts analysis, which may include: restoring, enhancing, creating, and preserving aquatic functions and values, as well as the use of in-lieu fees and mitigation banks
  • Responding to enforcement actions
  • Defending permits or challenging permit denials in any federal court in the country, as necessary

Latham’s environmental lawyers know what to expect and how to manage both nationwide and regional permits, as well as the complex Army Corps individual permitting process. Latham’s Environment, Land and Resources (ELR) Practice includes lawyers who have worked closely with Army Corps and EPA officials on a variety of high-profile matters, including in high-level government positions in the US Department of Interior, EPA, the Department of Justice, and the White House. Latham ELR lawyers know how to efficiently and effectively negotiate with the Army Corps in a manner that will result in common-sense solutions that save money, provide regulatory certainty for a company, and help avoid future environmental liabilities.