Section State Water Quality Certification

As discussed in Section, state Section 401 Water Quality Certification is required under the federal CWA for certain activities in wetlands and waters. Section 401 of the CWA gives states and tribes the authority to review projects that require federal licenses or permits and that might result in a discharge to state or tribal waters, including wetlands. For a wind energy facility, such federal approval might include a permit from the USACE pursuant to Section 404 of the CWA or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. The purpose of Section 401 review is to ensure that a project will comply with state or tribal water quality standards and other appropriate requirements of state or tribal law.

Section 401 Certification should generally not cause delays in project approval. In most cases, Section 401 Certification review is conducted at the same time as the federal agency review. Many states have established a joint permit process to ensure this occurs. For Section 404 permits, the USACE has developed Nationwide and Regional Programmatic General Permits to streamline the approval process for specific activities that disturb a minimum acreage of jurisdictional wetlands (i.e., where an individual wetland permit is not required). These Nationwide and General permits may already have been approved, denied, or partially denied by the applicable state agency, including

Many states, such as Iowa and Minnesota, have developed joint applications that are submitted to USACE and the state simultaneously for a consolidated review of wetland jurisdiction and the need for permitting.


Example completing the Section 401 review. Thus, if a state has approved the Nationwide or General permit, no further state review is required for Section 401 Certification; otherwise, varying degrees of state review and certification are required.

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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