Section Water Quality Certification

Water Quality Certification under Section 401 of the CWA is required for certain activities in wetlands and waters. Water Quality Certification sets out the conditions that have identified as being necessary to ensure that a proposed project will comply with state or tribal water quality standards and other appropriate requirements of state or tribal law. This process gives states and tribes the authority to review projects that require federal approval (such as a permit or license) and that might result in a discharge to state or tribal waters, including wetlands. For a wind energy facility, needed federal approvals that could trigger the need for a 401 Water Quality Certification include a permit from the USACE pursuant to Section 404 of the CWA or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.

The EPA has primary authority under Section 401, but authority is often delegated to a state agency. In general, Section 401 Water Quality Certification should not cause delays in project approval. In many cases, Section 401 review is conducted at the same time as the federal agency approval process pursuant to a joint permit process. A state also may issue a general Section 401 Water Quality Certification for a Nationwide Permit (NWP) or Regional Programmatic General Permit (PGP) promulgated under Section 404 of the CWA. Some states use their CWA authority to impose additional conditions on or deny a NWP. Developers should consult with the applicable state environmental agency for more information about Section 401 Water Quality Certification.

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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