Wetlands - Land Use

Overview

Few federal environmental programs are as controversial as the Clean Water Act’s Section 404 wetlands permitting process administered by the Army Corps of Engineers.  Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. routinely represents private developers, trade associations and other entities who find themselves embroiled in the Section 404 process.  We have a successful track record in reaching common sense solutions to challenges raised by the Army Corps or public interest groups in response to our clients’ permit applications.  From golf courses, to mixed-use communities, to mining operations, we have helped obtain permit approval from Corps Districts across the country.  When the need arises, we also have successfully filed court challenges to certain regulatory requirements or policies, helping to shape the programs themselves to our clients’ interests.  Beveridge & Diamond will continue to be a leader in this field as requirements under the Section 404 program evolve from administration to administration.

Full Description

Wetlands permitting requirements can be the unexpected surprise that kills a development project or the endless process that devours potential profits and gnaws away at the project design. Violating or ignoring wetlands permit requirements can lead to significant penalties and onerous restoration obligations. Beveridge & Diamond has substantial experience with the federal wetlands program under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and comparable state programs. That experience equips us with the insight, tenacity and common sense to navigate development projects through these complex regulatory programs. And where common sense fails, we have a history of successful court challenges to regulatory requirements, shaping the programs themselves to our clients' interests.

Obtaining wetlands permits from the Corps of Engineers for a wide range of development projects has been a mainstay of the Firm's wetlands practice. Projects we have worked on include planned communities, shopping malls, golf courses, industrial developments, mining operations and even a family farm. We have represented developers and builders, major industrial corporations, governmental entities and individuals.

Projects that require federal Section 404 wetlands permits typically must also address the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), and may encounter endangered species or historic preservation issues. Coordination with state and federal resource agencies is almost always required. Controversial projects may face the threat of an EPA permit veto. We work with our clients to develop successful permitting strategies that are comprehensive, timely and responsive to project needs and regulatory requirements.

In every assignment, we bring to bear our national reputation and experience, which help to forge more uniform and predictable outcomes from a system administered by largely autonomous Corps districts.

Recent Matters

Among our more recent projects in this area are:

  • We secured a Section 404 permit for a large mixed-use development in coastal Delaware and resolved challenges to the project by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding endangered species on adjacent properties.
  • We served as legal counsel for permitting the three largest wetland projects completed in the San Francisco District of the Army Corps of Engineers, and also successfully handled the litigation that resulted from two of these projects.
  • We resolved endangered species and associated water quality regulatory issues for a telecommunication company's network that looped from Oregon down to San Diego and then throughout California.
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