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Collins Demands More Answers from Corps on Increased Permit Fees

Aug 26, 2019
Press Release

GAINESVILLE, Ga.—Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Rick Allen (R-Ga.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) sent a second letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) demanding a more thorough explanation on the anticipated cost increase for dock and facility permits. 

On June 6, 2019, the Corps announced the implementation of a revised real estate administrative fee schedule for dock and land-based facility permits along the shorelines of Federal reservoirs and waterways in the South Atlantic Division. Under the revised fee schedule, new dock or facility permits will increase from $400 to $835 and re-issue permits will increase from $175 to $835.

On June 28, 2019, the Corps responded to Members’ original letter dated June 14, 2019, but failed to provide adequate justification for the fee increases. 

Full text of the letter can be viewed here and below.

Brig. Gen. Diana Holland 
Commander, South Atlantic Division 
US Army Corps of Engineers 
60 Forsyth St. SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-8801

Dear Brig. Gen. Holland,

We are in receipt of your letter dated June 28, 2019, however we believe that a number of our questions were not sufficiently answered. Furthermore, we have additional questions regarding the information your office provided.

As you know, on June 6, 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced the implementation of a revised real estate administrative fee schedule (administrative fees) for dock and land-based facility permits along the shorelines of Federal reservoirs and waterways in the South Atlantic Division. The revised administrative fee schedule, effective on January 1, 2020, includes an increase in fees for new and re-issued dock and land-based facility permits. Under the revised fee schedule, the cost to individuals for a new dock or facility permit will increase from $400 to $835 and the cost for a re-issued permit will increase from $175 to $835.

Please provide detailed and direct responses addressing the following areas:

     1) Explain why an assessment by the staffs at the Corps reservoirs within SAD of administrative fees to cover administrative expenses was initiated in 2006 but no decision on a revised fee schedule was made for thirteen years; 
     2) The Corps left the fee schedule unchanged for more than a decade and then decided to increase the amount exponentially. Explain why a more gradual phase-in to increase fees was not implemented; 
     3) Explain why the Corps did not follow required notice and comment procedures under 5 U.S.C. 553;
     4) Explain how your office implemented a public information campaign to explain the revised real estate administrative fee schedule and why it is necessary; and 
     5) Provide evidence to justify the fee amount of $835 for all of these services. Please be specific showing the study that the USACE did to arrive at this number, including evidence that the administrative burden for new permits, modifying permits, and renewing permits is the exact same.

We respectfully request that you respond no later than September 9, 2019. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices should you have any questions. We look forward to your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

 

Doug Collins
Member of Congress

Jeff Duncan
Member of Congress

Barry Loudermilk 
Member of Congress

Virginia Foxx
Member of Congress

Jody Hice 
Member of Congress

Rick Allen
Member of Congress

Sanford Bishop
Member of Congress