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Tennessee Environmental Procedures Manual

Chapter 8: Environmental Permits

8.1 Responsibilities

8.1.1 Parties Responsible for NEPA Phase Permits

During the NEPA phase, permits are required for archaeological field work. The Archaeology Section staff or its archaeological subcontractors desiring to conduct archaeological work on federally-owned or managed land must also get a permit pursuant to the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA), as amended. The federal land manager will issue the ARPA permit for excavation or removal of any archeological resources on federal lands, including Indian lands, and to carry out activities associated with such excavation or removal.

The Archaeology Section staff or its archaeological consultants desiring to conduct archaeological work on state-owned or state-managed lands must obtain a State Archaeological Permit from the TDEC Division of Archaeology. The permit gives the applicant the right to proceed with the activities outlined in the approved permit. The State Archaeologist and his/her staff have the right to inspect the project at any time, and to revoke, suspend, or deny the issuance of a permit to anyone who violates the state statutes or departmental regulations.

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8.1.2 Parties Responsible for Post-NEPA Phase Permits

At TDOT, the Environmental Division's Natural Resources, Environmental Permits Section is responsible for securing most of the required pre-construction phase permits. The Permits Section staff shall:

  1. Assess permit needs for each project and identify other approvals needed;
  2. Review each project's plans and ecology reports and advise the Design Division on any plan revisions, permit sketches, and any additional information needed to minimize environmental harm to a level that will allow TDOT to obtain regulatory approval. This information is requested in the permit assessment sent to the TDOT Roadway Design Division. The TDOT roadway guidelines assist the roadway designers in providing this information initially with the project plans for permit acquisition;
  3. Coordinate with permitting agencies, such as federal agencies (i.e., US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), US Coast Guard (USCG), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)); and state agencies (i.e., TDEC and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA));
  4. Apply for and obtain project permits from corresponding agencies 1 ; and
  5. Distribute final permit application and permits to TDOT staff involved in project design, project construction, project tracking and scheduling, and others, as needed.


1. The exceptions to this process are US Coast Guard Bridge Permits, which the Hydraulic Design Section in the TDOT Structures Division obtains, and non-contract maintenance project permits, which are obtained by the TDOT Region Offices. The non-contract maintenance projects are not subject to NEPA.

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