Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is authorized to permit or deny dredge and fill activities in the nation's coastal and wetland regions. Originally, responsible only for the maintenance of navigation, the Corps considered only navigational requirements in decisions to grant or deny permits. Now, however, the Corps must demonstrate, that the "public interest" is served as well. This study examines the scope of the public interest and attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in a particularly controversial project. The initial phase provides evaluation criteria necessary to analyze the application of the public interest review. The second phase determines the effectiveness of the review in the Hampton Roads refinery proposal. The results of this analysis suggest that the Corps complied with all procedural requirements within the broad public interest mandate. Factors, however, many of which are outside of the Corps' jurisdiction, exist which impact the decision making process.