NEPA Compliance for Energy & Utilities
September 16-17, 2021 | Online :: Central Time
Many proposed energy and utility projects trigger federal agency environmental reviews to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which can cause project delays, higher costs, and threaten whether a proposed project can be built at all. Recent changes in the NEPA regulations developed by the Trump Administration and under review by the courts and the Biden Administration have increased the risks for infrastructure project developers of wind, solar, electric transmission, water projects as well as oil and gas infrastructure.
This course will address these risks and provide tips and techniques for energy project applicants to produce a legally defensible and successful NEPA process. We will review the NEPA process from scoping to the final document Record of Decision (ROD) for an environmental impact statement (EIS) or a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for an environmental assessment (EA). The program also includes practical exercises and examples of strategies that address the levels of analysis required for a Categorical Exclusion (CX), EA, and EIS. The course will also address what is needed to prepare a Purpose & Need, Project Description for the Proposed Action, Environmental Setting and Environmental Consequences and Cumulative Impacts sections in an EA and EIS. Attendees are encouraged to bring real world situations (i.e. “what if my project…….”) to the class for discussion.
- Gain insight on the National Environmental Policy Act such as its history, regulations, requirements, and reforms, as well as overall tips and techniques
- Review what has changed in the new 2020 regulations based on the CEQ’s decisions and discuss the transition from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration
- Examine the meanings behind Proposed Action and Identifying Alternatives and what is included
- Evaluate the “affected environment,” including its development, analysis, significance, and impact
- Discuss mitigation measures versus best management practices and the critical regulatory issues that cause delays and kill projects
- Review environmental impact assessment approaches
Thursday, September 16, 2021 : Central Time
8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome
12:30 – 1:15 p.m.
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
NEPA Regulated Activities
- Projects requiring federal action and NEPA review
- Agencies that use NEPA reviews for planning and issuing permits
- Kinds of projects
Overview of the NEPA Requirements
NEPA Reform and CEQ’s Final Regulations
- What changed with the 2020 regulations
- What the Courts said
- President Biden’s CEQ review of the 2020 regulations
- CEQ and Agency-Specific NEPA Guidance Documents
- What the CEQ issued
- What the guidance doesn’t tell you
- What “lead” agencies won’t tell you
NEPA Rules and Requirements
- Categorical Exclusion Process
- Environmental Assessment Process
- Environmental Impact Statement Process
Description of Proposed Action and Identifying Alternatives
- What are the five “Ws”?
- Finding the purpose and need for the project
- Alternatives development
- Questions to ask yourself when identifying alternatives
What Is Scoping and Why Is It So Important?
- Using the scoping process to identify very important environmental and community effects that require a harder look under NEPA
- Revisiting the proposed action and alternatives
The Affected Environment
- Developing the Affected Environment (yesterday, today, and tomorrow)
- What’s included
- Analysis of environmental impacts and benefits
- How NEPA measures significance
- Presenting significant impacts in an EIS
Mitigation Measures v. Best Management Practices
Friday, September 17, 2021 : Central Time
8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Decision Documents and the Record
How Companies, Federal Agencies, NGOs, Landowners, and Courts Perceive NEPA
Critical Regulatory Issues that Cause Delays and Kill Projects
Little NEPAs: State Equivalents to the National Environmental Policy Act
Environmental Impact Assessment Approaches
- Traditional approach
- Avoidance approach
- Mitigation approach
- Collaborative approach
NEPA Tips and Techniques
- Project management tools
- Facilitating agency document reviews
- Working with contractors
- Schedules and timing
Tom Russo, Principal, Russo on Energy
Tom Russo is an Energy and Environmental expert with unique FERC regulatory skills in siting hydropower, natural gas and liquefied natural gas infrastructure, NEPA environmental impact assessment, and how energy markets, prices, and physical/cybersecurity affect infrastructure investments.
Prior to founding Russo on Energy LLC in May 2015, Mr. Russo worked for over 30 years as a Manager and Sr. Energy Industry Analyst at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). During that time, he amassed experience in hydropower licensing, NEPA environmental impact assessment of energy projects, business process reengineering, and natural gas and crude oil market oversight. Mr. Russo thoroughly understands the Natural Gas Act, Natural Gas Policy Act, Federal Power Act, and Energy Policy Act as they apply to natural gas and hydroelectric projects. He is very active in hydropower and natural gas matters and writes an Energy and Environmental column for the Natural Gas and Electricity Journal. He also co-authored for the R Street Institute entitled “Ebbing the flow of hydropower red tape.”
Mr. Russo is a native of Brooklyn, New York. He earned a credential as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) in 2010. He also graduated with an MBA in Finance from the George Washington University and a MS in Biology from the University of Alabama.
We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
- You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
- Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
- You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
- If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
- The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.
Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ
If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event
EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.
EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this event.
Requirements for Successful Completion of Program
Participants must log in each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.
PowerPoint presentations and open discussion, along with real use cases.
Who Should Attend
If you are new to NEPA and impact assessment, or simply need a concise, clear description of the process, this course will get you up-to-speed quickly. The course is also designed as a refresher course for more experienced professionals who will be starting projects under the new regulations. Energy and utility company decision makers, project managers, engineers, scientists, and attorneys and their consultants as well as federal and state agency staff who are concerned about the environmental effects of federal actions will benefit from the course.