Four Environmental Review Issues That Come up During Oil and Gas Projects

Environmental Review, Oil and Gas surveyingFor oil and gas companies, making sure that their projects comply with all pertinent environmental regulations is of the utmost importance. In addition to demonstrating good corporate citizenship, looking out for possible environmental problems in advance is necessary in order to avoid possible delays and reroutes once the project has already started.

Oil and gas projects are unique when it comes to environmental compliance because they tend to cover large areas and multiple jurisdictions with different sets of regulations. As a result, it can be helpful to work with an environmental consulting firm that understands the unique challenges that oil and gas companies face involving environmental regulations.

Read on to learn about a few of the environmental issues your oil and gas project may encounter.

1. Endangered species

Animal life is an important part of the areas where we live and work. Therefore, it’s important to find a way to implement your oil and gas project without threatening the most vulnerable members of the animal community.

In many cases, an endangered species will only live in a certain area. If your project team is not familiar with the wildlife in that area, they might not be aware of the presence of endangered species and the regulations that often accompany them. Educating your team about endangered species and helping you come up with a plan that accounts for them is one of the most important services an environmental review firm can perform for an oil and gas company.

2. Wetlands building regulations

Wetlands serve as important habitats for a wide variety of plant and animal life, so it’s no surprise that government agencies have taken steps to protect them. If your oil and gas project requires you to build in or around a wetland area, it’s vital that you take steps to obtain the necessary permits far in advance. The process of securing such a permit can take anywhere from six to 18 months. If you’re ready to start your project but don’t have the necessary permits, there typically is no other choice than to shut down the project and wait.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is solely responsible for the entire wetlands permitting process. When you receive your permit depends entirely upon the USACE’s schedule. As a result, this is definitely not something you’d want to leave until the last minute.

3. State water regulations

While the federal wetlands regulations can be difficult to navigate, state regulations around protected bodies of water are a different concept altogether. If your oil and gas project passes through multiple states, you would be beholden to a different jurisdiction for each individual state and would therefore have to follow multiple sets of regulations for protected bodies of water.

In addition to knowing which bodies of water are protected in each state, you’d also need to know what types of regulations and permits each state has established. Working with an experienced environmental consulting firm can help simplify this process.

4. Archaeological and historical sites

There’s history everywhere you look, and that includes your project site. It’s one thing to plan around known historical and archaeological sites, but there are always going to be undiscovered sites hidden below the surface that you can’t predict or plan for.

If one of these sites should turn up in the course of your project work, it’s important that you have a backup plan in place to keep your project progressing without disturbing the site.

Landpoint for environmental consulting services

If you need an environmental consulting firm to help you navigate the complexities outlined here, Landpoint can help. Review some examples of our environmental consulting work or download our eBook “How a Land Surveyor Can Provide Extra Value to Your Oil and Gas Project” to learn more.

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The Environmental Review Process: What You Need to Know

Environmental ReviewFor the community, the goal of an environmental review is to understand the environmental impact of a project and make sure controls are in place to mitigate potential damage. For the business, the goal is to get permits granted so work can begin. Growing environmental awareness means regulatory entities may be stricter than ever. It’s important to treat the environmental review as a priority and give it enough attention. Here’s what you need to know to get through the environmental review process.

Start the Environmental Review Process Early

The environmental review can sometimes take a surprising amount of time to complete. This is because they can take into account a variety of factors such as the impact to local waterways, wetlands, air and wildlife. Getting a permit to work in or around wetlands can take nearly two years by itself. Even when the environmental review process ends with permits granted, they may incorporate restrictions based on the information presented during the review. This means that planning for the project is heavily impacted by the outcome of the review, which is another reason to try to complete the review as quickly as possible.

Begin by identifying all the permits required in each locality so preparation can begin as soon as possible. Multiple levels of government and multiple agencies within each level may be involved in reviewing your project.

Work With a Firm With Experience in the Environmental Review Process

Missing a required permit application can be costly. It isn’t always obvious when specific permits are required; the definition of wetlands and navigable waterways is the result of Supreme Court decisions. The best way to succeed in your environmental review is to work with an experienced company that knows what approvals you need to obtain. Work with a firm that has its own team and doesn’t use a subcontractor to perform this work.

An experienced firm will have relationships with the agencies that review the applications. This lets them keep up with changing requirements and avoid delays by preparing all the necessary documentation in the correct format.

Because multiple federal and state agencies are involved in some reviews, like the section 404 permit the Army Corps of Engineers issues for projects that impact wetlands, guidance from a team with a history of successful applications is crucial. There are multiple kinds of permits issued under section 404 and an experienced team can make sure your project applies for and receives the correct one.

Be Prepared for Both State and Local Regulations

Construction projects are impacted not only by federal environmental regulations like the Clean Water Act but also by state and local regulations. It’s important to realize that state definitions of terms like “wetland” can differ from the federal requirements. Plus, local standards often add additional requirements on top of the state’s. Depending on the location of the project, different reviews may be mandatory. In some cases, the local government may have the ultimate authority to issue the permit, while in others, the city can provide input but the state still makes the decision.

State and local requirements may be reviewed and approved on different timelines from the federal review, so working with a firm that knows the local process can help coordinate activity to meet the project’s needs.

Landpoint provides environmental services that span the entire scope of federal and state permitting, including wetlands and water permits, air emission permits, grassland surveys and site characterizations. Contact us to discuss how we can help you get through your environmental review.

The Four Environmental Review Steps For Wetland Regulatory Compliance

Environmental-ReviewWetlands play an important role in the environment, which is why there are very strict policies in place when it comes to development in or around wetland areas. If you’re planning a project in an area that turns out to include wetlands, there are a number of environmental review steps you must take in order to ensure that your project is compliant. These steps include:

  • Delineation
  • Permitting
  • Mitigation banking
  • Monitoring

In this post, we’ll cover each of these four steps and what they mean to you. However, working with environmental assessment services is the best way to ensure that your project is compliant.


The first step in responsible wetland regulatory compliance is finding out exactly where the wetlands are within your project plan. This is accomplished through a process known as delineation.

When you hire an environmental analyst to conduct a wetlands delineation on your behalf, the analyst will come to your project site and collect scientific data about the soil, vegetation and topography of the area. If, based on these three elements, the analyst finds that the area meets the legal definition of wetlands, then performing work in that area will require special considerations on your part.

Once the reviewer has an idea of where the wetlands are, the professional land surveyor can  mark the boundaries of the area. Then they can map the wetland boundaries and add the map to a project plan, which can be presented to local authorities.


The specific wetlands regulatory compliance permits required for a project will vary greatly based on the specific local, state, and federal regulations. This is why it can be so helpful to work with experienced professionals who know the specifics of a particular area and can walk you through the process.

In spite of the fact that there are so many different permits out there, almost all construction projects will be held in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. In order to conduct a project that may affect the area in or around wetlands, a company must first receive a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. These permits are issued in accordance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Your professional environmental review firm can help you understand what’s involved with Section 404, so that you can approach the permit application process with confidence.

Mitigation Banking

The idea behind mitigation banking is that companies should have a plan in place to help offset the negative impact they may cause to a wetlands area. By performing preservation, enhancement, restoration or creation (PERC) activities in similar ecosystems near the affected area, organizations can make sure they are in compliance with any mitigation banking requirements that affect their project.

Mitigation banking requirements are also covered by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and involve the use of credits assigned by a Mitigation Banking Review Team. A MBRT is made up of representatives from various different local, state, and federal environmental agencies.

Mitigation banking credits are a qualitative representation of ecological value, and if a company is able to secure enough credits before beginning their project, it is assumed that they can complete the project while causing no net loss of habitat for wetland species.


Finally, it’s important to remember that wetlands regulatory compliance isn’t just something that happens once before a project begins. Organizations must monitor their projects to ensure that they stay compliant over time, because permits can be pulled even after a project has already started. In order to ensure ongoing compliance and avoid unscheduled delays, organizations should work with surveying firm that offers environmental assessment services to help perform monitoring.

To learn more about wetlands regulatory compliance and how it can impact your construction project, contact us at Landpoint today. Our environmental assessment services can ensure that your project stays compliant and on-track.

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Advice from an Environmental Consulting Firm: Winning a Review

5265582279_1a3c9a12c2_zFor oil and gas companies, winning environmental reviews can be a challenge. Getting the appropriate regulatory bodies the information they need can halt the actual construction project, which in turn wastes the company’s time and money.

These issues usually arise when companies are unaware of what is actually required to win an environmental regulatory review and can’t prepare for them properly in the early days of the project. In this post, we’ll discuss several steps you can take to make sure an environmental site assessment goes your way with the least amount of delay possible. Take a look at these points, but also bear in mind that working with professional environmental consulting firms may be worthwhile.

Things you should do to win an environmental site assessment

1. Know what the requirements are

It may sound obvious, but some oil and gas companies are unsuspecting of the environmental regulations that pertain to their project until it’s too late. Factoring in these issues in advance can help remove many of the headaches involved with environmental site assessment.

One way to do this is by building a good working relationship with the environmental agencies that oversee issues related to the project. Environmental regulations change frequently over time, so keeping up with agencies and how they work is the best way to make sure you’re always up to date on the most recent requirements. Since building good working relationships can take years, you can always consider hiring an environmental consulting firm to help you in the meantime. Working with a firm will allow you to piggyback on their expertise and relationships, helping you understand your environmental review requirements going into a project.

2. Make environmental issues an ingrained part of your project from Day 1

Oil and gas companies sometimes run into problems when unexpected environmental issues arise. Once the project is already in development, it can be hard to go back and tack on environmental compliance as an afterthought.

Instead, oil and gas companies can make sure that they win their environmental reviews by preparing for them every step of the way. This means understanding what environmental issues might be included in the project, and taking steps to make sure those requirements are being met before any work begins on the actual construction project itself. In order to accomplish this, it can be beneficial for organizations to ensure cooperation and openness between planners and engineers. Making sure that the right people are working together and communicating with one another is the best way for environmental concerns to be accounted for long before the review process begins.

3. Use the right technology

Finally, organizations must remember that environmental regulations are so complex that even when one has a complete and accurate understanding of what they are, it can still be difficult to act on them correctly. This is where technology comes into play. Using the right technology helps take the guesswork out of environmental reviews, ensuring that an organization has selected the optimal land use patterns that allow them to meet environmental requirements without sacrificing the success of the project.

Once again, working with an environmental consulting firm can be very helpful in this regard. These firms have experience using the latest technology, and know how to put it to use to support your environmental concerns.

Landpoint offers a level of service unlike other environmental consulting firms, giving you the knowledge and resources you need to ensure a successful outcome for your environmental reviews. To learn more about environmental consulting services from Landpoint, contact us today.

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Common Environmental Review Issues (And How to Fix Them)

environmental consultingOil and gas projects can cover a large geographical area, making environmental review issues a major area of concern. When a company doesn’t prepare to address these issues in advance, they may find themselves scrambling to address them after the project has already started, leading to major delays and budget shortages that can be hard to overcome.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the major environmental review issues that could interfere with your project and talk about how to prepare your company for these issues so they cause the least amount of complication possible.

Major Environmental Review Issues for Oil and Gas Projects

1. Wetlands Mitigation Regulations and Permitting
Getting a permit to work in or around wetlands is a very time-consuming process, so it’s important that you start thinking about what permits you might need well in advance of your project. Depending on the location, size, and scope of your project, it could take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to get your permit.

Another complicating factor is that the entire permitting process is handled by a single federal organization, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Even if you work with an environmental consulting firm, there is nothing they or anyone else can do to speed up the permitting process. The timeline for securing a permit will depend on the USACE’s schedule.

2. State Regulated Waters
Depending on what state your project is located in, you may need a permit to work around protected waters; this permit would be separate from the 404 permit that covers federal wetlands regulations. An example of this can be found in the Louisiana Scenic Rivers System.

The hard part of these regulations is knowing which bodies of waters are regulated, since the exact rules vary from state to state. Working with a partner that has an intimate knowledge of an area can be extremely helpful in this regard.

3. Well Spacing on Oil and Gas Projects
There will often be cases where you’re unable to secure a wetlands permit. In these instances, you may find yourself having to improvise by relocating a project site. In turn, this could lead to complications when a well ends up being located too far away from its assigned unit.

It’s critical to strike a balance between ensuring proper well spacing on your oil and gas project and complying with all environmental regulations.

4. Endangered Species
Your company must take the time to learn about any endangered species habitats that can be found in the area of your project site. If an endangered species does live in the area, your project will not be allowed to go ahead. It’s important to know about these situations in advance so that you can make other plans.

5. Archeological and Historical Sites
If areas of cultural or historical significance are discovered on the project site, your project will have to be shut down or relocated. These areas could include sites such as Native American mounds or cemeteries. While there may be no way to predict where these sites will be found, you can come up with a contingency plan to use in the event that such sites are found.

6. Wildlife Management Areas
Working in a wildlife management area can be very time-consuming and difficult. These areas are highly protected, and often require special clearances and notifications in order to access them. Once again, working with an environmental consulting firm can help you navigate this issue while also pursuing the satisfactory completion of your project.

To learn more about how to tackle environmental issues and avoid complications and delays, contact Landpoint today.

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What Are The Common Types of Environmental Reviews?

types-of-environmental-reviewLandpoint’s environmental consulting team provides a number of different services that help clientsplan and implement projects from start to finish. Our highly trained and experienced team works hand-in-hand with clients to conduct the following types of environmental reviews:

Wetland Determination, Delineation, and Permitting

Wetlands provide significant economic, social, and cultural benefits; they are also federally protected. Landpoint’s environmental and wetland staff has extensive training and experience to ensure that your project is not in violation of these precious resources. It is vital that any development project is assessed for any potential jurisdictional wetland impacts. Our staff is trained to recognize wetland criteria and advise our clients on the proper actions to avoid extensive delays, fines, and penalties that can occur when these guidelines are violated.

Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC Plan)

SPCC plans are required on all energy production locations, and are vital to the integrity of the environment. These documents include detailed information and procedures in the case of an accidental spill or leak. Landpoint has all resources that are required to complete these plans and implement them for our clients.

Commercial SWD & Class II SWD Well Permitting

The permitting and construction of a commercial saltwater disposal site is a tremendous and extremely timely procedure. Our staff has extensive experience in all aspects of this immense process. Landpoint has all resources to carry out the permit process including site selection, geology, environmental review, mapping, construction, and development of the facility. We ensure that these projects meet all state and federal requirements and are environmentally secure.

These are just some of the many environmental reviews and services offered by Landpoint. Contactour experienced team today to learn more about how environmental reviews can help your project from the planning stage to implementation!

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