July 28 2020
On July 16, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality issued its Final Rule on changes to the National Environmental Policy Act. The rule was developed under the Trump administration’s NEPA modernization initiative. The Final Rule updates regulations for all Federal agencies to implement NEPA, with big picture takeaways including: how CEQ defines actions that are “reasonably foreseeable,” analysis of a “reasonable range and number” of feasible alternatives, time limits for preparation environmental impact statements (EISs) (2 years) and environmental assessments (EAs) (1 year), page limits for EISs and EAs, and preparation of a single EIS and schedule for multi-agency EISs.
As noted by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials in an excellent publicly-available summary (https://aashtojournal.org/2020/07/17/trump-administration-formally-overhauls-nepa-rule/), the Final Rule also includes additional provisions that call for earlier public input and greater use of information-sharing technology in the review process, enhanced participation opportunities for tribal governments, and use of NEPA documents prepared by state, tribal, and local agencies.
3e can help clients understand how these changes may affect their NEPA projects, and how to prepare effective and legally-defensible documents that comply with the new rules. Contact us with your questions at: https://www.eee-consulting.com/contact
Link to CEQ Final Rule and Trump administration NEPA Modernization process are found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/ceq/nepa-modernization/
June 21 2020
Chris Lalli has over 23 years of experience in environmental engineering, consulting, and regulatory compliance. He specializes in due diligence investigations, site characterization studies, remediation, Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401/404 permitting, environmental reviews, regulatory compliance, and pollution prevention planning. Chris is an owner and Vice President of 3e that has been based in our Blacksburg, Virginia office for fifteen years.
Experience with Transportation Projects
Chris has extensive experience providing a broad range of environmental services with a focus on complex transportation projects in Virginia. He understands the NEPA and State Environmental Review Processes, application of regulations that require review and agency consultation, and how they relate to the various project delivery methods that have increased in complexity over the past decade. This provides our client base with confidence that environmental risks and constraints are identified early in the preliminary engineering and design planning stages of the project for incorporation of avoidance and minimization measures. For impacts that are unavoidable, early identification of the environmental constraints also facilitates completion of the requisite delineations and studies for jurisdictional determinations and permit acquisitions and to adopt special provisions to ensure that environmental commitments are met during construction. Chris has successfully used this knowledge and approach to provide environmental services on several Design Build, Design Bid Build, and Locally-Administered projects across the various VDOT Districts that encompass Virginia.
Experience working with Virginia Department of Transportation
Chris has also served as the Project Manager for five consecutive terms contracts with VDOT for Statewide Hazardous Materials and Environmental Compliance Services. Services completed on over 1,350 tasks statewide since 2007 include Phase I ESA Corridor Studies; Phase II ESAs to identify the potential for adverse impacts to proposed Right-of-Way (ROW) acquisitions, permanent easements, and media that would be disturbed during construction; asbestos containing material (ACM) inspections for bridges and structures scheduled for demolition; underground storage tank (UST) removal and closures; development of Special Provisions to construction contracts for the management of impacted media; and management, reuse, and/or disposal of impacted soil and groundwater.
Recent projects he has managed for a broad range of hazardous material services include:
- I-81 widening projects in the City of Salem and Roanoke County;
- I-66 Outside the Beltway in Fairfax and Prince William Counties;
- US Route 1 in Fairfax and Prince William Counties;
- Martinsville Southern Connector in Pittsylvania County;
- Environmental remediation for an illicit solid waste disposal site along Route 29 in Campbell County.
On all these projects, Mr. Lalli worked with closely with the VDOT Hazardous Materials Managers to ensure that the required information was generated to inform the applicable environmental documents as well as to identify known impacts for consideration in the early planning stages of the project.
Put our experience to work for your next project!
Chris’s experience and expertise in performing these environmental studies contributes to 3e’s ability to be an effective environmental consultant for transportation projects. We have successfully partnered with several architectural and engineering firms on projects ranging from complex Design-Build Interstate widening and bridge replacement projects, to the Locally Administered roadway and/or pedestrian improvement projects. Chris understands that there is no perfect project and that design changes and unforeseen circumstances during construction will present challenges. However; adequate planning, familiarity with working with the various stakeholders, and drawing on experiences from similar projects will provide timely and sensible solutions that will keep a project in compliance and on track and within budget.
Give Chris a call today to learn more about how 3e can contribute to your next transportation project! He can be reached by phone at (540) 953-0170 x310. You can also reach him by e-mail through our Contact Us page.
April 24 2020
What happens to traditional public outreach measures when under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus? You leverage digital tools of course! 3e and teaming partner AECOM recently helped NASA adapt their public involvement plans for the Marsh Fiber Project (marine fiber optic cable) to provide multimedia options to learn about the project and the Environmental Assessment (EA) during the public comment period. The traditional in-person meeting media, which would have included informative posters, fact sheet handouts, and comment cards, were swapped for a recorded presentation viewable on-demand, a fact sheet to download, and an online comment form for public use in addition to traditional methods using postal mail. Hard copies of the EA are available upon request by phone.
Adapting the public involvement portion of this project to occur online due to the inability to safely hold a public meeting, and due to closure of public libraries where a hard copy of the EA would have been placed, allowed the project to stay on schedule and prevent costly construction delays.
As we continue to move projects forward while keeping our communities safe through social distancing, our methods of communication must continue to adapt. Leveraging digital tools like recorded presentations, downloadable fact sheets, and online forms can help us meet our requirements for public notification and involvement. If your project is heading into the public involvement phase and you need assistance preparing, please contact us!
Link to NASA’s project website: https://code200-external.gsfc.nasa.gov/250-wff/marsh_fiber_ea
Description of 3e's services for the project:
3e and its team member AECOM are assisting NASA with the NEPA process and Clean Water Act permitting for a project to install a new fiber optic cable via a marine route at NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The 3e team worked closely with NASA to develop and document the screening criteria that were used to evaluate and dismiss or carry forward the potential alternatives in the EA, and to draft a detailed and focused description of the proposed action. 3e conducted a wetland delineation of the saltmarsh and prepared a Joint Permit Application for impacts to tidal wetlands. Due to COVID-19, we worked with NASA to prepare online meeting presentation and files for the website in lieu of a public meeting. The project is being completed under contract to LJT & Associates, Inc.
April 02 2020
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued similar guidance addressing the enforcement of select environmental regulations during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary policies are being applied retroactively beginning March 13, 2020. Federal regulations and compliance monitoring affected include, but are not limited, to:
- Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC): Monthly Inspections, Formal Integrity Inspections, Annual Training, and Implementation of SPCC Plan Action Items.
- RCRA Subpart J – Hazardous Waste Aboveground Storage Tanks: Integrity Inspections, Training, Daily/Weekly Inspections, and Formal Integrity Inspections.
- RCRA Hazardous Waste Generation: Accumulation Requirements & Generator Status.
- Permitted Solid Waste Facilities: Groundwater and Vapor monitoring.
- NPDES Monitoring - Public Drinking Water Facilities: Monitoring & Sampling for Permit compliance.
- Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and Industrial Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) Inspections and Monitoring
- The temporary policy does not apply to activities carried out under CERCLA Superfund and RCRA Corrective Action Enforcement Instruments. The EPA noted that any changes in those requirements would be addressed in separate guidance.
- Any deviations to the regulations should be documented through EPA correspondence as required, or through an internal memo or other notification process. Documentation should be prepared and maintained in a manner to satisfy the requirements of an internal or regulatory agency audit.
EEE Consulting, Inc. is Providing Compliance Inspections and Monitoring During This Time
EEE Consulting, Inc. (3e) can help you develop protocols, communicate with regulators, assist with creating amendments or consult with your facility personnel to determine documentation requirements. Our experienced staff includes certified/qualified field personnel that can perform inspections and monitoring while your staff are working remotely or if your site is temporarily closed.
3e is ready to help you meet your compliance obligations during this unprecedented time. If you have questions about how this impacts your facility, or if you need help with inspections, monitoring, or documentation please contact Chris Lalli at (540) 953-0170 x310 or Jennifer Jones at (804) 442-3330 x214. You can also contact us through our website.
For more information please review the following:
EPA Memo: EPA Memo dated March 26, 2020
DEQ News Release: DEQ Enforcement and Compliance Guidance dated March 31, 2020
March 19 2020
Plan ahead if you may be impacting terrestrial habitats, wetlands, or waters requiring construction-related permits on your project. 3e environmental scientists can complete the habitat assessments and surveys your project may need. Contact us to schedule your survey today. Upcoming survey windows for listed plants include:
Small whorled pogonia
Survey window for the small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides) is May 25 to July 15 for areas south of Caroline County, or June 1 to July 20 for Caroline County and counties to the north.
Survey window for the swamp pink (Helonias bullata) is April 15 – May 31 (in flower or fruit) and/or June 1 – September 30 (basal leaves).
Survey window for the Virginia Spiraea (Spiraea virginiana) is May 1 – September 30 (leaves present)
Survey window for the Juniper sedge (Carex juniperorum) is approximately April 15 to May 31
For more on survey times for Virginia’s federally listed species visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's list here:
(pictured: Isotria medeoloides, small whorled pogonia)