CEQA and NEPA Documentation
UltraSystems is thoroughly experienced with implementing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, and is a recognized leader in the preparation of legally-defensible CEQA and NEPA documentation. We routinely prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), Initial Study (IS) and other CEQA documents, as well as an Environmental Impact Study (EIS), Environmental Assessment (EA) and Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for NEPA compliance.
Our diverse clients include the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Counties, Cities, Special Districts and energy producers (e.g. Southern California Edison [SCE], Florida Power and Light [FPL], Pacific Gas and Electric [PGE], Los Angeles Department of Water and Power [LADWP]).
UltraSystems has a thorough understanding of current environmental assessment legislation, guidance and case law, and a proven track record of coordinating and integrating multi-disciplinary teams of consultants. This allows us to undertake environmental assessment cost effectively, from project design to construction and operation.
Mitigation Monitoring Plans
UltraSystems utilizes its expertise in mitigation and monitoring planning, design, and construction to track CEQA and NEPA mitigation measures as required by state and federal guidelines. Our services include:
- Mitigation monitoring plans;
- Coordination with agencies to determine specific responsibilities for various program elements;
- Pre-construction surveys for sensitive species;
- Onsite monitoring to assure compliance; and
- Post-construction documentation of compliance with the plan.
We also review proposed and existing plans to measure their effectiveness against their original intent. Our mitigation monitoring plans are designed with the objective of meeting agency approval.
Public Process and Community Outreach
Public input is required by NEPA and CEQA regulation. Our consultation and communication experts are experienced in working with numerous stakeholders to bring large, complex projects to successful completion. Specific expertise includes:
- Preparing, implementing and managing the public process, including community relations strategies and community involvement
- Creating community presentation materials and communication tools
- Developing and maintaining mailing lists for public notices
- Facilitating and managing public workshop.
- Conducting or moderating meetings and discussions
- Providing translated written materials into appropriate languages
- Recording comments and summarizing workshops and meetings
- Property owner consultation
- Key stakeholder and media liaison
- Public relations management
Plan of Development
UltraSystems prepares Plans of Development (PODs) to help its clients meet Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requirements. Preparation and submittal of a POD to the BLM is a prerequisite for initiation of the NEPA documentation and approval process for solar development projects that encroach on BLM land. The POD includes a detailed project description, such as:
- Purpose and need;
- Facility descriptions;
- Design and operation;
- Permit requirements, schedules, and financial and technical capabilities of the applicant
- Detailed description of facility construction, related facilities and systems;
- Operations and maintenance of the system;
- Environmental considerations; and
- Maps and engineering drawings.
UltraSystems works in close coordination with the client’s engineering staff to prepare and submit the POD for BLM approval.
Application for Certification
UltraSystems prepares Application for Certification (AFC) documents in accordance with the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Power Plant Site Certification Regulations to construct and operate a thermal power plant greater than 50 megawatts (MW) in California.
In this case, the CEC is the lead agency under CEQA and works closely with other agencies. Affected agencies outside the CEC are asked to review, and if appropriate, comment on the applicant’s proposal. The AFC provides:
- A detailed description of the project;
- An assessment of the project’s anticipated impacts on the environment;
- Proposed measures to mitigate those impacts to ensure that environmental issues are properly and responsibly addressed; and
- Discussion of compliance with applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards (LORS).
If the project will also encroach on federal land managed by the BLM, then it is expected that CEC and BLM will coordinate their environmental review and issue a joint environmental document to comply with CEQA and NEPA law and guidelines, with separate decisions. UltraSystems leads its clients through the CEC siting process to achieve approval to construct a power facility.