NEPA Services

Environmental Clearance & EA Preparation 185-mile Pipeline Construction Project

A major pipeline company retained Blackshare to conduct all of the environmental permitting and clearances for construction of a crude oil pipeline between central Oklahoma and southern Kansas. Pipeline route issues included river and lake crossings, Native American lands and potential archaeological sites. In addition to consultations with all appropriate federal and state agencies, Blackshare conducted wetland surveys and obtained a Nationwide 12 Permit from the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Preparations of Environmental Assessments (EAs) were required for pipeline sections that crossed Native American owned tribal lands.

Environmental Clearance 67-mile Pipeline Construction Project

Prior to construction of a 67-mile co2 pipeline, Blackshare was engaged to obtain all of the environmental clearances and permits. The project included the acquisition of a Nationwide 12 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and clearances from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, the State Historic Preservation Office and Native American Tribes. Field surveys were also required for the American Burying Beetle, wetlands areas and potential archeological sites. Blackshare also supplied environmental inspection services throughout construction & the line to ensure compliance with all permit conductions.

Biological Evaluations (BE)

Blackshare performs biological evaluations (BE) for nearly every NEPA project it completes. They consist of wetlands/waterways delineations and threatened/endangered species habitat evaluations and are necessary to determine permitting and construction requirements. Many times, they are completed along with cultural resources (archaeological/historic/tribal) evaluations. Blackshare has completed them on pipeline, highway, rail, airport, utility lines, cell tower, wind power, neighborhood developments, retail and commercial development, and industrial sites for construction projects. One such project was of a 1,600-acre ranch where horses are ridden for recreation. The resulting BE report(s) are often turned directly over to agencies (Corps, USFWS) for concurrence.

Construction Environmental Inspection (EI)

Blackshare has provided environmental inspection and oversight for large projects involving several contractors and construction sites simultaneously. The inspectors train contractor construction crews on environmental permits and restrictions, meet with them on a daily basis, mark waterway crossings, inspect sediment and erosion control measures, instruct contractors on practices when critical areas are encountered, and prepare daily reports on permit(s) compliance status. The inspectors are normally present on a daily basis from clearing and grubbing through site restoration.

Airport Runway Extension Environmental Assessment (EA)

A municipal airport in central Oklahoma proposed a runway extension to accommodate larger aircraft loads and allow for lower visibility instrument approaches to the runway. Blackshare solicited clearances from all jurisdictional federal and state agencies and incorporated the information into an EA document. The EA addressed all impacts from the proposed runway extension including noise, socioeconomic, air, water, cultural resources, biological resources and other receptors. The EA was submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the project was approved.

Highway Extension Enviromental Assessment (EA)

A one-mile extension of a main transportation arterial will include construction of a bridge over a creek that feeds the Arkansas River in central Oklahoma. Blackshare obtained all of the environmental clearances and permits, assisted in the public meeting and is currently completing the final draft of the Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA has been reviewed by ODOT and will ultimately be approved by FHWA.

40-mile pipeline Environmental Assessment (EA)

Blackshare completed an environmental assessment (EA) for construction of a 40-mile pipeline of which about 25 miles crosses Federal property under the jurisdiction of two different Federal agencies and two states. In addition to biological evaluation, cultural resources were evaluated and were a major concern because of the history of the area including paleontology. The project also involved a major river crossing and construction through an active military firing range. Blackshare also prepared responses to all comments received during the public comment period to result in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the project.

NEPA Screens

Blackshare has provided many NEPA screens for pipeline companies, state transportation departments, and municipalities. Normally, these are associated with a utility construction project. Generally, Blackshare performed what is referred to as a “desktop” study consisting of a review of publicly available resources. Next, a “windshield” survey was conducted to observe the project area for consistency with what was found in the desktop study. The screens were performed in the planning stage and are used in route selection. Both biological and cultural resources were covered in the studies. Blackshare has completed these projects on numerous bridges and approaches.

Preparation of FERC 7C Report and Wetland Survey

Construction of natural gas pipelines under FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) jurisdiction requires the preparation of environmental documents similar to an EA. For a sixteen mile pipeline construction project in Kansas and Missouri, Blackshare conducted a detailed wetland survey along the entire corridor and prepared a FERC 7C report for FERC review and approval. The 7C report consisted of thirteen separate resource reports which included reports on water quality, wildlife, cultural resources, socio-economics, air and noise quality, project alternatives and reliability and safety. The project was approved by FERC.

Oil & Gas Environmental Permitting and Clearances

Blackshare has performed all environmental permitting and clearance in a large natural gas shale field, most of which is in an urban setting. The project covered both drilling activities and construction of gathering, transmission, and distribution lines. Blackshare evaluated all line segments (totaling over 700), compressor pad sites, and drill sites for wetlands, threatened/endangered species habitat, and other local requirements. Blackshare’s findings were key in determining final routing to avoid wetlands/waterways and other critical habitat. Blackshare obtained all necessary permits for the construction of lines including those for local ordinances such as tree clearing and storm water management plans.