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Environmental Permitting for the Energy Sector: Navigating Regulations, Risk and Project Complexities :: Houston, TX

October 24, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Energy projects are taking longer and costing more.  A major challenge for companies across the energy spectrum is satisfying the seemingly never-ending environmental regulatory maze.

The goal of this training is to navigate through key legal, regulatory and environmental issues that are happening throughout every sector in energy project development.  We tackle regulatory and permitting developments as well as recent impacts under the current administration, the ever-increasing challenges associated with land rights and development, and provide planning tools to assist companies in siting facilities to avoid/mitigate sensitive environmental resources.

This Course Is Useful For

  • Energy (O&G, wind, solar, transmission, etc.) Executives and Managers
  • Project Managers
  • Environmental Managers and Directors
  • Engineers
  • Landmen
  • Attorneys
  • In House Counsel
  • Paralegals
  • Regulators, Lawmakers and Their Staff
  • Risk-Management Consultants
  • Energy Consultants
  • Construction Professionals
  • Support Staff for Any of the Above


8:00 – 8:30 am Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 11:00 a.m. Update on Recent Regulatory and Permitting Developments and Impacts of Trump Administration on Projects

The regulatory and permitting environment is in a state of flux under the Trump Administration. Despite this uncertainty, project developers are seeking new opportunities to expand pipelines both on and offshore. At the same time, federal agencies and opposition groups are adjusting their approach to the new reality.

In this presentation, we discuss recent developments in regulations and pipeline permitting. While not every topic applies to every project, these key considerations continue to develop through regulation, litigation, legislation, and direct executive action.

Topics will focus on federal regulations and administrative practice, and will include:

  • Executive Action
    • March 28, 2017 Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth
    • August 15, 2017 Executive Order on Accelerated Permitting for Major Infrastructure Projects, and the April 9, 2018, Memorandum of Understanding Implementing “One Federal Decision”
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
    • Recent Litigation and Legal Challenges to FERC’s Certificate Orders
    • CEQ’s Notice of Intent to Update NEPA Regulations
  • Endangered Species Act
    • ESA Section 7 Compensatory Mitigation Policies
  • Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certifications
    • Legal Challenges and Federalism Concerns
  • Pipeline Permitting:
    • Issues in Federal Jurisdiction (natural gas vs. liquids; interstate vs. intrastate)
    • Natural Gas Act Section 7 (FERC Prefiling)
    • Presidential Permits
    • Offshore Pipelines
    • DOE Authorizations for LNG Exports
  • Other considerations
    • Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act
    • National Historic Preservation Act
    • Migratory Bird Treaty Act
    • Coastal and Levee Considerations
  • Conclusions and Questions

11:00 – 12:00 Federal Permitting Considerations

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Group Lunch

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Mitigation and the Regulatory Drivers

It is important to gain an understanding of the scope and magnitude of project-related environmental impacts during early project planning and siting stages.  Mitigation to offset unavoidable impacts to wetlands, streams, and species can become a significant item in a project’s budget and, at times, be unfeasible without modifications to the project itself, such as implementation of alternative routes/sites or installation methodologies.  Compensatory mitigation is often considered too late in the permitting cycle and can bring unwelcome budget and timing issues to the project.  Regulations, policies, assessment methods, and practices guiding compensatory mitigation will be examined, helping to guide successful planning and implementation of future energy projects.

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. Break

3:30 – 5:00 a.m. The Complexities of a Multi-Jurisdictional Environmental Regulatory Approval Process

Balancing the complexities of obtaining necessary regulatory approvals from multiple jurisdictions is difficult and varies on a case-by-case basis.  Building an experienced team to guide projects smoothly through the process is key.  Case studies from different project types that required extensive agency coordination will be covered from a gas field, pipeline, and LNG facility.

5:00 p.m. Final Thoughts and Training Adjourns

Our Instructors

Melissa Denena, Client Solutions Manager, RES

Melissa applies her knowledge and expertise in wetland, stream, and species habitats to delivering ecological restoration solutions across the Western Region.  Before joining RES in 2016, Melissa worked in environmental consulting for nearly 15 years.  She also worked at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Melissa’s focus has been on ecological impact analyses (constraints reports, NEPA/CEQA documents, EIAs, HCPs, etc.) and permitting for impacts to waters of the U.S. and special-status species, as well as mitigation implementation.  She has compiled and implemented wetland and riparian mitigation and monitoring plans and assisted with the establishment and monitoring of mitigation banks within a variety of habitats. Melissa has conducted and overseen a broad range of reconnaissance and protocol level special-status species surveys from which the data was used to avoid, minimize, and/or compensate for project impacts.  She has also obtained permits for projects from federal regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), as well as local Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and California regulatory agencies. Melissa obtained a Bachelors in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters from Texas State University.  She is a member of a number of organizations and societies focused on environmental issues and has spoken at a variety of meetings on ecological issues.

Russ Krauss, Executive Vice President, New Markets & Strategic Solutions, RES

Russ leads company market development, research, and analysis activities. Russ joined RES in 2008 as VP, Business Development. Russ has over 30 years of experience developing new markets in technical, support, business development, sales, and marketing roles. Early in his career, Russ acted in technical support and marketing capacities with Marathon Oil, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Cray Research, Sun Microsystems and BMC Software. He later acquired management experience as VP, Marketing with energy industry services and technology providers Knowledge Reservoir, LP and Object Reservoir, Inc. Russ also served as chief operating officer with law enforcement technology firm and has led a publicly-traded holding company.

Russ earned a B.A. in Geology from Boston University and an M.B.A. from the Executive MBA program at the University of Houston. He publishes and speaks about environmental impacts faced by project site and linear project developers as well as on technical and regulatory issues related to wetland, stream, ecosystem, and habitat restoration. Russ served on the Board of Directors at the National Mitigation Banking Association from 2011 to 2013, initially as Chair of the Marketing Committee and later as Secretary and Treasurer.

Beth R Minear, President, Global Project Solutions, LLC
Beth Minear is the President of Global Project Solutions Consultants (“GPS Consultants, LLC), a project strategy, land acquisition, stakeholder engagement, and regulatory compliance company, with more than 60 years of combined management expertise across the pipeline, utility, and public infrastructure fields. She was formerly in-house counsel for 14 years for NiSource/Columbia Gas, representing Corporate Security as one of her primary clients.

Beth is frequently sought by companies early in the project planning stages, to evaluate potential routes from the landowner, stakeholder, land acquisition and likely opposition perspectives, and to provide recommendations on compliance regarding notice and outreach requirements required by regulators.

Beth assists clients in state and federal permitting requirements, stakeholder engagement and outreach strategies and execution support, drafting portions of regulatory applications to provide jurisdictional bodies with the compliance information needed to aid in approval of project applications, and in title examination and land acquisition matters. Finally, she advises clients on regulatory issues including FERC Order 1000 for the electric industry, FERC “Suggested Best Practices” for outreach and PHMSA compliance for pipelines and natural gas storage, particularly with respect to Public Awareness campaigns under RP 1162.

Theresa Romanosky, Senior Associate, Environmental & Natural Resources, Vinson & Elkins

Theresa’s principal area of practice is environmental litigation and regulation, with an emphasis on environmental enforcement defense, citizen suit defense, permitting of and defending challenges to infrastructure and energy development projects, and regulatory compliance. She assists with a variety of litigation and regulatory matters under the federal environmental and public lands statutes, including the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Theresa was named by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2017 and 2018.

Experience Highlights:

  • Represented several clients in the environmental aspects of preparing, filing, and prosecuting certificate applications at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission involving expansion projects and new projects for major interstate natural gas pipelines, including compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act
  • Represented a large international coal and petroleum coke terminal in litigation brought under the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Water Act; the plaintiffs in the case were the Sierra Club and two other environmental activist groups; the case received publicity as part of the Sierra Club’s “beyond coal” campaign
  • Represented a manufacturing company in litigation brought under the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Water Act
  • Represented a manufacturer of processed biomass fuel in connection with the requirements of the North Carolina Environmental Policy and Coastal Management Acts, as well as environmental permitting related to the development of an export facility for low-carbon fuel used in energy production; representation included the analysis of the impacts and benefits of using lower carbon fuels on greenhouse gas emissions
  • Represented a mining company with respect to potential tort litigation risks associated with legacy mining and talc operations




Matt Stahman, Director, Regulatory, RES

Matt serves as Director of Regulatory and is also currently managing the largest Permittee Responsible Mitigation site ever permitted by the USACE, a 15,000-acre habitat restoration to offset impacts from the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir project northeast of Dallas, Texas. He formerly served as Principal of SWCA Environmental Consultant’s Houston and Baton Rouge Offices and was with SWCA for 15 years.  He has over 20 years of experience in Clean Water Act permitting, Endangered Species Act consultations, NEPA environmental impact assessments, FERC filings and obtaining various other federal, state and local environmental permits. Matt graduated from Texas A&M University in 1996 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees focused on wildlife management and wetland ecology.  Matt has worked throughout the United States, providing environmental compliance services for large-scale infrastructure projects in various industries including oil and gas, public transportation, telecommunications, electric utility, coal mining, and land development.  Matt specializes in wetlands and endangered species related issues, especially mitigation, and is a registered Professional Wetland Scientist and past president of the Society of Wetland Scientists South Central Chapter.  He has worked on the design, implementation, and monitoring of multiple wetland mitigation banks and consolidated mitigation areas throughout his career.

Brandon Tuck, Senior Associate, Environmental & Natural Resources, Vinson & Elkins

Brandon’s practice focuses on environmental and natural resources law, with an emphasis on project development, regulatory compliance, and enforcement defense.

Brandon also advises clients on obtaining permits and authorizations for a variety of energy, manufacturing, and development projects, including approvals from agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Before law school, Brandon worked in natural resource management for the U.S. Department of the Interior, where he focused on water resource management for hydropower generation, irrigation, and fish and wildlife preservation; National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance; and Endangered Species Act (ESA) litigation.

Experience Highlights:

  • Acted as environmental counsel for multiple pipeline companies in preparing, filing, and prosecuting certificate applications at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission involving expansion projects and new projects for major interstate natural gas pipelines across the United States, including compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act
  • Acted as environmental counsel on several strategic land and pipeline acquisitions supporting a multinational energy logistics company’s development of midstream and downstream assets in the Eagle Ford Shale
  • Represent commercial and residential developers in obtaining environmental approvals, including permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act
  • Defended a major midstream company and successfully resolved a suspension and debarment action brought by the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Defended a home developer in a citizen suit involving allegations of wetlands destruction without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act
  • Defended several small businesses and small business owners charged with water pollution and hazardous waste disposal violations
  • Prepared detailed comments for a national trade association’s use in agency rulemaking regarding agency procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Defending and counseling a meat packing operation relating to wastewater discharge issues


October 24, 2018
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Denise Raymond


Plains All American Pipeline – 13th Floor
333 Clay Street
Houston, TX 77002 United States
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