Navigation Project Support – Resolving Contentious Issues Among Regulatory Agencies
Why EcoLogix Group was engaged:
A seaport client’s high-profile channel deepening and widening project was experiencing conflict among the environmental governmental agencies, the port and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). At issue was the project’s impacts to the benthic environment including sensitive coral reefs, and agreement on how to minimize impacts, monitor and mitigate any impacts. An interagency work group – consisting of state and federal environmental agencies, USACE, and the port – was unable to reach consensus on contentious and technically complex environmental and regulatory issues that must be addressed to meet the project schedule. EcoLogix Group was engaged to facilitate the work group with the goal of exploring and resolving a series of complicated and delicate environmental challenges.
How EcoLogix Group Responded:
EcoLogix Group leads and facilitates regularly scheduled meetings dealing with contentious and technically complex environmental and regulatory issues. Using its regulatory expertise, knowledge of the deepening project, and familiarity with USACE procedures, EcoLogix Group first began focusing the work group on an agreed upon process for resolving conflicts and making decisions. Subsequent discussions involved suggestions for approaches to the various issues, consistent with the regulatory requirements of the state. Communicating individually with the work group members to help clarify information and brainstorm solutions to the various issues, and to ensure communication among team members, is a critical support role. Potential issues are anticipated and brought to the attention of USACE and the port providing an opportunity to address the issues ahead of time. In order to enhance transparency, EcoLogix Group quickly provides meeting summaries and other requested documents that will be used in the agencies’ administrative records, as well as to communicate the problem-solving discussions to the public. The ultimate goal is to provide the precursors necessary for work group members to evaluate the project, make decisions on various regulatory requirements, ensure that the project is environmentally sound and to meet project schedules for construction
The workgroup continues to resolve outstanding issues keeping in mind the project schedule, communication is enhanced, and conflicts are discussed and resolved early in the process allowing the client’s project to continue moving forward.