Areas of Expertise
Because many agencies have their own thresholds and or guidance documents for CEQA, we work diligently to assure our clients a complete and thorough environmental investigation, addressing all issue/agency thresholds of significance in addition to all issue areas tied to the CEQA Guidelines Appendix G Checklist (see our CEQA Analysis page here).
Our proven program management system and its defined controls ensure both in-house staffing and subcontractors with the technical expertise to complete an environmental document from start to finish. Our staff is familiar with all CEQA issue areas and has substantial experience and expertise in the following issue areas:
Air Quality Analysis
MRS Environmental staff members have been actively involved in many aspects of air pollution control for more than 30 years. Our experience includes:
- Air quality impact assessments involving dispersion modeling;
- Quantification of air emissions and acquisition of air emissions offsets;
- Quantification of Greenhouse Gas emissions and offsets;
- Facility audits to ensure compliance with air pollution rules and regulations;
- Mitigation and monitoring implementation and audits; and
- Development, evaluation, and application of air pollution control technologies.
Models used include public domain EPA models and proprietary models, such as SuperChems by ioMosaic, as well as customized in-house models for specialized applications.
MRS has prepared over 50 air quality impact assessments for CEQA documents, and over 25 Health Risk Assessments, utilizing models from ACE to HARP2 (recently released).
Air quality models that are have been historically applied by MRS include a wide variety of EPA and proprietary dispersion models. Dispersion models that have been used by MRS include the Urban Airshed Model (UAM), AERMOD, AERSCREEN, CALINE 4, HARP and HARP2, CALPUFF, CALGRID, Complex Terrain Dispersion Model (CTDM and CTDM+), Rough Terrain Dispersion Model (RTDM), Offshore and Coastal Dispersion Model (OCD), Industrial Source Complex Short Term (ISCST3) model, ACE, and many others.
MRS staff also utilize extensively Greenhouse gas (GHG) issues, analysis methodologies, the California Emission Estimator Model (CalEEMod®), EMFAC, OFFROAD and CAPCOA™s Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Measures (August, 2010). MRS staff recently assisted the County of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara County APCD in the research, analysis, and development of significance thresholds for GHGs.
MRS Environmental has performed numerous assessments of hazards and risks over the years, including Quantitative Risk Assessments (QRA) utilizing techniques prescribed by the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) and others. MRS has developed in-house models for the assessment of QRA, utilizing source term models such as SuperChems along with dispersion models such as SLAB and others. MRS has performed hazardous materials risk assessments for a range of industries, including water treatment (chlorine), oil and gas processing (flammable gas, crude oil fires, etc.), rail transportation of crude oil, truck transportation of crude oil and flammable gasses (propane, etc.), pipeline transportation of natural gas and crude oils, refrigeration systems (anhydrous ammonia) amongst many others. We have also quantitatively addressed the potential for spills from pipelines, rail, trucks and marine vessels in order to addresses potential frequency of spills and the effects of mitigation measures on spill frequency, as well as modeling of marine spills and the extent of impact of oil spills on the marine environment utilizing NOAA models, such as GNOME.
MRS staff have completed noise analysis for a variety of projects, noise source modeling studies, field measurements of stationary and mobile sources, and developed mitigation measures and programs for noise impacts. MRS Environmental is adept at the development of mitigation programs incorporating barriers and noise dampening systems. We have in-house modeling capabilities with SoundPlan, a sophisticated noise model that incorporates terrain, meteorological and other effects to produce detailed noise contour plots. We have also performed infield noise monitoring for compliance as well as to develop baseline and equipment-specific noise characteristics utilizing our in-house Quest Type I noise meter. Noise monitoring has been conducted for construction projects, remediation projects, rail and truck transportation activities and oil and gas production facilities.
Land Use Planning
MRS Environmental provides comprehensive and legally accurate consistency reviews of projects, policies, programs, and proposed modifications thereof with Federal, State, regional and local plans. Our experience in land use planning and zoning analysis, property law and property-specific regulatory evaluations has enabled us to successfully assist our clients in effectuating the filing, permitting, condition compliance and monitoring phases of project development.
In particular, we are aptly able to deal with potential impacts to coastal recreational users, and commercial and recreational fishermen that could occur as a result of decommissioning projects off the coast of Santa Barbara.
Services we provide include environmental impact analysis and mitigation monitoring plans, wetland delineation specialization, botanical and wildlife biological surveys, habitat/vegetation mapping, monitoring for sensitive species protection, habitat restoration and restoration monitoring, and agency coordination and consultation related to the scope and impact of projects. See our Biological Services page here.
Selected examples of projects on which MRS Environmental staff members have worked:
For the California State Lands Commission:
Our staff recently completed the Becker and Legacy Wells Abandonment and Remediation Project EIR for the California State Lands Commission for the re-abandonment of a leaking oil well on Summerland Beach, and the potential re-abandonment of other leaking legacy wells in the vicinity, in a six-month timeframe. The project included coordination with several different oversight agencies including Santa Barbara County Parks, the California Coastal Commission, and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and was placed on a fast-track for completion by the end of 2017.
For Santa Barbara County:
Our staff prepared an EIR for the Orcutt Hill Resource Enhancement Plan Project. Pacific Coast Energy Company (PCEC), the Applicant, proposed to replace and expand its existing diatomite Oil Drilling and Production Plan. The EIR was certified, and the project was ultimately denied, but would have included eight new well pads, two new equipment pads, and drilling of up to 144 oil and gas wells, up from a permissible 96 diatomite cyclic steamed wells on seven surface well pads.
For the City of Hermosa Beach:
MRS Environmental staff conducted an environmental review for the E&B Oil Drilling and Production Project in response to a 2012 Settlement Agreement between the City of Hermosa Beach, E&B, and Macpherson Oil Co. The Applicant proposed the development of 30 oil wells and four wells for water disposal/injection to access the oil and gas reserves in the tidelands of Hermosa Beach, with a 35-year Project lifespan. The project garnered much attention because of the small 1.3 acre site on which the drilling was to take place, the absence of adequate setbacks to avoid impacts related to safety and hazards, and the high level of population density in the City. The EIR was certified, and the City later voted on whether to approve the project and its development plan.