Land Use and Permitting

National Expert: Nathan Eady

The land use permitting requirements for oil and gas operators vary significantly from one regulatory jurisdiction to the next. Some jurisdictions may require discretionary permits (Production Plans or Condition Use Permits) that take years to process and approve, whereas other jurisdictions exempt new oil and gas development from land use permitting requirements.

Whatever an operator’s unique land use permitting challenges, SCS Engineers is prepared to help resolve them in a cost- and time-efficient manner. SCS has used its unique permitting strategies, vested rights research, and proprietary facility design software to successfully permit multiple offshore platforms, hundreds of onshore wells, and dozens of supporting facilities.

Our O&G specialty teams are located throughout active oil-producing regions including Texas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

In California, for example, and in certain instances, operators may need to establish compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and/or the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For instance, the permitting of new oilfield development on federally owned land (aka BLM) requires NEPA compliance. SCS Engineers has staff experienced with both CEQA and NEPA and has played a pivotal role in the completion of multiple CEQA documents such as the Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs).

If it is determined that a project will have a negative impact on a protected or endangered species, either a Section 7 Consultation or a Section 10 Incidental Take Permit will be required. Because of the delicate habitat found in many of our project locations, SCS’s staff is fully versed in all aspects of both the Section 7 and Section 10 permitting processes, including the development of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) and the monitoring of endangered species.

The qualified professionals at SCS Engineers have worked with the California Fish and Game Services in many regions of California to obtain the necessary Section 2081 Incidental Take Permits for our clients. We have successfully developed mitigations and protection programs in a variety of habitats for many different species.


Hydrogen Facility Permitting and Siting

Hydrogen is quickly growing as one of several long-term solutions to improving energy security while reducing global warming risks. Hydrogen, for clean-burning transportation fuel, can be produced through multiple methods, including steam methane reforming (SMR) or electrolysis driven by power derived from renewable resources (solar, wind, etc.). Advances in fuel cell technology are spurring interest in hydrogen’s many potential energy applications, but in the shorter-term, particularly for the transportation sector. Hydrogen-powered vehicles produce no carbon dioxide (CO2) or other harmful emissions at the tailpipe– only water vapor while having comparable ranges and refueling times to conventional fossil fuel vehicles. If the hydrogen has been produced via renewable-powered electrolysis, then the hydrogen vehicle is a carbon-neutral form of transportation.

SCS Engineers has emerged as an early leader in this niche energy market, and our professionals are available to facilitate siting and permitting hydrogen facilities in the U.S. with the comprehensive expertise to meet federal and state regulations.