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Wright N.H.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE E and P Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Conference - Americas 2015 | Year: 2015

New dimensions of environmental loss and escalating liabilities following Macondo have catapulted environmental risk to a key feature on the corporate balance sheet. Forecasting expected losses of critical environmental functions, which underpin society, is setting new challenges insurance underwriters and scientists. A critique of recent case histories will be presented to illustrate the latest dimensions of future risk needs. International operators wrestle with the dollar value of reputational risks of uncharted frontier areas with sensitive marine ecosystems which affect both stakeholder confidence and the stock price. Governments now recognize the criticality of managing environmental capital and services when dealing with new energy concessions in sensitive coastal zones. International efforts to develop "state of the art" techniques to quantify the spectrum of ecosystem services will be presented together with a critique of how readily these can be factored into decision making. Advances in global geographic information systems and satellite imagery illustrate the unprecedented future opportunities to measure ecosystem functions and changes. A series of case histories will illustrate cutting edge approaches to dealing with oil spill risk for offshore assets revealing environmental resource risk exposure, risk reduction, consequences and future liabilities. The criteria used to determine "environmental damage or loss" are fundamental to our approaches to corporate risk management. Our understanding of the role of factors such as: biodiversity; ecosystem robustness; recoverability; habitat uniqueness; species population status and life cycles in the sustainability of ecosystem services will be reviewed and reveals fundamental gaps in knowledge. The global efforts being made to place $ values on the world's natural capital and ecosystem life support services will be summarised. A pioneering approach to due diligence of investments, planning, new concessions and oil spill risk assessments will be presented. Insights will be given on the latest techniques for mapping environmental resources and services in integrated GIS systems on the web, which will provide an "ecosystem health thermometer" making damage to ecosystem services visible to stakeholders. Operators' future "licence to operate" will depend in part on utilizing ecosystem service approaches and values to address stakeholder sustainability and values concerns. Copyright 2015, Society of Petroleum Engineers. Source

Naghibi A.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2016: Watershed Management, Irrigation and Drainage, and Water Resources Planning and Management - Papers from Sessions of the Proceedings of the 2016 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress | Year: 2016

Measured and estimated hydrologic data are key to development of watershed assessment tools including hydrologic, water quality, and water balance models. Although, it is recognized that uncertainty in hydrologic data undermines the reliability of such models, water resources practitioners still do not or cannot adequately incorporate data uncertainty in model calibration and validation. Disconnected and decoupled data collection, analysis, and modeling processes are the primary reason why data uncertainty is neglected during calibration and validation. This work investigates the impacts of data uncertainty on hydrologic analysis and modeling results. An example project is used to demonstrate how the characterization of data uncertainty can inform the data collection, data analysis, and modeling processes. Main sources of data uncertainty (e.g., field measurements, rating curve development, and time-series development) are reviewed, and a discussion is provided about how these uncertainties can be characterized. This work acknowledges that sources of data uncertainty and appropriate methodologies to characterize and reduce uncertainty are case-specific and therefore does not recommend one methodology over another. However, it provides a list of considerations for identifying and characterizing the most critical sources of uncertainty. © ASCE. Source

Greb S.F.,University of Kentucky | Archer A.W.,Kansas State University | Deboer D.G.,Kansas State University | Deboer D.G.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
Sedimentology | Year: 2011

Turnagain Arm is a macrotidal fjord-style estuary. Glacier Creek is a small, glacially fed stream which enters the estuary tangentially near Girdwood, Alaska. Trenches and daily sedimentation measurements were made in a mudflat along the fluvio-estuarine transition of Glacier Creek during several summers since 2003. Each year, the flats appear to erode during the winter and then accrete vertically in the spring and summer. In each of the years studied, tidal laminae in vertically thickening and thinning laminae bundles were deposited by twice daily tides in neap-spring tidal cycles. In 2004, bundles of thickening and thinning laminae couplets were noted in trenches cut into the flats. Five laminae bundles alternated between thicker and thinner bundles, corresponding to the perigean (high spring) and apogean (low spring) tides. Well-preserved apogean-perigean cycles have rarely been documented in modern tidal flat sediments. At this location, vertical accretion of tidal rhythmites with well-developed neap-spring cyclicity is possible because of the near-complete removal of the flat from the previous year, which creates accommodation space for vertical accretion without significant reworking. Macrotidal conditions, no reworking by infaunal invertebrates, protection from the main tidal channel by a gravel bar and protection from storm waves and fluvial erosion by a recess in the sedge marsh that surrounds the flats all aid in preservation of rhythmites during aggradation. The position of the flats relative to tidal range allows for accumulation of complete spring cycles and incomplete neap cycles. In the summer of 2004, apogee and perigee were closely aligned with the new and full moons, resulting in successive strong perigee and apogee tides which probably aided in the accumulation of successive thick-thin spring cycles encoding the apogean and perigean tidal cycle. The apogean-perigean signal was not observed in subsequent years. © 2011 The Authors. Source

Hawkins S.C.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
30th Center for Chemical Process Safety International Conference 2015 - Topical Conference at the 2015 AIChE Spring Meeting and 11th Global Congress on Process Safety | Year: 2015

Over the past two decades there have been numerous industrial accidents which have brought the effectiveness of Occupational and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard and Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Accidental Release Risk Management Planning (RMP) Rule under review. On August 1, 2013, President Obama, largely in response to the explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in Texas, signed an Executive Order mandating that the relevant agencies "improve the safety and security of the chemical industry in the United States".1 As a result, both OSHA and EPA have recently requested information on sweeping new proposed changes for both the PSM and RMP regulations. This paper will examine OSHA's and EPA's proposed changes in the context of how they can be harmonized and streamlined by utilizing the basic concepts of the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) Risk Based Process Safety (RBPS) guidelines and CCPS Vision 20/20 themes. As such, the paper will outline a suggested path forward for U.S. regulations that incorporate the basic CCPS Vision 20/20 tenets to establish rules that are harmonized with leading generally accepted global Process Safety practices. Copyright © (2015) by AIChE All rights reserved. Source

Margolis J.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
EM: Air and Waste Management Association's Magazine for Environmental Managers | Year: 2014

Sustainability reporting has become standard practice in industry for various reasons, but, in part, as a response to drivers for transparency and to protect and enhance reputation with key stakeholders. Nevertheless, the process of developing these reports can create additional value along the way, in particular through a robust materiality assessment process. The GRI G4 Guidelines' emphasis on the full value chain and requirements for disclosure of the material aspects has raised the bar and companies are responding by enhancing their materiality assessment processes. An inclusive and collaborative materiality assessment process by its nature helps get alignment on what the key issues are, while also providing opportunities for functional representatives to learn from and with each other. This inevitably leads to team members finding new opportunities to work together or challenge each other in productive ways to make the business more successful and sustainable. © 2014 Air & Waste Management Association. Source

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