For the last decade, we have worked closely with numerous federal agencies to develop environmental regulations, policies, and analyses. We have also pioneered
new performance assessment tools to help federal agencies develop world-class environmental organizations. Our focus on strategic, timely, and effective solutions to the specific challenges facing our federal, state, county or city clients allows us to provide government officials with a unique range of services.
Environmental Law and Policy
Vela Environmental has extensive experience with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws and policies. We develop and revise regulations, procedures, guidance documents, and policies to streamline compliance with NEPA and other environmental requirements into one decision-making process. Typical projects include the development of NEPA implementing procedures and agency guidance documents.
We rely on our extensive experience and contacts to help set up and facilitate meetings with important stakeholders in the federal environmental review process including the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Vela has proven expertise in delivering effective training tools and resources to government audiences. We deliver customized courses on environmental and natural resource subjects based on the needs of each audience. We also develop training materials for clients to circulate internally, including Power Point presentations and handouts explaining the necessary steps to comply with legal requirements. As part of our regulatory work, we routinely provide guidance to help our clients complete the regulatory process.
What distinguishes our team?
- Our approach can be tailored to any audience base
- Our trainings integrate lectures, case studies, and group study to reinforce key concepts
- Our instructors have served at the highest levels of federal government, including the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and have an in-depth understanding of local, municipal, and state governments through their work at Vela Environmental
In order to assist clients with environmental policy, we offer strategic planning services to its clients. Agencies have hired us to plan public involvement, regulatory, and environmental compliance strategies for programs and projects on a national level. Strategic planning services include project-specific consulting as well as long-term support agreements.
Environmental Analyses and Sufficiency Reviews
We complete programmatic and site-specific environmental analyses for Federal agencies considering new programs, policies, and activities. Senior-level advisors assist clients in the development and consideration of alternatives, the analysis of the proposed action, and subsequent public involvement and notice requirements. Vela has experience conducting nation-wide programmatic analyses and engaging in interagency collaboration. We also perform legal and technical sufficiency reviews of draft analyses for its clients.
Vela Environmental has developed innovative tools for assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of government organizations at the local, state, and federal level. Our approach utilizes state-of-the-art survey tools and our knowledge of government organizations to customize assessments to meet the needs of each organization.
Performance Assessments—Vela Environmental has developed a three-phase comparative effectiveness tool to improve performance throughout government organizations. These phases consist of interviews, surveys, and best practices development. We can adapt this tool to improve performance on any scale, from one office or program to entire departments and agencies. Using this tool, Vela is able to identify management changes to dramatically improve performance in an organization.
Examples of information our performance assessments can provide:
- How effective the organization is at implementing policies and procedures
- Which regions, offices and managers excel at meeting the organization’s mission
- Where the organization should focus resources to maximize performance
Organizational Assessments—Our organizational experts utilize their extensive experience working with government organizations, along with a thorough research and interview process, to develop options for improving the efficiency of an organization. We can provide a comprehensive, organizational-wide analysis or find answers to specific questions regarding staff, programs, or other organizational resources depending on our client’s needs. Vela Environmental also develops briefing materials that organization’s can use to inform government leadership of key issues related to staff, programs, and resources.
Organizational Planning—In addition to our experience conducting organizational assessments, Vela Environmental provides organizational planning support as part of our other government services. For example, we offer techniques and strategies for overcoming organizational barriers to an efficient environmental review process. We also work with government organizations to define appropriate communication channels, workflow, decision-making processes and roles and responsibilities.
Some of Our Initiatives:
Environmental Protection Agency—conducting a program assessment of existing ENERGY STAR tools and resources and developing recommendations about marketing and outreach strategies for the expansion of the ENERGY STAR program in the utility industrial sector.
Department of Veterans Affairs—developing a full-scale revision to the Department’s NEPA procedures to reflect its current mission and activities. Drafted a policy manual that provides interim guidance for project managers on implementing NEPA while current procedures are under revision.
Federal Emergency Management Agency—revised the Agency’s NEPA procedures to integrate multiple environmental and historic preservation requirements into one efficient review process for FEMA actions. Drafted a roles and responsibilities directive explaining which offices and personnel are responsible for various aspects of the NEPA process. Conducted organizational and performance assessments of the Agency’s environmental and historic preservation function to determine ways to improve performance and utilize best practices to maximize efficiency throughout the Agency.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – designed a manual to implement Executive Order 11988 and 11990 for floodplains and wetlands.
White House Council on Environmental Quality – developed the “Citizen’s Guide to NEPA” handbook to inform the public on the role they play in the NEPA process.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection – performed a national-level multi-disciplinary Programmatic Environmental Assessment of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Rulemaking, at 165 border stations on the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders, to determine the potential environmental impacts resulting from regulatory changes to immigration processes.