Navigating the NYS Article VII Process

June 28, 2024


Expert insights on environmental impact review and seamless project execution for major utility transmission facilities.

Article VII of the New York State Public Service Law requires a review of the environmental impact and need for major electric and gas transmission facilities before construction. It sets forth a process for considering any application to construct and operate a major utility transmission facility and establishes a single forum to review the need for an environmental impact evaluation of the siting, design, construction, and operation of the major utility transmission facility.

Fisher Associates excels in addressing these complexities, providing a full suite of services to ensure seamless project execution from start to finish. Our expertise includes transmission line routing to minimize and avoid impacts, permitting analysis, environmental studies and support, engineering design, application preparation, post-application support, and environmental monitoring and construction plan (EM&CP) development. Your project will be assigned a dedicated team of specialists responsible for collaboratively overcoming the hurdles of the Article VII regulatory process by hosting regular meetings with stakeholders and regulators, completing baseline studies early in the process, and leveraging our long-standing relationships with regulators and understanding of the Article VII permitting process. The result is that your project is permitted in a timely manner so as not to adversely impact schedule and cost.

NYS Article VII Process 01
Adapted from NYS Department of Public Services Article VII Flow Chart.

Regulatory Compliance and Permitting
The regulatory compliance and permitting process under Article VII is complex, requiring extensive documentation and coordination with multiple state and federal agencies; and the approval process can be lengthy, with significant time required for public hearings, environmental impact assessments, and interagency coordination. Having prepared numerous Article VII applications and EM&CP documents, our team has developed a keen understanding of the information the state requires to move your project through the review and certification process. Our strong relationships with New York regulatory agencies, including the New York State Department of Public Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Historical Preservation Office, as well as federal agencies, facilitates productive conversations resulting in successful navigation of the regulatory framework as we advocate for our clients. Our expertise also extends to local agencies and ensures that their environmental and technical standards are met for timely local permit issuance.

Environmental Impact and Mitigation
Assessing and mitigating environmental impacts is crucial under Article VII. Thorough environmental impact assessments to understand and mitigate potential impacts on wildlife, water resources, and natural habitats are necessary for the application process. Our environmental team includes certified Professional Wetland Scientists, Arborists, and Regulatory Specialists who conduct detailed studies and analyses to understand the potential effects on wildlife, water resources, and local ecosystems. We develop and implement effective mitigation strategies and obtain approvals from environmental regulatory bodies, ensuring that environmental impacts are minimized and compliant with regulations. Our team of experts also includes Environmental Specialists with expertise in conducting environmental site assessments and other site investigation and remediation services to evaluate sites for the presence of petroleum and/or other hazardous substances. This information is critical to informing owners of the environmental and associated financial implications associated with sites, and their potential impact on the project development process.

Fisher’s expert team of environmental specialists delivers comprehensive ecological services and effective mitigation strategies, ensuring minimal environmental impact and full compliance with Article VII Permitting regulations.

Stakeholder Engagement
Effective engagement with the community and stakeholders is essential for building support and addressing concerns related to projects. Continuous interaction with the local residents, businesses and advocacy groups is often necessary. Fisher’s strategy emphasizes proactive and collaborative engagement with project staff, engineering and permitting teams, and regulatory agencies. We prioritize understanding agency concerns and communicating client needs effectively throughout the regulatory process. Our collaborative approach includes significant public outreach and local stakeholder involvement, where we excel in education and management. This enables us to facilitate an expedited application, approval, and permitting processes.

Technical and Engineering Challenges
Designing and constructing transmission facilities that meet stringent technical requirements while ensuring reliability and safety involves overcoming numerous engineering challenges. Our engineering and surveying teams have extensive experience working on numerous utility projects across New York State. This experience equips us to address varied terrain, engineering challenges, and integration with existing infrastructure through a thorough planning process and employment of a variety of engineering solutions from simple to advanced.

Cost Management and Financing
The financial commitment of planning, designing, and constructing major transmission facilities is substantial. As your partner, Fisher Associates effectively manages the costs associated with regulatory compliance, environmental mitigation, land acquisition, and construction. We keep you up-to-date on cost implications associated with various options to maintain the project’s economic feasibility and ensure that adequate financing is secured to minimize delays associated with unforeseen and potentially unfunded expenses.

Document Management Excellence
Given the volume of technical information, data exhibits and permits, required for the Article VII Application, numerous authors are often involved in the preparation of these deliverables. Excellent document management, consistency, and quality is essential. Management of data is shared through a secured sharepoint site to ensure that the most up-to-date project information and documentation is accessible to all authors, maintaining clarity and organization throughout the process. We maintain control of final documents to ensure quality, accuracy, consistency and seamless formatting. By doing so, project delays are minimized and approval times are reduced that would otherwise be present through data requests from agencies due to missing or inconsistent information.

The Fisher Difference

Navigating the Article VII permitting process can be challenging and requires a keen understanding of all the necessary steps, the most efficient and cost-effective sequence of the steps, exceptional organizational skills and the ability to readily adapt to changes and evolving needs. With Fisher’s deep bench of Senior Project Managers, Regulatory Specialists, Environmental Scientists, GIS Specialists and Engineers, experienced in Article VII projects, we stand out as your trusted partner to ensure efficient project execution and permitting. We consistently deliver timely and compliant deliverables, ensuring our clients move smoothly through the review process and into the post-certification phase, allowing construction to begin promptly. This efficiency reduces project delays, minimizes costs, and ensures timely construction schedules for our clients. Fisher has provided the following services for ongoing Article VII applications:

  • Wetland/Watercourse Delineations and Reporting
  • Invasive Species Surveys and Reporting
  • Agency Consultations
  • Article VII Application Preparation
  • Wetland & Watercourse Permitting
  • EM&CP A&B Sheet Preparation
  • EM&CP Narrative Preparation
  • SWPPP Preparation
  • Documents Control 

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Contact

Brook Bertig Coll

Brook Bertig-Coll
Director of Environmental
bbertigcoll@fisherassoc.com
724.916.4250 ext. 387

Contact Brook

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