Industry Icon Peggy Briggs Retires
It was with mixed emotions that we announced in March the retirement of founding Managing Principal Peggy Briggs – saddened by her departure, grateful for her contributions, and excited for her new beginnings.
Peg stepped down on March 10th, the 25th anniversary date of Epsilon‘s founding. She and seven colleagues from Earth Tech started Epsilon Associates in 1997 with the goal to avoid repeated corporate mergers and simply provide excellent services to a regional clientele. Some of Peggy’s early projects included Fan Pier, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, and New Boston Garden development. Her reputation as a go-to person for MEPA and Boston Article 80 permitting were foundational both for her career and for Epsilon’s growing reputation as a go-to firm for securing environmental approvals for private and public real estate, energy, and infrastructure development projects. She loved working with diverse project teams of planners, architects, engineers, attorneys, developers, and local, state, and national regulators and policy makers. While no longer practicing her trade, Peggy’s mentoring of so many here assures that her experience and wisdom remain, in each of us.
Meet Epsilon's Managing Partners
Peggy Briggs leaves behind a strong team poised to continue offering in-demand services to help get permits done. In accordance with Epsilon's well established ownership transition plan, Robert D. O'Neal and Michael D. Howard continue as co-managing principals. Rob is a member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) with over 30 years of experience in the areas of community noise impact assessments, meteorological data collection and analyses, and air quality modeling. He is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM), INCE Board Certified, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA. Mike has over two decades of experience in wetland ecology, wetland restoration and replication, wildlife biology, vernal pool assessments, natural resource inventories, impact statement preparation, environmental regulatory analysis, and environmental permitting. He is a Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) and is a Certified Wetland Scientist (CWS) in the State of New Hampshire.
A Quarter Century Complete; Poised for the Next Twenty-Five
Epsilon’s founders opened the doors in 1997 with a vision to build a premier employee-owned consulting firm. Beginning with seven employees we have since grown ten-fold to just about 70 staff. Supported by and strengthened through our diverse network of clients and partners, Epsilon’s scientists, planners, engineers, and administrative staff celebrate our shared success with gratitude and thanks.
We like to think that our resume of thousands of completed projects over the years has helped shape the Northeast region, benefiting owners, communities, and the environment. We have teamed with extraordinary clients and partners in support of some of the region’s biggest real estate development projects, from Seaport Square, 115 Winthrop Square, and Union Square in Somerville to the Woo Sox Stadium in Worcester.
From smaller yet complex to the largest of projects, we form our Epsilon teams based on the technical expertise – and scale – required to assure successful project outcomes. We thank our clients and partners who, without your teamwork and support, this region would likely have been less successful in enacting policy and legislation during these pivotal last 25 years to protect our environment while supporting smart development; benefiting owners, communities, and the natural world.
Regulatory Update: EPA Issues New 2022 Construction General Permit
While many may already be aware, the US Environmental Protection Agency signed its 2022 Construction General Permit (CGP) for stormwater discharges from construction activities on January 18, 2022. The 2022 CGP became effective on February 17 and replaces the 2017 CGP. This new CGP provides permit coverage to eligible construction stormwater discharges in the areas where the US EPA is the NPDES permitting authority, and that includes the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Washington DC, and select federal lands, tribal lands, and US territories.
Several important requirements to be noted in this updated CGP include but are not limited to:
- Develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and keep it up to date
- Complete and submit a Notice of Intent with the US EPA via the NPDES eReporting Tool (NeT)
- Implement erosion and sediment controls and pollution prevention practices throughout the entire construction project
Recent and Upcoming Events
2022 INTERNATIONAL PARTNERING FORUM (IPF)
April 26 – 28, 2022
Epsilon sponsored & attended
May 16 – 18, 2022
Epsilon exhibiting & attending
INDEPENDENT POWER PRODUCERS OF NEW YORK (IPPNY) Spring Conference
May 17 – 18, 2022
Epsilon exhibiting & attending
NEW ENGLAND ENERGY CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION (NEECE) Spring Conference
May 18, 2022
Epsilon sponsoring & attending
Can We Help You with Your Next Educational Event? Recent Events Completed
In April, Senior Consultant Katie Raymond participated as a panel member at Bisnow’s Construction & Development: Mitigating Risk, Managing BERDO 2.0, and Developments Shaping Boston’s Future. Katie was a member of the panel speaking about Demystifying the ‘E’ in ESG: A Net Zero Carbon Mindset which addressed the strategies and measures to implement to meet the requirements of BERDO 2.0.
In March, Managing Principal Mike Howard led a virtual training program behalf of the University of Massachusetts - Baystate Roads Transportation Center. The program focused on common erosion prevention and sediment control Best Management Practices (BMPs) associated with linear projects, including primarily roadway and utility infrastructure work, and addressing the MS4 permit’s Minimum Control Measures requirements. The program also included an update on the 2022 US EPA NPDESStormwater Construction General Permit. The training event was attended by engineering and public works officials, environmental consultants, and conservation agents. Mike has provided similar training events in the past for MassHighway and the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC).
Also in March, Principal Dave Klinch taught a well-attended wintertime plant identification course to a group of highly engaged MassDOT and MassDEP environmental scientists. The day-long class included a classroom session on the fundamentals of botany and local plant species often encountered in the Commonwealth, as well as an in-field session on the trails of Mount Wachusett to put what was learned in the classroom into practice. The day included a nearly 40-degree temperature drop and wildly windy conditions, but the group toughed it out and learned the tips and tricks needed to identify key New England plant species!
In February, Epsilon Principal AJ Jablonowski joined MEPA Office Director Tori Kim at the Environmental Business Council (EBC) of New England webinar addressing recent changes to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Regulations and two new MEPA Environmental Justice (EJ) Protocols: the MEPA Public Involvement Protocol for Environmental Justice Populations, and the MEPA Interim Protocol for Analysis of Project Impacts on Environmental Justice Populations. AJ’s presentation focused on How to Prepare for and Address Environmental Justice Issues in MEPA Reviews
Recognizing Women’s Contributions in the Offshore Wind Industry
March was Women’s History Month. While this Newsletter’s release schedule might not have aligned perfectly with its observance, we are still thrilled to highlight several women of Epsilon whose work contributes to the emerging offshore wind industry.
Maria Hartnett leads Epsilon’s offshore wind energy practice and heads up our Washington D.C. area office. Holly Carlson Johnston has a strong background in environmental law and specializes in permitting for offshore wind energy development, coastal and marine projects, and linear infrastructure. Caitlin Hamer has over 13 years of experience in the environmental field with a focus on marine biology and fisheries. Abbegail Nack has over four years of experience in offshore wind energy permitting, including supporting the development of three COPs and two OCS Air Permit applications. Abbegail recently obtained her Professional Engineer (P.E.) certification in Chemical Engineering – a remarkable and impressive achievement!
Amanda Ingram helps clients navigate the regulatory requirements and other environmental permitting to final design, construction, and monitoring. Kyndal Gehlbach has been busy supporting our permitting efforts for our offshore wind project portfolio. Margaret Markham is a member of the coastal & marine group focusing on our growing offshore wind energy clientele.
These women are supporting several offshore wind projects. One of them is the Vineyard Wind 1 project, which we have been engaged with since 2017. The project is currently in the process of utilizing Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) to create the tunnel for the offshore cables to connect onshore via an underground conduit. This process ensures that cables are safely buried well beneath the shoreline surface. Epsilon has also been onsite providing construction monitoring to ensure that the work is being done in compliance with all the approved permits.
Who’s New at Epsilon
Welcome! We are pleased to welcome Sonja Sax, Ph.D. as Senior Consultant. Sonja has extensive experience with exposure assessment and the health effects of environmental pollutants. At Epsilon, she will work closely with our air quality group to apply that experience to environmental justice expanded analyses of health impacts for the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). Sonja earned her M.S. and doctorate in environmental health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she also served as a postdoctoral fellow and her B.A. in Biological Chemistry from Wellesley College.
Maya Allen has joined Epsilon as an Administrative/Document Control Specialist. She comes to us from Force of Nature Clean where she was a Customer Response Associate. Maya received her B.A. in Business Management from Clark University. Finally, Krystal Krantz-Hartford has joined Epsilon as Finance/Human Resources Assistant. Krystal was previously a Front-End Manager at Lowe’s where she gained a significant amount of experience. Krystal holds an M.S. in Human Resources from Capella University along with a B.S. in Psychology from Bridgewater State University.