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HMMH Wins DOE Tidal Energy Project

Posted September 28, 2009 by

September 16, 2009: Burlington, MA

Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH) has been selected by the US Departmenty of Energy (DOE) to lead environmental impact assessment studies for the proposed Edgartown Tidal Energy Project.  Funded under DOE’s Advanced Water Power Program, the winning proposal, titled “The Environment Effects of Sediment Transport Alteration and Impacts on Protected Species Project,” will be an important step toward initiating permitting for a 1.5 MW Tidal Energy Project proposed by the Town of Edgartown in Muskeget Channel east of Martha’s Vineyard.  The project will be managed by Steve Barrett, Director of Clean Energy at HMMH.

The objective of this study is two-fold: (1) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with sediment transport alteration of two established tidal energy technologies – horizontal open bladed turbines mounted on monopoles and horizontal helical turbines that float from moorings; and (2) to collect and analyze information on the occurrence and potential impacts of protected species in the project area.

HMMH will direct, administer, and communicate all aspects of the proposed environmental studies program.  HMMH will also communicate the tidal project’s goals and the objectives of the proposed environmental studies to regulatory staff, local governments, and stakeholders and interest groups.  HMMH and the Town of Edgartown will use the information generated to support federal, state, and local permit applications associated with the first stage pilot project.

Our team includes several outstanding reasearch groups, including: UMASS-Dartmouth School for Marine Science & Technology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS), and the Battelle Memorial Institute.  UMASS and WHOI will collborate on a study of the potential changes in sediment movement caused by the tidal energy project and potential impacts on benthic communities.  PCCS will evaluate the existing populations of protected species such as seals and sea turtles in Muskeget Channel.  Battelle will provide support in Geographic Information Systems and data analysis.

The project will start in December 2009 and be completed over a two year period.

Contact:
Stephen Barrett, Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc.
77 South Bedford Street
Burlington, MA 01803
T 781.229.0707

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Environmental Business Council of New England Announces Winners of “Best Places to Work” Challenge

Posted September 23, 2009 by

September 23, 2009 – Boston, MA – The Environmental Business Council of New England announces the results and winners of the third annual “Best Places to Work” challenge.

In the summer of 2009, the EBC conducted surveys of EBC member companies that revealed attitudes of employees about how good their company was as a place to work. The top five areas in which employees felt their company did well were: flexibility, open and effective communication, recognition of employee’s hard work, encouraging innovation and creativity, and hiring top notch employees.

The survey also highlighted the top five areas that employees felt their company could improve, namely, communication and clearer goals, transparency and communication about company financials, opportunities for training and growth, consistency in compensation and policies, and greater flexibility.

Employees surveyed reported that feeling valued, trust in senior leaders, work engagement, trust with coworkers, and team effectiveness influenced their decisions to remain with a company or organization and to continue to perform at their best.

Over the past three years feeling valued has been a top priority and motivator for employees over monetary compensation or benefits.

There were five award categories based on company size. The winner in the entrepreneurial company category was Mackie Shea O’Brien, P.C. of Boston, MA. For the second year in a row, Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc., of Marlborough, MA, was named the winner in the small-size company category. TMC Services, Inc. of Bellingham, MA claimed the top prize for a medium-size company and Triumvirate Environmental of Somerville, MA was declared the winner for a third year in the large-size company category.

Also an award was given for the most environmentally conscious company. This award went to Mackie Shea O’Brien, P.C. of Boston for a third year. This is the first time one company has won two different awards.

The winners were chosen based on data gathered by the EBC through member company personalized surveys, which all employees from each company were invited to complete. Winners were chosen in each of the five categories and announced at the EBC “Best Places to Work” Awards Ceremony on September 18, 2009.

Winning companies each received official EBC 2009 “Best Places to Work” award plaques and the official EBC “Best Places to Work” approval logo which they can use on their websites and marketing materials. With this outstanding award, company management and current and future employees, and clients can take pride in their association with firms that demonstrate such exemplary business practices and endeavors.

This year’s Award Ceremony featured a keynote address by Bob Kelleher, CEO and Founder of the Employee Engagement Group. His presentation entitled, “The Sustainable Organization” – 13 Trends Facing Today’s Leaders, addressed topics ranging from the differences in generations, globalization, the talent war and the current economic situation.

At the Awards event, a panel of award recipients was formed where they reflected on their business practices and addressed questions from attendees. A lively discussion ensued with Bob Kelleher joining the panel in providing expert insights and answers.

About the Winners

Mackie Shea O’Brien, P.C. 
provides experienced counsel in areas such as land use law and related litigation. Practice areas include renewable energy, water, real estate, hazardous waste and many more. Their dedication to community and providing clients with knowledge in regulatory compliance, allows this firm to thrive in the environmental sector.

Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc.
 is known for their commitment to consulting companies in all of their environmental, health & safety management needs; allowing clients to meet regulatory requirements and provide safe working environments for their employees.

TMC Services, Inc. 
is one of New England’s leading full-service environmental contracting companies offering specialized services to clients facing environmental challenges. They provide environmental, construction, and abatement services to owners, general contractors, engineers, and municipal and government agencies.

Triumvirate Environmental 
specializes in hazardous waste management services for top clients in the healthcare, life science, education and industrial sectors. With experts in field services and consulting, Triumvirate has the ability to provide clients, not only with hands on service, but also with the tools and knowledge necessary to navigate through various regulations in order to maintain environmentally sound institutions and businesses.

About EBC

The mission of the EBC is to advance and promote the environmental and energy services and technology businesses in New England by supporting sustainable environmental policies and practices for business and government. For membership information and to learn more about the EBC, please contact Megan Curtis-Murphy at 617-725-0207 or mcurtismurphy@ebcne.org.

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Congressman Capuano Meets with the Environmental Business Council Community

Posted September 21, 2009 by

The Environmental Business Council hosted a meeting with Congressman Capuano on September 14, 2009 at the law offices of Mintz, Levin, Cohen, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C. The Congressman discussed issues of importance to EBC Members, including current developments in Washington on the business of energy, environment and climate change.



Picture from left to right: EBC Board Member Ralph Child, Congressman Micheal Capuano, EBC Board Chairman Edward Ionata and EBC President Daniel K. Moon

Congressman Capuano also shared his plan to run for the open U.S. Senate seat and continue the work he has done in Massachusetts on a national level.

Congressman Capuano represents the 8th Congressional District which includes Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea.

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Nutter’s Michael Leon and Mary Ryan Serve as Co-counsel on Amicus Brief in the Monumental Case of Moot v. Department of Environmental Protection

Posted September 17, 2009 by

Mary K. Ryan and Michael A. Leon, members of the firm’s Land Use, Permitting and Development and Environmental practice groups, served as co-counsel on an amicus brief on behalf of The Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts, Inc. and The Abstract Club, in the monumental case of Moot v. Department of Environmental Protection (“Moot”), with respect to the Legislature’s authority to exempt landlocked tidelands from regulation under General Laws Chapter 91.

Under the public trust doctrine, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts holds submerged tidelands in trust for the benefit of the public.  Regulation of tidelands under Chapter 91 stems from that doctrine, as a delegation of the Commonwealth’s authority to regulate the public’s rights in tidelands to the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”).

The original Moot case arose from a challenge by a ten-citizens group to the DEP’s determination that the proposed North Point development in Cambridge was exempt, under the DEP’s regulations, from Chapter 91 licensing requirements because the tidelands in question were landlocked.  The tidelands had been filled pursuant to a Chapter 91 license issued in 1962.  In that case, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the DEP exceeded its authority by promulgating a regulation exempting landlocked tidelands from Chapter 91 jurisdiction.  The judgment was stayed to provide the Legislature an opportunity to take any action it might deem appropriate because of the decision.

The Legislature subsequently passed Chapter 168 of the Acts of 2007 (the “2007 Tidelands Act”), which serves to exempt landlocked tidelands from review under Chapter 91, thereby upholding the landlocked tidelands exemption originally promulgated in the DEP regulations.  The present case was brought by the original plaintiffs, who claim that the Legislature exceeded its authority in enacting the 2007 Tidelands Act and that the conditions of the 1962 license related to the North Point property are valid and enforceable, including a requirement for a new license for a change in use.

A finding that the 2007 Tidelands Act is not an effective or valid exemption from Chapter 91 for landlocked tidelands would have far-reaching consequences, impacting thousands of properties that have been developed, or are planned to be developed, in reliance on their exemption from licensing under Chapter 91.  In addition, a finding that conditions imposed by a previous administrative license can undercut a Legislative enactment would result in the inability of property owners and developers to rely on clear statutory language to determine their property rights and obligations.  The amicus brief, therefore, seeks to resolve these concerns.

The amicus brief was filed in support of the Superior Court?s holding that the 2007 Tidelands Act is a valid exercise of Legislative authority and that the statutory exemptions from Chapter 91 licensing trump prior license conditions that are now unnecessary.  As the brief sets forth in more detail, the 2007 Tidelands Act was enacted as a proper exercise of the Legislature’s power and authority, and therefore it validly and effectively exempts landlocked tidelands from licensing under Chapter 91.

More specifically, the Legislature made all the necessary findings to relinquish the public’s interests in landlocked tidelands under the 2007 Tidelands Act, by indicating the land involved, acknowledging the interests being surrendered, acting for a valid public purpose, and ensuring that any private benefits that that would be enjoyed as a result of the exemption of landlocked tidelands from licensing were incidental to that public purpose.  However, as the brief explains, the Legislature did not fully relinquish the public’s rights in landlocked tidelands because the 2007 Tidelands Act simply exempts landlocked tidelands from the licensing requirements of Chapter 91.  The 2007 Tidelands Act also provides for a public benefit review process, applicable to any new or modified use or structure on landlocked tidelands that requires MEPA review, which review process may result in the imposition of additional measures to preserve or enhance the public’s right to enjoy the tidelands protected under Chapter 91.  Furthermore, the brief explains that the exemption from Chapter 91 licensing for landlocked tidelands under the 2007 Tidelands Act necessarily supplants any conditions imposed on those landlocked tidelands under prior, and now-unnecessary, Chapter 91 licenses.  In conclusion, the brief requests that the Supreme Judicial Court uphold the decision of the Superior Court.

Nutter was chosen as co-counsel on the brief based on its successful litigation of similar cases including Higgins v. Department of Environmental Protection and Hertz v. Golledge, both of which involved private party challenges to the Commonwealth’s exercise of authority for the protection of  tidelands under Chapter 91 that were dismissed for lack of standing.

Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
World Trade Center West
155 Seaport Boulevard
Boston , MA 02210

617-439-2000

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Chapman Construction/Design Office Earns Platinum LEED Certification

Posted September 10, 2009 by

Project is only the third Platinum LEED-certified commercial interior in Massachusetts.

NEWTON, Mass. (September 10, 2009) – Chapman Construction/Design has achieved Platinum LEED certification for its green office renovation. Chapman’s project is only the third Platinum LEED-certified commercial interior in Massachusetts, and the forty-second in the country.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized measurement system for rating green buildings administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. Platinum is the USGBC’s highest rating.

Chapman earned 44 credits – every credit they sought and two more than necessary to achieve Platinum. Chapman employees designed, built, and managed the project; others provided LEED consulting services and documented the credit submission. More than half of its staff has earned LEED Accreditation, passing an exam that covers LEED principles and sustainable construction practices.

The renovation served as a learning lab for employees; Chapman rotated site supervisors onto the job to prepare them for the rigors of running LEED projects. In June 2008 staff voluntarily participated in a “barn raising” during which they installed 208 photovoltaic panels on the office roof.

In response to hidden conditions revealed during construction, Chapman refined the structural design for its 47 kW photovoltaic array, which generates nearly all the power needed by the office, earning one Sustainable Site credit and one Innovation in Design credit. Chapman earned additional innovation credits for its fuel efficient vehicle program, which loans hybrids to project managers for company business, and its educational outreach, which perhaps more than any credit embodies its corporate commitment to sustainability.

“It was our goal for our project to be an opportunity for our staff to learn sustainable building principles first hand and the final product to be a learning lab for building professionals and the public. We set out to create a space that exemplifies sustainability, and we’re elated that Chapman’s office was awarded Platinum LEED certification,” said Chapman President, John Hall, LEED AP. “Again and again we’ve heard our clients and contacts say that Chapman doesn’t just talk the talk but also walks the walk.”

Chapman provides daily tours of its facility and the Sustainable Product Resource Center to share with building professionals and clients what was learned during and since the renovation.

About Chapman Construction/Design Founded in 1984, Chapman is a construction management firm specializing in sustainable interiors, building performance, and renewable energy projects in the Greater Boston area. Chapman’s self-designed Platinum LEED certified office is a showcase of green strategies, including a 47 kW photovoltaic array that generates nearly all of the company’s electrical power.

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