Public involvement is a vital and sensitive element for successful permitting and project development. Most of Owl Ridge’s projects have involved public outreach and participation and many of our projects have involved complex, highly visible proposed actions requiring coordination among many stakeholders while meeting aggressive schedules. We have extensive experience with public and stakeholder involvement and understand what it takes to effectively involve stakeholders and the public.
Owl Ridge regularly develops project-specific Public Involvement Plans that focus on clarifying and driving thoughtful, sustained, and meaningful participation and interaction; building trust among parties that have a role or stake in the project; and mitigating opposition. These plans also identify or suggest the most effective tools and timing needed to successfully (and proactively) manage public input, tribal consultation, technical interactions/review, public/media relations, and other forms of interaction to facilitate alignment on communications. Our efforts to involve the public and stakeholders (e.g., Native tribes and groups) commonly include the use of public meetings, project-specific websites, periodic newsletters, public notices, general project mailings, surveys, and direct communications.
Owl Ridge has supported oil and gas companies operating in the offshore to successfully obtain Conflict Avoidance Agreements with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission that minimize cost and restrictive mitigations. In addition, for the Quintillion subsea cable-lay program, Owl Ridge led public information efforts in the local cable-landing communities, including hosting local gatherings and vessel tours to inform interested parties, including the Governor of Alaska.
Owl Ridge staff also have supported large, visible, and controversial NEPA EIS projects, such as the Powder River Basin Oil and Natural Gas Project EIS and Permanent Stationing of the 2/25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team EIS. As part of the NEPA process, we have planned and organized many public meetings to address scoping as well as public review and comment periods. We have developed materials to inform agencies and the public. Our work has included all requirements of NEPA to facilitate and incorporate public involvement. Owl Ridge senior staff have experience with NEPA projects that required preparing for and conducting 15 scoping meetings over three weeks in five states, and where stakeholders and the public had submitted as many as 80,000 comments.