ESA Completes Most Comprehensive Fast-Track Environmental Review of its Kind

Environmental Science Associates (ESA), a San Francisco-based environmental science and planning firm, led the City and County of San Francisco’s environmental consultant team in releasing the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the 34th America’s Cup (AC34) venue for the City and Port of San Francisco.

The DEIR is a fast-track, 1,500-page document completed just five months after the Notice of Preparation was released. A copy can be found on the City’s Environmental Planning Department website.

Already, the DEIR is being hailed as one of fastest, most comprehensive environmental analyses ever prepared for a complex and wide ranging project of this type and scale. According to City of San Francisco officials, the America’s Cup races are expected to attract hundreds of thousands of spectators, pump $1.4 billion into the local economy and create 8,800 new jobs.

In order to be prepared for the World Series sailing races in 2012 as well as the America’s Cup Challenger Series and Match races in 2013, the City will work with AC34 event organizers to improve piers; construct temporary docking, sailing team staging and spectator facilities; dredge mooring basins, and get approvals from an array of local, state and federal agencies. Proposed America’s Cup Village facilities will be coordinated with, and support, the future construction of the Port’s new Cruise Terminal at Pier 27. To accommodate AC34, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and parallel National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation processes, as well as all regulatory permitting on the project will need to be completed within an extremely fast-track timeframe. For more information on the environmental process for this historic event visit the America’s Cup website.

“I’m extremely proud of the incredible performance put forth thus far by the ESA team in conjunction with City and Port staff,” said ESA’s president, Gary Oates. “The effort and resulting documentation provides the interested public and responsible agencies with a comprehensive and objective analysis of what will be a signature event for the San Francisco Bay Area.” He is personally overseeing ESA’s work on the environmental analysis and entitlement process backed by an array of planners, scientists, and technical specialists. ESA has four Bay Area offices with more than 160 staff, many of them experts in Bay ecology and water engineering. The firm is also working with event organizers and the City to prepare a number of implementation plans including a People Plan, focused on event-specific transportation management; a Waste Management Plan, with a zero waste goal; and a Sustainability Plan, in support of the City and Event Organizer’s goal to make this event the most environmentally responsible event of its kind ever.

The firm is no stranger to fast-track environmental review compliance and entitlement and is well known for its thorough environmental analysis and documentation of many high-profile and controversial projects. ESA successfully helped complete environmental review and permitting for the Doyle Drive Reconstruction project on an accelerated schedule driven in part by ARRA funding requirements. The firm also worked closely with the National Park Service and Golden Gate National Recreation Area to publish a Draft EIS for the F-Line Historic Streetcar Extension Project in a matter of months. Other notable San Francisco projects include major environmental studies for the Mission Bay Development Program, Eastern Neighborhoods Redevelopment Plan, Transit Center Specific Plan, and the Public Utilities Commission’s Water System Improvement Program.

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