AEP State Conference


Air Quality for Dummies

This professional development workshop demystifies air quality and greenhouse gas analyses for the CEQA practitioner. The presentations are designed to provide an understanding of the science of air quality and greenhouse gases and the implications that projects have on climate change. The presenters simplify the technical details by providing a succinct description of potential impacts and how they can be evaluated. While the presentations are intended to help the CEQA practitioner understand the technical aspects of air quality and greenhouse gas analyses, they stay focused on integrating the science with CEQA requirements and center on what the general practitioner needs to know. This training opportunity addresses four elements of air quality and climate change analysis: science; analyses; mitigation; and adaptation. Our speakers will review the concepts of scoping air quality analyses and the decision-making process to determine what level of analysis is required for a particular project. We will discuss how an air quality or climate change analysis can tier from a qualified cumulative mitigation plan such as a climate action plan and what constitutes “qualified.” We will also discuss how the project manager interprets the findings provided by air quality specialists, and how these findings apply to the CEQA Checklist and thresholds of significance. Our presenters will also provide insight on and examples of mitigation measures for potential impacts from various project sources (construction operation), as well as on incorporating adaptation into the project design. Specific presentations cover various aspects of CEQA-compliant Climate Action Plans, including defensible GHG reduction targets, the importance of baseline, and if, when, what, and how to model.


Nicole Vermilion, Manager, Air Quality & Greenhouse Gas Services, The Planning Center/DC&E

Nicole is an air quality and GHG specialist as it relates to CEQA, AB32, and SB375. She closely follows the changing CEQA thresholds and methodology. Nicole has performed numerous GHG inventories for individual projects, including the Irvine Business Complex, The Ontario Plan, and Town of Los Gatos Sustainability Plan.

Rich Walters, Principal, ICF International

Rich Walter is the co-leader of ICF’s municipal climate change planning practice in California. His practice includes advising municipal and private clients on the development of policies dealing with climate change plans, regional transportation plans, and NEPA/CEQA analysis of climate change impacts.

Tammy Seale, Sustainability and Climate Services Manager, PMC

Tammy manages PMC’s Sustainability and Climate Change Services Team and is an expert in sustainability, climate action planning, and conservation planning. She oversees preparation of environmental analyses and GHG inventories, including San Luis Obispo County’s EnergyWise Plan; Novato’s Climate Change Action Plan; and Palmdale’s Energy Action Plan. 

Michael Hendrix, Project Director of Air Quality and Climate Change Services, Atkins North America

Michael is the director of air quality and climate change at Atkins with over 16 years of experience in air quality modeling, GHG emissions inventories, climate action plans, health risk and air quality analysis. He is the Chair of the AEP Climate Change Committee and is on the GHG Thresholds Technical Review Committee for SCAQMD.

Michael Krause, CEQA Program Supervisor,SCAQMD

Currently a Program Supervisor at the SCAQMD, Mr. Krause oversaw the development of the new California Emissions Estimator Model (CalEEMod), the 2012 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP), GHG Significance Thresholds for residential and commercial sources, SCAQMD’s Air Quality Analysis Handbook and Policy Guidance Document, and is looking forward to adopting annual CEQA significance thresholds in the near future.

NEPA Nuts & Bolts

The NEPA Workshop is a "Nuts and Bolts" training presenting two important practicing tips: Alternatives Analyses and Preparing Joint NEPA/CEQA Documents. Our speakers walk you through the process of developing the range of alternatives for a project and the analytical methodology process developed to select the preferred NEPA preferred alternative. If you want to know what is a ‘reasonable’ alternative, how the alternatives analysis process differs between NEPA and CEQA, or what happens when the NEPA preferred alternative differs from the CEQA preferred action, we have answers! We will also offer recommendations on the preparation of joint documents, such as a combined EIR/EIS or MND/EA. The workshop covers the differing NEPA/CEQA definitions of baseline that may affect the impacts analyses, and the different requirements utilized to analyze environmental justice issues and growth inducing impacts. Our session will also cover recent data that reveals the range in timeframes and costs for completion of the CEQA and/or NEPA process by different jurisdictions, by different project type, and by project proponent (i.e., private versus public). We are seeking MCLE and AICP continuing education credits for this workshop.


Roger Turner, President, Turner & Associates, Inc.

Roger is President of Roger Turner & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in environmental planning, water resource planning and management, stormwater permitting, government relations, and regulatory permitting and compliance services. Mr. Turner specializes in water resource planning and management for water supply programs and projects. CEQA and NEPA compliance are included in his practice.

Mr. Turner is the NAEP Liaison on the Executive Board of the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP). He is the past Executive Vice President of the AEP, AEP Awards Chair, Past President of the Inland Empire Association of Environmental Professionals; Past Chair SARDA; Past Chair of SCAP Water Committee, Associate Member of A.I.C.P.; Charter Board Member of Inland Empire Section American Planning Association; and Guest lecturer at University of California, Riverside.

Laurie McClenahan Hietter, Principal, Panorama Environmental, Inc.

Laurie McClenahan Hietter has over 30 years of experience analyzing the environmental effects and permitting energy and infrastructure projects throughout the west. She began her career at the US Geological Survey and founded MHA Environmental Consulting, Inc. in 1983. MHA was acquired in 2007 by RMT, Inc., and Laurie founded Panorama Environmental, Inc. with Tania Treis in 2011.

In addition to directing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance, Laurie has focused on assisting developers to identify and address environmental issues early in design to define projects that are easier to permit. She has broad experience in renewable energy permitting (geothermal, wind, solar) and also has extensive experience permitting projects for utilities, the California Public Utilities Commission, water districts, and private developers for projects including transmission lines; water, gas and oil pipelines; underground gas storage, power plants, and other infrastructure projects.

 As an invited speaker, Laurie has taught courses on the environmental permitting process and impact analysis for the Association of Environmental Professionals, Geothermal Energy Association, Geothermal Resources Council, the International Geothermal Association, National Geothermal Collaborative, U.S. and Kenya government agency staff, and private developers. Laurie has authored Public Outreach publications for the National Geothermal Collaborative and the California Geothermal Collaborative. Laurie holds a BS in Geology from San Jose State University.

Andrew Bell, Esq.

Andrew Bell has advised developers, investors, and trade organizations in the application of land use and natural resources laws to more than one hundred real estate development and renewable energy projects. He represents clients before local, state and federal regulatory officials on a daily basis.

Andrew’s real estate development practice focuses on the environmental impact review and permitting of large-scale retail, commercial and residential development projects throughout California. Much of this work involves designing and implementing creative entitlement strategies that meet the client’s objectives in the most legally defensible manner possible. His renewable energy work focuses on utility-scale wind and solar projects on private lands in California and on federal public lands in the western United States. Legal advice regarding land use entitlements, environmental impact reviews and endangered species constitutes the core of his practice. Because of the ever-changing nature of the renewable energy regulatory environment, he also frequently represents developers and renewable energy trade organizations at the policy level.

Amanda K. Olekszulin, Principal, Ascent Environmental, Inc.

Amanda is a principal with Ascent Environmental and has 15 years of professional experience in environmental and community planning. She a diverse background in environmental planning and specializes in the management of complex and controversial projects, including brownfield redevelopments, master planned communities, prisons, water resources development, wastewater treatment plants, waterfront developments, and other public infrastructure projects. She has broad marketplace recognition for CEQA and NEPA document leadership and management accomplishments. Amanda has also provided managed or directed several on-call technical services contracts for clients including the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Department of General Services – Real Estate Services Division, and the City of Tracy. In the execution of these contracts, Amanda oversaw and managed staff during the performance of CEQA/NEPA documents, mitigation monitoring, and permit acquisition. Her experience includes:

  • Directed EIRs for several State agencies, including the California Department of General Services (DGS), California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
  • Prepared CEQA documentation for important water supply projects including EIRs for the Zone 40 Water Supply Master Plan and Sacramento Area Water Forum Agreement in Sacramento County.
  • Managed open space planning and CEQA compliance on several projects in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
  • Teaches CEQA courses for AEP, UC Davis, California State Parks, and California Local Agency Formation Commission.