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Environmental Quality Assurance Program (EQAP)

In the mid-1980s, the County approved five major projects for production, processing, and transporting offshore oil and gas. Each project carried many permit conditions designed to eliminate or reduce significant impacts to public health and safety and the environment during the project’s construction and operations. Several innovative tools evolved either to implement or to monitor and enforce the permit conditions.

The Environmental Quality Assurance Program (EQAP) entails field-monitoring to enforce compliance with environmentally protective permit conditions, particularly during construction of the major facilities. The EQAP process entails two steps:

  • First, permittees submit Environmental Quality Assurance Programs to the County for approval prior to construction. These programs describe how permittees would ensure compliance with all permit conditions during both the construction and operations phases of the projects. EQAPs also have been required for projects entailing abandonment of oil and gas facilities and sites. 

  • Second, the County closely monitors compliance in the field. Aside from ensuring compliance with conditions, such monitoring provides two additional benefits.

    • EQAP monitors are able to anticipate environmental impacts, including some not identified during the environmental review of a project, and recommend measures to avoid or reduce such impacts.
    • Monitoring during construction gives added insight as to the effectiveness of measures designed to mitigate significant adverse effects on the environment.

County Zoning Ordinances and discretionary permits typically include the following types of projects, permit conditions, or activities that require field monitoring:

Construction and operation of onshore facilities according to approved construction drawings and plans

Construction, modification, or demolition of any structure, and grading totaling more than 1,500 cubic yards

Revegetation and landscaping
maintenance plans

Cultural Resource Mitigation Programs (CRMPs)

Construction activity, including establishment and maintenance
of buffer zones

Safety, Inspection, Maintenance, and Quality Assurance Programs (SIMQAPs)

Erosion control plans

Relocation of sensitive species

Stream/creek diversion

Emergency response plans

Oil spill restoration plans

Surface and ground water quality monitoring

Noise monitoring and mitigation plans

Salvage (and replacement) of top soil

Hourly and seasonal restrictions on construction time

Removal of debris

Ensuring storm drains are clear

Annual biological surveys

Vessel corridor and mooring/anchoring plans

Lighting and glare restrictions

Wildland fire fuel management plans (vegetation management plans)

Demolition and Reclamation, including site clean-up and remedial action plans

The EQAP has since helped the County to comply with revisions to the California Environmental Quality Act in the early 1990s. Those revisions require a permitting agency to adopt a program for reporting or monitoring mitigation measures included as permit conditions (Public Resources Code § 21081.6(a) and CEQA Guidelines §§ 15091(d) and 15097).

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