DEQs Going Digital
How Environmental Agencies Are Revolutionizing Comment Management
State environmental agencies go by many names -- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), among others. But no matter the nomenclature, their task is the same: to enforce their state's environmental laws and protect its air, water and land.
In this role, environmental regulators often end up as referees between the citizens and businesses whose activities and interests affect the region's natural resources. And, like referees, you usually only hear their names when something goes wrong. An oil spill. An invasive fish decimating a native species. Groundwater pollution. Such hot-button issues are everyday subjects for a DEQ or DEP, which have the critical -- sometimes impossible -- job of solving such catastrophes to the closest satisfaction of a seemingly endless collection of stakeholders. Controversy is expected. Lawsuits are common.
However, there's an in-house task familiar to every environmental administrator that can be just as precarious as the delicate environmental issues they monitor. Namely, the hundreds or even thousands of public comment periods they're legally required to conduct and manage each year.
Say Hi to SmartComment 2.0
New Website Reflects Growth, Client Successes
So we redesigned our website.
By itself, this is not revolutionary. After all, we live in an age where your 12-year-old neighbor probably just launched an online variety show that got her 36k Instagram followers and a YouTube deal.
But what is revolutionary are our many innovative and just plain brave clients, who ditched the spreadsheets, email chains or antiquated computer programs and said yes to a new paradigm in how their public comments are managed -- and whose continuing loyalty warranted the need for our new digital home in the first place.
The SmartComment Road Show
Adventures of the All-Important Software Demo
This spring, my wife and I scheduled a long weekend in New York City to do a blissfully unscheduled walking, eating & gawking tour of one of our favorite destinations.
A few days before we left, a potential SmartComment client requested a software web demo for a few hours after our flight was scheduled to arrive at JFK. Deciding I could make it all work, I stuck by my initial plan, figuring I could get to the hotel safely ahead of the demo and help put our company's best foot forward for the potential new client.
What's Your Comment Response Readiness?
A Comment Response Discussion with Top Environmental Planners
Earlier this month, SmartComment joined hundreds of environmental consultants and agency planning directors and staff at the Association of Environmental Planners conference in San Diego. It's the kind of event where it's perfectly normal to have a ten-minute coffee-break conversation about the triggers for a mitigated negative declaration, and where we saw at least one person in a " NEPA Nerd" T-shirt.
In other words, this was our kind of place.
Winning the Environmental Review RFP
How to Bulletproof Your NEPA Consulting Proposal
The RFP -- or ever-important request for proposal -- remains the lifeblood of any environmental consulting business. It's the means by which an agency advertises a project to contractors who have the skills, education and experience to pull it off. And, as such, the process is specifically designed to include a few catches so that only the best, most detail-oriented candidates apply. Below, SmartComment gives its tips for navigating this crucial system and landing your RFP proposal on the top of the pile.