Environmental Planner Spotlight

Oil and gas operations can contain extremely complex production or construction activities that are guided by strict environmental and regulatory guidelines and laws. These environmental laws and regulations help reduce the environmental impacts of the things we build. But, those laws wouldn’t mean much without people who know what they are and how to make sure that new projects conform to them. That’s where Environmental Planners come in. 

What a typical day looks like:

Environmental Planners look at the long and short-term effects that a development will have on the people, animals, and ecosystems surrounding it and then shape the developments to minimize the environmental impacts. This can be a complex task in Canada where the oil and gas industry works primarily on publicly owned lands and operates near communities. These planners are involved in strategic decision making and project management at each step of a project’s lifecycle including approval, construction, post-construction and operational management.

They aim to use land in the most efficient way possible. They compile data about all of the environmental, demographic, economic, legal, political, cultural, sociological, and physical factors affecting land use. Then, they provide strategic advice about designs and systems, to preserve ecosystems and environmentally sensitive areas.

These professionals also make sure that development projects comply with provincial and federal environmental laws and regulations. They contribute to regulatory planning, facilitate environmental permitting, and write environmental reports and documents.

The kinds of problems Environmental Planners solve at work:

Environmental Planners need to juggle numbers, projects, and sustainability. They have to balance operations, quality, environment and safety, all while keeping an eye on regulatory and legal requirements. They highlight environmental concerns and find sustainable solutions to large problems.

Skills used most on the job:

Environmental Planners need to be highly organized and capable of multitasking. They have a strong attention to detail and can understand and draw connections from complex data. They also are able to build relationships with a variety of people.

As environmental standards become more stringent, the job of an Environmental Planner becomes more important. They help make sure that oil and gas development and environmental sustainability can co-exist in any location.

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