LEXINGTON, Va. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District commander believes government agencies can achieve environmental objectives through a common operating picture.
That’s the message Col. Patrick Kinsman delivered Tuesday in a review of the district’s position regarding federal policy and environmental issues during the Environment Virginia Symposium at the Virginia Military Institute.
Cecil Rodriguez, the Environmental Protection Agency Region 3 deputy regional administrator, joined Kinsman on the panel discussion moderated by Joshua Saks, deputy secretary of Natural Resources for the commonwealth of Virginia.
During the hourlong discourse, Kinsman frequently addressed the necessity for synchronization of federal, state and local entities.
“In a dynamic, rapidly-changing environment, collaboration, cooperation and how organizations sync together and effectively communicate to deliver on their respective mission is on the forefront of my mind,” the colonel said.
Saks queried matters of both success and concern within the panel’s respective organizations.
“Our great relationships and shared partnerships are what we know is going well,” Kinsman said. “My concern is how we leverage those relationships for the future.”
Kinsman praised the district’s current affiliations with local municipalities, the Hampton Roads region, commonwealth and enterprise-level congressional delegation.
The chief concerns expressed by Saks were mitigating climate change, carbon mitigation and flooding.
“Flooding-related issues are what keep me up at night,” Saks said. “Things like subsidence at Sewells Point, seal-level rise … and historically, we as a nation rely on the Army Corps to keep us dry and keep us safe.”
Saks inquired about Norfolk District’s role in the Hampton Roads area resilience challenge.
“That is something we’re looking at closely,” Kinsman said. “We just finished up a three-year Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management study – three years of great effort partnered with the city of Norfolk. A result of (Hurricane Sandy) was identification of Norfolk as one of the most at-risk cities in world.
“The federal government working with the nonfederal sponsor resulted in a buildable project. We hope for congressional authorization in 2020.”
During the event, Saks identified the commonwealth’s desire for direct appeal to the federal government. Kinsman reinforced the Corps’ commitment to partnerships for effective problem-solving.
“We make a difference with our collaborative work,” the commander said. “And the Corps is revolutionizing how we respond to challenges, but we can only do that with the strong nonfederal partnerships.”
Now in its 30th year, the Environment Virginia Symposium gathers environmental professionals throughout the commonwealth.
The conference included about 50 sessions with topics ranging from environmentally sustainable building standards to training the next generation of environmental leaders. As many as 600 environmental professionals attend from all over Virginia and every sector of the environmental industry