Land and Environment

California land use planning and regulation is complex. Benchmark Resources knows which laws and regulations apply, when to engage the appropriate agencies, what documentation to prepare, and which administrative processes to follow. This knowledge means the difference between an efficient program and one with lengthy and costly permitting.

Our practice is statewide. We have determined the most applicable general plan, zoning, and local provisions or restrictions across California. We have worked within a wide range of environmental, socioeconomic, and political landscapes, which allows us to offer opportunities and solutions based on similar circumstances.


Benchmark Resources’ staff has a long history of projects requiring review under both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). These statutes require federal, state, and local agencies to analyze and disclose the potential environmental impacts of their decisions, and, in the case of CEQA, to minimize significant adverse environmental effects to the extent feasible.

CEQA is the state’s broadest environmental law. Because projects bring change, and change is often controversial, the environmental review process is typically the most time-consuming and expensive aspect of permitting. Benchmark Resources’ approach to CEQA and NEPA documentation is a balance of common sense, technical accuracy, and legal defensibility. Our high degree of project success is a result of our knowledge of the law and the judicial decisions that apply to the project.

Natural Resources Regulation

Benchmark Resources’ practice regularly involves addressing natural resource requirements while enabling land uses to move forward. We are experienced in planning, mitigation, and enforcement matters including:

  • Agricultural land (Williamson Act, farmland mapping, CEQA)
  • Water resources (water rights, beneficial use, sustainable groundwater management, water supply planning)
  • Fish and wildlife (sensitive and endangered species, native plant protection, habitat conservation)
  • Wetlands (streambed alteration, wetlands, waters of the United States)
  • Mineral resources (mineral classification and designation, mineral resource management, surface mining reclamation)

Our projects also have involved parks and recreation, historical resources, coastal zone protection, oil and gas, and forestry programs.

Pollution Control

Benchmark Resources is adept at addressing compliance with:

  • Air quality compliance (local district standards for attainment, federal new source performance standards and prevention of significant deterioration, stationary source authority to construct and permit to operate, toxic air contaminants, mobile emission standards)
  • Water quality (waste discharge requirements, point source and nonpoint sources, spill prevention, discharge of dredged or fill material, stormwater pollution and prevention)
  • Noise (stationary and mobile noise sources and control, local noise ordinances and sensitive receptors)

We are also familiar with regulations for hazardous materials and toxic substances (including naturally occurring asbestos), solid waste facilities (for Class III solid waste and inert waste disposal), and hazardous wastes.

“I engaged Benchmark Resources to complete the largest mining and pipeline construction project environmental impact reports ever undertaken by Monterey County. These proposals were technically challenging, involving a cross section of county land uses, habitats and sensitive species, and complex geotechnical issues to be resolved. The fast-track projects were completed on time and on budget with an organized and enthusiastic execution. Benchmark Resources prepared the best and most comprehensive EIR I was involved with in my career.

Mike Novo, Director of Planning
Monterey County Resource Management Agency (retired)