Biodiversity Impact Assessments

We have implemented a formal three-phase risk-based approach to identify, assess and manage potential biodiversity impacts for certain capital projects.

1. Pre-Construction/Planning Phase – A dedicated team of environmental experts works closely with our engineering and commercial departments to perform environmental due diligence.

The following natural and cultural resource considerations are part of the evaluation process: 

  • Locations of surface waters and wetlands.
  • Threatened and endangered species habitats.
  • Previously recorded archaeological sites, historic structures and areas of tribal interest or significance.
  • Existing developed areas versus undeveloped greenfield sites.
  • Public lands, including parks, nature preserves and wildlife conservation areas.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency floodplains.
  • Surface water intakes.

2. Permit/Approval Phase – Valero undergoes a robust permitting process and collaborates with local, state and federal regulatory agencies. Additionally, our corporate subject matter experts review all impact assessments from the preconstruction and planning phase.

For major capital projects, a presentation including permitting information, impact avoidance plans, identification of endangered species and other biodiversity impacts, if applicable, is presented at the executive management level. Major capital projects must be approved by the Board before advancing to the implementation phase.

3. Construction/Implementation Phase – For site preparation and other related soil-disturbing activities, we initiate stormwater management controls to reduce impacts to lakes, rivers, streams and other surface waters. 

During major construction and where warranted, we also provide training programs on topics such as threatened and endangered species awareness and identification, stop-work protocols and reporting. To protect ecosystems from unintended releases of materials, we implement comprehensive pollution prevention and incident response programs.

2022 Biodiversity and Conservation Initiatives

The following programs and projects are part of our biodiversity initiatives beyond the company's business activities. We prioritize the needs of local nonprofits and other community stakeholders when selecting biodiversity projects and value these opportunities to engage with our neighbors.

Nature-Based Carbon Capture Programs

Pontchartrain Conservancy: The Valero St. Charles and Meraux refineries continued their partnership with the Pontchartrain Conservancy by planting more than 900 trees in south Louisiana wetlands during two employee volunteer planting events in 2022. Valero donated $1 million to support the Pontchartrain Conservancy’s Swamp Reforestation project.

Iowa Biodiversity

Wildlife Protection Programs

Iowa Department of Natural Resources: The Valero Albert City Ethanol Plant is allowing the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) access to the site’s stormwater pond to band goslings. The bands will help the DNR to track the birds and observe their migration and travel patterns.

Port Arthur GOMA

Water-Focused Programs

Gulf of Mexico Alliance: The Valero Port Arthur Refinery became a 2022 Gulf Star Partner with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance by supporting their Ocean Guardian School Program in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This five-year program supports a teacher leader at Lincoln Middle School in the Port Arthur Independent School District to execute conservational projects with students throughout the school year. Projects include watershed restoration, recycling, school gardens, ocean health and more.