“No experience Required”

I filed the following comment on the FERC docket today.  I’m illustrating it here to show just how much is wrong with the DEIS.  Here’s a critical multi billion dollar project that will impact until thousands of lives, and we have a guy with a 2014 BA in Chemical Physics in charge of the Cumulative Impacts section.  His prior jobs according to him were Physics Grader and Nature Director at a kid’s camp.

Yeah, Tuft’s is a good school, and one day Mr. Atmer might make a fine individual to help shape environmental policy and make decisions on matters like this.  But a year and a half out of school isn’t that day.  Things like being a TA in class need to drop off your resume first.


Comment on Tetra Tech Qualifications

My name is Michael Spille, I am commenting on the DEIS for the PennEast Pipeline project, docket CP15-558. I am an intervenor in this matter and also an impacted landowner on the preferred route.

Cumulative Impacts are one of the most vital areas in NEPA regulations. By requiring analysis of cumulative impacts NEPA ensures that infrastructure projects cannot pile into a geographic region and, taken together, cause undue harm to the natural environment that may not be evident by looking projects individually in isolation.

Appendix J of the DEIS lists the preparers of the DEIS. The sole Tetra Tech employee listed in charge of accessing Cumulative Impacts is one Thomas Atmer.:

Atmer, Thomas
B.A., Environmental Studies; Chemical Physics, 2014, Tufts University

Mr. Atmer has listed his C.V. on the site LinkedIn, which is a web site dedicated to people providing work histories and connecting with others from past and current companies and within their industries. His LinkedIn profile is shown below (https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasatmer):

Assistant Environmental Scientist
Tetra Tech
May 2015 – Present (1 year 4 months)Boston, MA

Robbat Research Group
May 2013 – August 2014 (1 year 4 months)Barnum Hall, Tufts University

My work within the Robbat Research Group is largely gravimetric analysis but also gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The main purpose for our team is to develop cleaning solutions that are more environmentally benign than those conventionally used by households, industry, and public works.

Physics Grader
Tufts University
September 2013 – December 2013 (4 months)Medford, MA
Graded weekly problem sets for Physics 11 at Tufts University. The course covers introductory calculus-based Newtonian mechanics.

Nature Director
Camp Thoreau
June 2011 – August 2011 (3 months)Concord, MA
Instructed children aged five through thirteen in nature skills, crafts, and first aid. Supervised counselors and counselors-in-training.


Mr. Atmer has been employed by Tetra Tech for only just over a year. Prior to that he lists experience in the Robbat Research Group within his university (Tufts) “to develop cleaning solutions that are more environmentally benign than those conventionally used by households, industry, and public works”. It is unclear whether this work was done as a student or compensated professional.

His other prior work includes that of Physics Grader and Nature Director at a children’s camp in Concord, MA.

His Top Skills as affirmed by colleagues on the LinkedIn site are “Microsoft Excel”, “Laboratory Skills”, “Photography”, and “Photoshop”.

It is clear that Mr. Atmer is vastly under qualified to undertake a detailed analysis of cumulative impacts of a $1.2 billion pipeline project in the state with the highest population density in the nation, New Jersey. This section of the DEIS should be withdrawn and turned over to a qualified person with adequate experience to perform such an undertaking.

One would hope that such an individual would score “environmental science” higher than their Photoshop skills.

Published by

Mike Spille

I'm a thinker, an analyzer, a synthesizer. Maybe not in that order. I live in West Amwell NJ with my wife Kristina, our two kids Day and Z, our two dogs Fern and Cinna, and three cats Ponce de Leon, Oliver, and Doolittle.

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