“Any time you’re moving dirt you have to have somebody come in and assess it, whether that’s under a state or federal jurisdiction… because of the waters that are present,” says Ecobot co-founder and chief executive, Lee Lance. “It has been a pen and paper process since the Clean Water Act about two decades ago.”
Those assessments amount to a $10 billion industry in wetland environmental impact studies alone, according to Lance. There are actually very few ways to track how much is spent on these environmental assessments, according to a 2014 study from the Government Accountability Office, there’s little oversight or research into the environmental impact surveys or environmental assessments. However, cost estimates for the impact surveys range from $250,000 to $2 million.