senior environment and regulatory specialist, san joaquin valley business unit
Many people might be surprised to learn the land around Chevron’s oil fields in Central California is home to a vast collection of wildlife, some of it on lists of threatened or endangered species.
That’s where Kacy Twist comes in. As a Senior Environment and Regulatory Specialist for Chevron, Kacy’s job is to make sure operations are in lockstep with all the legal and regulatory protections for birds, reptiles, mammals and living creatures whose home Chevron shares.
“Every day, I field all kinds of questions regarding wildlife, natural resource issues, permitting, you name it,” she says. “We work in and around endangered species every day, and we have to avoid them, and I think we’ve done a good job.”
Kacy describes herself as a “local girl”.
“I’m a product of Bakersfield,” she says. “I was born and raised here, I went to college here, I went to work right out of school on the different power projects coming into the valley – solar and cogeneration and wind.”
Kacy started working on projects for Chevron almost two decades ago as a consultant, before joining as a full-time employee seven years ago. Since then, she’s worked on environmental compliance across the company’s operations and the entire lifespan of projects, from permitting new wells to decommissioning old ones. Her work can range from dealing with the arcane details of migratory bird laws to the regulatory complexities of property transfers.
Much of her love for the nature in the region – and in-depth knowledge – began while she studied biology at California State University, Bakersfield. That gave her direct contact with local researchers, including faculty members, connecting her with specialists she works with to this day.
“We have some of the best habitat anywhere in the southern San Joaquin Valley, and when I have time I drive around to look for some of our species this time of year, check on these areas that I spent so many years walking as a consultant,” she says. “It’s never boring.”
Kacy says her favorite part of her job is helping other scientists understand the degree of Chevron’s commitment to the environment and the enormous resources the company devotes to protecting wildlife on its land. Sometimes when she attends biology conferences and colleagues discover she works for Chevron, they’re skeptical – until they hear her story.
“People aren’t aware of everything we do,” she says. “We own a lot of really good land for species that’s very important for their survival, and we’re proud of how we protect them. So I’m happy to tell them what I do.”
In fact, after some of those discussions she winds up offering researchers the chance to use parts of these habitats for study – most recently to monitor the behavior of two pairs of endangered San Joaquin kit foxes.
“We have a lot of properties that don’t have operations, and I’ll tell researchers that if they’re looking for a place to work, give me a call,” she says. “It not only helps them, it helps me, too. I’m always looking for opportunities to add to the body of knowledge we have in the San Joaquin Valley.”