Thursday, October 13


4:00 – 7:00 p.m. | Registration

Open registration period.

4:00 – 6:00 p.m. | Environmental Law Section Executive Committee Meeting

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. | Opening Night Reception (RSVP Requested)

Welcome to the 31st Annual Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite® reception sponsored by Hinson Gravelle & Adair LLP. RSVP on the registration form.

7:30 – 10:00 p.m. | Law Student & First-Time Attendee Reception Followed By S’mores and Brown Beverage Afterparty

All are invited to a small reception welcoming law students and first-time conference attendees.  An afterparty with s’mores and brown beverages sponsored by Nixon Peabody LLP will immediately follow at the firepits at Tenaya. All are welcome to bring your own bottle, or just your smile, to welcome these students and first-time attendees to the conference.


Friday, October 14


7:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Registration

Open registration period.

7:00 – 7:50 a.m. | Early Morning Coffee

Start your day with a delightful cup of coffee sponsored by Best Best & Krieger Attorneys at Law, Environmental General Counsel PC and Hinson Gravelle & Adair LLP.

7:20 – 7:50 a.m. | Continental Breakfast Continental Breakfast (RSVP Requested)

RSVP for this complimentary breakfast on the registration form. Breakfast sponsored by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Mid-morning refreshment break sponsored by Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp, LLP, Mintz & ML Strategies and Paul Hastings LLP.

7:50 – 8:00 a.m. | Land Acknowledgment

An oral acknowledgment to recognize and respect the traditional land of the people who have called and still call this land home before and after the arrival of outside settlers.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. | Session 1: Federal Action on Environmental Justice: A Conversation with EPA’s Martha Guzman

0.75 Hour MCLE

Opening Remarks by Jessi Fierro, San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District and Oyango Snell, California Lawyers Association

Martha Guzman was sworn in as EPA Regional Administrator for the nation’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) on December 20, 2021. In this role she is leading EPA efforts to protect public health and the environment for the region spanning Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the U.S. Pacific Islands territories, and 148 Tribal Nations. Her focus is on advancing President Biden and Administrator Regan’s priorities in the areas of climate change, environmental justice and scientific integrity, and more broadly on achieving progress in making the air, land and water cleaner and safer for the residents of the Pacific Southwest. Notable in a region with a significant Hispanic/Latino population, Guzman is the first Latina to serve as Regional Administrator.

Martha Guzman
Martha Guzman

Martha Guzman came to this EPA position after having served as a Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for the previous five years. Her portfolio included fiscal oversight of utilities, broadband for all, water affordability, access to clean energy programs for disadvantaged communities, and prevention of disconnections of basic utilities. She spearheaded the Interagency Solar Consumer Protection Taskforce, the Tribal Land Policy, and Covid Arrears Response. She also represented the CPUC on the California Broadband Council and the Lithium Valley Commission.

Prior to joining the CPUC Guzman served as Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary in the Office of the Governor of California, where she worked on the legislative passage of the Human Right to Water and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, reorganized the Safe Drinking Water Program, and advanced climate goals related to short-lived climate pollutants and renewable energy legislation. Earlier in her career, she was Sustainable Communities program director for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. She also worked for Swanton Berry Farm on human resource issues, and before that, she was the legislative coordinator for United Farm Workers.

Guzman earned a Master of Science degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis, and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Georgetown University.

9:15 – 10:45 a.m. | Session 2 – 5 (Concurrent Sessions)

Session 2: Permitting the Future of Renewable Energy

1.5 Hours MCLE

To meet California’s short- and long-term clean energy transition goals, the state must permit and build renewable power, upgrade transmission lines, and do much more. However, under current law, California’s environmental review and permitting requirements can at times pose significant challenges for these kinds of projects. This panel would examine the current areas of conflict between the renewable energy and the planning and permitting spheres and identify areas and opportunities for change and improvement. The panelists will seek to answer the questions of how and where we can accelerate development of clean energy, how to address equity issues and incorporate feasible mitigation measures to redress potential adverse impacts associated with new projects, and what kinds of political interventions or legal reforms to permitting and environmental review regimes might present solutions to these problems.

Moderator:
Jon Welner, Partner, Mintz & ML Strategies

Panelists:
Hope Schmeltzer, Partner, Monchamp Meldrum LLP 
Karen Mouritsen, California State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Kourtney Vaccaro, Commissioner, California Energy Commission

Session 3: What is Environmental Justice? (or How to Be an Anti-racist Environmentalist) – Part 1 of 3

1.5 Hours MCLE, including the Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession

This interactive panel will explore the real-world challenges of fighting environmental racism and decolonizing environmental decision-making.  Our panel of experienced practitioners will move our discussion beyond theoretical rhetoric, focusing on what “justice” really means in the environmental context and some pathways for achieving it.  We will examine such topics as how racism, colonialism, and cultural bias continue to affect environmental policy and practices and infect our relationships with Nature; where progress has been made and where we seem to be treading water; and how to build meaningful partnerships with impacted communities, including ecosystems and non-humans.

Moderator:
Suma Peesapati, Environmental Justice & Community Engagement Office, Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Panelists: 
Deborah Sanchez, Board Member, Seventh Generation Fund and LA Superior Court Judge  
mark! Lopez, Eastside Community Organizer & Special Projects Coordinator, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice  
Susana De Anda, Co-Executive Director & Co-Founder, Community Water Center  

Session 4: Modernizing California Water Rights Law

1.5 Hours MCLE

Taking inspiration from a 1978 report by the Governor’s Commission to Review California Water Rights Law, in February 2022, a group of seven water law and policy experts published their recommendations on how California’s water laws can be updated to address the impacts of drought and climate change. This panel will discuss key recommendations regarding environmental justice, water temperature to keep fish in good condition, water quality control planning, and proposed updates to California’s statutory adjudication and surface water rights verification processes. The need for increased state agency funding and jurisdictional authority will also be discussed, along with potential roadblocks and stakeholder opposition to the various recommendations.

Moderator:
Ellen Hanak, Vice President and Director of the Water Policy Center and Senior Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Water Policy Center, Chair in Water Policy

Panelists:
Clifford T. Lee, former Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice
Eileen Sobeck, Executive Director State Water Resources Control Board
Cindy Tuck, Deputy Executive Director, Government Relations, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

Session 5: Land Back: Action and Collaboration to Facilitate the Return of California’s Indigenous Lands to Indigenous Communities

1.5 Hours MCLE

There are over 180 Indigenous communities in California; more than any other state in the nation. From their first contact with European colonial settlers, California’s Indigenous people were dispossessed of their land, with title largely held by non-Indigenous private parties, nonprofit organizations and public agencies. However, Indigenous people do not just have historic ties to California, but live in the present and have a bold future. Increasingly, current title holders are recognizing Indigenous land rights, and the environmental and cultural values that Indigenous land management and traditional ecological knowledge provide. Termed “Land Back” this effort deploys both time-tested and innovative legal tools to facilitate the return California’s Indigenous land to California’s Indigenous communities. This panel will discuss Land Back tools, policies and funding proposals, and present recent case studies demonstrating these ideas in action.

Moderator:
Antonette Cordero (Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation), Clinical Supervising Attorney Environmental Law Clinic, U.C. Berkeley School of Law

Panelists:
Christina Snider, (Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians), Secretary, Governor’s Office of Tribal Affairs
Geneva E.B. Thompson, Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs, California Natural Resources Agency
Kenneth Holbrook (Atsugewi Band of the Pit River Tribe and Maidu Tribe of Northern California), Tribal Advisor, California Public Utilities Commission
Aimee Crawford, Director, Land Management, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. 

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Session 6 – 9 (Concurrent Sessions)

Session 6: Legislative Update

1.5 Hours MCLE

The California Legislature continues to pass groundbreaking environmental laws, which are often adopted nationally and internationally. During the 2022 legislative session, the Governor signed a number of new environmental, natural resources, CEQA, and land use laws. This panel will be a roundtable discussion to update practitioners on the new statutory developments impacting their practice areas. Join our panel of seasoned legislative staffers for a timely discussion of newly enacted legislation, with a special focus on legislative accomplishments and trends for the future.

Moderator:
Gary Lucks, Partner, Bay Law Group LLP     

Panelists: 
Kip Lipper, Chief Policy Advisor on Energy and Environment, Senate pro Tempore  
Katharine Moore, Senior Consultant to the California State Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee  
Genevieve Wong, Principal Consultant to the California State Senate Environmental Quality Committee  

Session 7: How California’s Ports Can Be Good Environmental Neighbors While Helping Resolve the Global Supply Chain Crisis

1.5 Hours MCLE

California’s ports play a critical role in the national economy, handling approximately 38% of all containerized imports and 28% of all exports for the country.  And while these ports generate over 3.1 million jobs, air emissions in and around these economic powerhouses can concentrate environmental impacts in neighboring communities.   Local ports have adopted enterprising programs to reduce emissions and improve air quality, including the Port of San Diego’s Maritime Clean Air Strategy, the Port of Oakland’s 2020 and Beyond Plan, and the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach Clean Air Action Plan.  Yet there are legal limits to what California ports can do to regulate emissions and improve air quality.  Ports are also subject to regulation by other agencies.  One of the newest proposed regulations is an “indirect source rule” from the South Coast Air Quality Management District that would cover the mammoth Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach complex. This panel will provide an overview of air quality laws that apply to California ports and a preview of potential regulatory and non-regulatory solutions.  It will also delve into how to balance resolving the ongoing supply chain crisis with ensuring environmental justice for all.

Moderator:
Leah Goldberg, Former Deputy Port Attorney, Port of Oakland

Panelists:
Simon Kann, Assistant General Counsel, Port of San Diego  
Christopher Cannon, Director of Environmental Management and Chief Sustainability Officer, Port of Los Angeles  
Heather Arias, Division Chief, Transportation and Toxics Division, California Air Resources Board   

Session 8: A Hot Topic! Extreme Heat in the San Joaquin Valley

1.5 Hours MCLE

Rural California faces unique challenges; the socioeconomic and environmental conditions of the San Joaquin Valley are among the most precarious in California, with more than 55% of its population living in disadvantaged communities. Extreme heat exacerbates problems such as drinking water security, chronic air pollution, and rocketing living costs. Agriculture, the main economic activity in the San Joaquin Valley, is threatened by extreme heat but also presents opportunities to mitigate climate change. Small farmers, farmworkers, tribal members, and poorer residents are among the most impacted by climate extremes, in part because of their limited resources to build the needed resilience. Government is trying to spur action; is it enough or is it simply too late?

Moderator:
Jessi Fierro, Director of Air Quality Planning, San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District  

Panelists:
Dr. Angel Santiago Fernandez-Bou, Researcher, University of California, Merced  
Amanda Hansen, Deputy Secretary for Climate Change, California Natural Resources Agency
Steven Cardoza, Cardoza & Cardoza Farming Co.
Honorable Ron W. Goode, Tribal Chairman of the North Fork Mono Tribe

Session 9: California Cannabis Enforcement: An Overview of Current Enforcement Efforts

1.5 Hours MCLE

Enforcement of California’s Cannabis Laws is important to support a thriving legal commercial cannabis market.  The panel will discuss cannabis enforcement from inspections and investigations through prosecution.  The panel will address the current law enforcement efforts aimed at bringing the cannabis industry into compliance, identifying and prosecuting illicit activity along the commercial chain, and preventing and mitigating environmental impacts.

Moderator:
Stacey Roberts, Deputy Attorney General, CA Department of Justice – Office of the Attorney General, Natural Resources Law Section

Panelists: 
Kevin McInerney, Detective Sergeant, CA Department of Cannabis Control
Andrew Halverson, Captain, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife Cannabis Enforcement Program
Kelly McDaniel, Deputy District Attorney, San Joaquin County 

Beginning at 1:00 p.m. (times vary) | Friday Afternoon Activities Led by Environmental Law Section Members

(Sign-Up information will be sent to all registered attendees prior to the Conference.)

Conference attendees and their guests may choose to participate in offsite activities. Options include a fly-fishing trip and hikes of varying difficulty.

Space is limited. Conference registrants will be notified about how they can sign-up in advance for activities.
Additional Information will be available at the Section’s Executive Committee table at the Tenaya Lodge.

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. | Wild & Scenic Film Festival Cubs’ Show (films appropriate for children)

A selection of the best movies from this year’s Festival will be shown. Enjoy treats and refreshments sponsored by The Law Office of Jennifer F. Novak.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started in 2003 by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), a watershed advocacy group based in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. SYRCL is a grassroots organization based in Nevada City, California, that has been building a community to protect and restore the rivers of the regional watershed, from source to sea, since 1983.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival puts the group’s local work into the broader environmental and social context and serves to remind people that they all are participants in a global movement for a more wild and scenic world. Considered one of the nation’s premier environmental and adventure film festivals, this year’s films combine stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling to inform, inspire and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for the next generation. Festival-goers can expect award-winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, agriculture and more. After the January festival, Wild & Scenic goes on tour around the country, spreading the messages in the films at more than 200 events hosted by other organizations that use the festival as a platform to inspire activism in their own communities.

We thank the Festival and its partners—Peak Design, Earthjustice, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, MiiR, and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios—for bringing the event to the Conference for the fourth time!

7:00 – 9:00 p.m. | Wild & Scenic Film Festival Bears’ Show (films may include adult language)

A selection of the best movies from this year’s Festival will be shown. 

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started in 2003 by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), a watershed advocacy group based in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. SYRCL is a grassroots organization based in Nevada City, California, that has been building a community to protect and restore the rivers of the regional watershed, from source to sea, since 1983.

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival puts the group’s local work into the broader environmental and social context and serves to remind people that they all are participants in a global movement for a more wild and scenic world. Considered one of the nation’s premier environmental and adventure film festivals, this year’s films combine stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling to inform, inspire and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for the next generation. Festival-goers can expect award-winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, agriculture and more. After the January festival, Wild & Scenic goes on tour around the country, spreading the messages in the films at more than 200 events hosted by other organizations that use the festival as a platform to inspire activism in their own communities.

We thank the Festival and its partners—Peak Design, Earthjustice, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, MiiR, and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios—for bringing the event to the Conference for the fourth time!


Saturday, October 15


7:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Registration

Open registration period.

7:00 – 8:00 a.m. | Early Morning Coffee

Start your day with a delightful cup of coffee sponsored by Best Best & Krieger Attorneys at Law, Environmental General Counsel PC and Hinson Gravelle & Adair LLP.

7:30 – 8:00 a.m. | Continental Breakfast (RSVP Requested)

RSVP for this complimentary breakfast on the registration form. Breakfast sponsored by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Mid-morning refreshment break sponsored by Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp, LLP, Mintz & ML Strategies, Remy Moose Manley and Paul Hastings LLP.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. | Session 10: Saturday General Session: Clean Water Act at 50

It has been 50 years since the enactment of the federal Clean Water Act. There has been much progress, for example, in controlling municipal and industrial point source discharges, but many issues remain unresolved. This plenary panel discussion will offer a retrospective as well as discussion surrounding future and emerging issues and opportunities for further progress.

Moderator:
Ronald B. Robie, Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal

Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, 1986-2002; Presiding Judge, 1994-1995; Judge of the Municipal Court, Sacramento Judicial District, 1983-1986;  Co-Convener, “Dividing the Waters,” a project for water judges, masters and referees 2004-present; Member, Board of Directors, Water Education Foundation, 2006-present;  Adjunct Professor, (Water Law, Environmental Law) Pacific/McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, 1970-2013; Chair, Environmental Law Section, Sacramento County Bar, 2001-2002; Co-author, California Civil Practice, Environmental Litigation (Thomson West) 1993-2023; Director, California Department of Water Resources, 1975-1983; Member and Vice Chair, State Water Resources Control Board, 1969-1975; Committee Consultant, Assembly Water Committee, California Legislature, 1960-1969; Member, California Commission on Access to Justice, 2005-2014, Chair 2010-2014; Member, Board of Directors, National Center for State Courts, 2005-2011; Chair, Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions, 2010-present; Graduate,  University of California, Berkeley, AB, 1958; MJ, 1960; University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, JD, 1967. Member of American Bar Association.

Ronald B. Robie

Panelists:

E. Joaquin Esquivel, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board

E. Joaquin Esquivel was appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board by Governor Jerry Brown in March 2017, designated by Governor Gavin Newsom as Chair in February 2019, and reappointed to the board by Governor Newsom in 2021. Previously, he served as Assistant Secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency in the Governor’s Washington, D.C. office.

For more than eight years prior to that, Joaquin worked for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, most recently as her legislative assistant covering the agriculture, native american, water, oceans, and nutrition portfolios, in addition to being the director of Information and Technology.

He was born and raised in California’s Coachella Valley. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara in English.

E. Joaquin Esquivel

Felicia Marcus, Landreth Visiting Fellow, Stanford University’s Water in the West Program

Felicia Marcus is an attorney who has served in leadership and management positions in the government and non-profit sectors. She is currently the Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Water in the West Program and is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Felicia was most recently Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board after having served as Regional Administrator of the U.S. EPA Region IX and as head of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works in addition to senior leadership in national non-governmental organizations (NRDC and TPL).  She has experience as a private and public interest sector attorney and has worked on issues across the West spanning water supply, water rights, and water quality in addition to experience in other sectors like energy, toxics, and land use. She is also a member of the Water Policy Group, an international network of former and current high level water officials dedicated to assisting developing nations and is also one of the three US members of the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation in addition to serving of many boards and advisory committees.

Felicia Marcus

9:15 – 10:45 a.m. | Session 11 – 14 (Concurrent Sessions)

Session 11: Recent Environmental Law Developments in SCOTUS, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the California Supreme Court

1.5 Hours MCLE

The past year has been a busy and consequential one for environmental law decisions from our highest courts. Join this panel of environmental law scholars and practitioners for a lively discussion of the most important environmental decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and California Supreme Court. This panel will also preview the key environmental law cases currently pending before all three courts. A particular focus of this panel will be a detailed discussion of the decision in and consequences of the Supreme Court’s climate change decision in West Virginia v. USEPA—the most momentous environmental law ruling in the past 15 years.

Moderator:
Richard Frank, Professor of Environmental Practice and Director of the California Environmental Law & Policy Center at UC Davis School of Law     

Panelists: 
Rachael Salcido, Professor of Law, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law  
Holly Doremus, Professor of Environmental Regulation and Co-Director, Law of the Sea Institute, UC Berkeley Law  
Kevin Poloncarz, Partner, Covington & Burling LLP   

Session 12: The State of Housing in California

1.5 Hours MCLE

This panel will discuss the numerous housing bills recently passed by the State legislature and address their relationship with California’s efforts to protect the environment, manage wildfire risk, and limit greenhouse gas emissions. The panel will cover the basics of the Housing Accountability Act, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, Senate Bill 9 (2021), Senate Bill 10 (2021), and their intersection with CEQA.

Moderator: 
Jill Jones, Senior Counsel, Loeb & Loeb

Panelists:
Heather Riley, Partner, Allen Matkins
Christopher S. Elmendorf, Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law
Starr Coleman, Los Angeles County Counsel

Session 13: Restoring Beneficial Fire in California

1.5 Hours MCLE

This panel will explore the complex set of scientific, policy and legal issues associated with restoring ecologically sound and culturally appropriate fire regimes in California.  It will address the science of fire in California, and the ways our ecosystems have responded to decades of fire exclusion and climate change. We will also hear from a cultural fire practitioner about Indigenous knowledge and efforts to engage and support expanded Indigenous stewardship. Finally, we will cover the challenges and new ideas to expand the use of beneficial fire on public, private, and tribal lands, including liability, insurance, the regulatory environment, agency culture, and workforce issues. This panel will be paired with an afternoon field trip to see prescribed burning sites in Yosemite National Park.

Moderator:
Sara A. Clark, Partner, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP

Panelists:
Craig Thomas, Director, Fire Restoration Group
Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Fire Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension
Don Hankins, Professor of Geography and Planning, California State University, Chico

Session 14: All-Electric Buildings: The Latest on California’s Efforts to Phase Out Natural Gas

1.5 Hours MCLE

Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for over twenty percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, in large part due to appliances that run on natural gas, such as stovetops, furnaces, and water heaters. What are California’s state and local governments doing to phase out these appliances and related public infrastructure in favor of electric alternatives, like heat pumps and induction-range cooktops? How will all-electric buildings affect grid service and reliability, as well as the economics for ratepayers, particularly low-income ones?

Moderator:
Ethan Elkind, Director of the Climate Program, UC Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE)

Panelists:
Andrew McAllister, Commissioner, California Energy Commission
Simi George, Advisor to Commissioner Rechtschaffen, California Public Utilities Commission
Abigail Solis, Central California Regional Director of External Affairs, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Session 15 – 18 (Concurrent Sessions)

Session 15: CEQA Update

1.5 Hours MCLE

This panel of CEQA practitioners representing petitioners, state agencies, and real parties in interest will present the annual update on the latest CEQA developments and discuss in detail key CEQA cases from the past year, summarizing the published cases, outlining trends, and providing a brief update on recent legislation.

Moderator: 
Jeannie Lee, AICP, Chief Counsel, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

Panelists:
Sabrina Teller, Senior Partner, Remy Moose Manley, LLP  
Richard Drury, Partner, Lozeau | Drury LLP
Gwynne Hunter, Deputy Attorney General, California Attorney General’s Office

Session 16: The EJ Toolkit (State & Federal EJ Policies and Initiatives) – Part 2 of 3

1.5 Hours MCLE, including the Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession

This panel dives into emerging environmental tools intended to advance environmental justice, from the technical, such as those that map and assess pollution impacts to communities (e.g., CalEnviroScreen, EJScreen), to the policies, CEQA implementation, permitting rules and enforcement initiatives of state and federal government agencies. The panel will address how the regulated community is responding, implications to future and ongoing litigation, and reflect on whether these collective efforts are meeting community needs.

Moderator:
Michael Leslie, Partner, King & Spalding LLP

Panelists: 
Megan Nishikawa, Partner, King & Spalding LLP
Eddie Ahn, Executive Director, Brightline Defense
Daniela Simunovic, Senior Advisor, California Air Resources Board 

Session 17: A CERCLA Case Study on the Interface Between Law and Environmental Justice at the Exide Site and its Nearby Neighborhoods

1.5 Hours MCLE

A detailed discussion of the former Exide Technologies lead-acid battery recycling facility in Vernon, California, and the state of California’s efforts to remediate and hold allegedly responsible parties to account through regulatory proceedings and trial. The panel will present on novel legal issues being litigated at the Exide site and analyze best practices for community engagement to address disproportionate environmental and health impacts in disadvantaged communities. Panelists include lawyers representing the State of California, an allegedly responsible party, and community organizers working to clean up the residential areas that are near the Exide Site.

Moderator:
John Carter, Senior Deputy General Counsel, San Diego Unified Port District

Panelists: 
James Andrew, Assistant Chief Counsel, CA Department of Toxic Substances Control
Idalmis Vaquero, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Communities for a Better Environment
Alan N. Bick, Co-Managing Partner, Bick Law LLP

Session 18: Where is the Money for Zero Emission Transportation? Is Money Enough?  A 2022 Roadmap for California’s Transition to Zero Emission Transportation

1.5 Hours MCLE

California’s transition of its transportation sector to zero emissions will require significant investment, public/private collaboration, and potentially even regulatory changes. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed by Congress in 2021 allocates billions to modernize transit and build out a national network of EV chargers. In January 2022, Governor Newsom outlined a $10 billion zero-emission vehicle package to augment existing incentives, such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program, to fight climate change. Funding is only one part of the equation.  The buildout of infrastructure to accomplish California’s ZEV targets is likely to get caught up in the existing regulatory approval process.  This panel will discuss how the private sector can tap this unprecedented expenditure of public funds to help government accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles.  It will also discuss the regulatory roadblocks that may delay progress, and potential solutions for those roadblocks.

Moderator:
Julie Cress, Special Counsel, Baker Botts L.L.P.

Panelists:
Kameale C. Terry, CEO, ChargerHelp
Hannon Rasool, Deputy Director of Fuels and Transportation Division, California Energy Commission
Analisa Bevan, Zero Emission Infrastructure Specialist, California Air Resources Board
Raef Porter, Transportation and Climate Change Program Manager, Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District

1:00 – 5:00 p.m. (times vary) | Saturday Afternoon Outdoor Presentations

(Sign-Up information will be sent to all registered attendees prior to the Conference.)

Conference attendees and their guests may choose to join in the following educational outdoor programs. Persons who have registered for the Conference will be notified how they can register in advance for these unique and informative presentations.

Space is limited. If spots are available, we will have on-site registration for additional participants and a waiting list. Information will be available at the Section’s Executive Committee table at the Tenaya Lodge. Some presentations may involve a short hike, and some programs may not be appropriate for children.

Black Oaks
The California Black Oaks Tribal Stewardship Project seeks to bring tribal knowledge and techniques back to oak woodland management, including establishing conditions for annual low-intensity burns. Learn about traditional ecological knowledge and how it is being employed in this project in Yosemite.

Moderator:
Andrea Ruiz-Esquide, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office

Speaker:
Irene Vasquez, Cultural Ecologist, Yosemite National Park

Geology Hike
Come learn the basics about the geologic story of Yosemite National Park, one of the earth’s most magnificent landscapes, including the roles of plate tectonics, granitic rocks and glaciation.

Speakers:
Andrew Lojo, P.G., Terraphase Engineering
Chris Alger, PG CHG, CEG, Terraphase Engineering
Darren Croteau, PG, Terraphase Engineering

Mindfulness and Competence in Legal Practice

1 Hour MCLE Competence Issues

This presentation qualifies for 1.0 Hour MCLE Competence Issues (formerly known as Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Substance Abuse or Mental Illness). Attendees seeking MCLE credit must sign a MCLE Sheet at the start of the presentation.

People that are drawn to the legal profession are also people that are prone to stress and self-destructive behaviors. Learning to manage stress can help with managing the tendency to turn to self-destructive behaviors in times of difficulty. This mindfulness session will cover some fundamental reasons that we become stressed, the basics of various meditations and techniques for mindfulness. We will also have a meditation session in a lovely outdoor setting.

Moderator:
Paul Hagen, North Coast Environmental Law Office

Speaker:
Joy McMurtry, Assistant Public Defender, Monterey County

High Intensity Fires in Sequoia Groves
Wildfires in California in the past two years killed thousands of mature giant sequoias, accounting for nearly twenty percent of the global population of these majestic trees. Sequoias have evolved to survive in fires, and reseed in response. But the increased intensity of fires may overcome this adaption. Learn about the science and emerging management issues, including issues concerning environmental compliance, litigation, and proposed legislation.

Moderator:
William Westerfield, Meyers Nave

Speaker:
Christy Brigham, Chief – Resources Management & Science, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

5:30 – 6:15 p.m. | Fireside Chat with Jan Chatten-Brown, Recipient of the 2022 Environmental Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award

Join us for an informal talk with Jan Chatten-Brown, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient. Hear a firsthand account of her stellar career and contributions to environmental law. Facilitated by Jim Arnone, Latham & Watkins LLP and Alisha Winterswyk, Best Best & Krieger LLP.

Environmental Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award

The Environmental Law Section is honored to present its ninth annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Jan Chatten-Brown.

In her over 50 years of practice, Jan has made important contributions to California’s environmental jurisprudence and has been recognized as one of the top environmental litigators in the State.  After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1971, Jan spent 21 years of her practice working in various public law offices.  While in the Environmental Unit of the Attorney General’s office, Jan argued the No Oil, Inc. case, as amicus, before the California Supreme Court.  She then organized the first environmental prosecution program in the country for the Los Angeles City Attorney, and subsequently the first occupational safety and health program for the Los Angeles District Attorney. 

In 1995, Jan opened her own public interest oriented environmental law practice, now called Chatten-Brown Carstens & Minteer LLP, where she litigated cases enforcing important public rights.  She successfully argued before the Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court, including the important California Environmental Quality Act decision, Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood, which involved the timing of environmental review.  She was also part of the team that litigated the Newhall Ranch case, which was the first California Supreme Court case addressing climate issues under CEQA. Two of her cases led to the creation of two state parks in disadvantaged communities. While most of Jan’s litigation has been under CEQA, Jan also litigated under NEPA to help stop a freeway expansion through South Pasadena and the El Sereno in Los Angeles. 

Jan Chatten-Brown

For the last ten years of her practice, Jan focused on climate issues. Capping off her career, Jan successfully challenged the San Diego County Climate Action Plan, which resulted in three Court of Appeal victories and helped stop urban sprawl.  Jan retired this year, but is continuing her work on climate as a local activist.

Jan has been widely recognized as a champion of local communities, a generous mentor, and a collegial adversary. The Environmental Law Section is proud to recognize Jan for her lifetime of achievements in environmental law.

6:15 – 7:00 p.m. | Saturday Evening Reception (RSVP Requested)

Join us as we gather before dinner for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The reception is sponsored by Burke, Williams & Sorensen LLP. RSVP on the registration form.

7:00 – 9:00 p.m. | Saturday Night Dinner Program – Ticketed Event

Dinner is sponsored by DLA Piper LLP, Edgcomb Law Group LLP, Hanson Bridgett, Langan, SCS Engineers and Terraphase Engineering Inc. Wine provided courtesy of Wilson Vineyards/Bogle Vineyards.

Dr. Trouet will provide an introduction to dendrochronology, or “tree ring science,” and provide insights on how it informs California’s drought and fire history, as well as human history more broadly.

Environmental Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award

The Environmental Law Section is honored to present its ninth annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Jan Chatten-Brown.

In her over 50 years of practice, Jan has made important contributions to California’s environmental jurisprudence and has been recognized as one of the top environmental litigators in the State.  After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1971, Jan spent 21 years of her practice working in various public law offices.  While in the Environmental Unit of the Attorney General’s office, Jan argued the No Oil, Inc. case, as amicus, before the California Supreme Court.  She then organized the first environmental prosecution program in the country for the Los Angeles City Attorney, and subsequently the first occupational safety and health program for the Los Angeles District Attorney. 

In 1995, Jan opened her own public interest oriented environmental law practice, now called Chatten-Brown Carstens & Minteer LLP, where she litigated cases enforcing important public rights.  She successfully argued before the Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court, including the important California Environmental Quality Act decision, Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood, which involved the timing of environmental review.  She was also part of the team that litigated the Newhall Ranch case, which was the first California Supreme Court case addressing climate issues under CEQA. Two of her cases led to the creation of two state parks in disadvantaged communities. While most of Jan’s litigation has been under CEQA, Jan also litigated under NEPA to help stop a freeway expansion through South Pasadena and the El Sereno in Los Angeles. 

Jan Chatten-Brown

For the last ten years of her practice, Jan focused on climate issues. Capping off her career, Jan successfully challenged the San Diego County Climate Action Plan, which resulted in three Court of Appeal victories and helped stop urban sprawl.  Jan retired this year, but is continuing her work on climate as a local activist.

Jan has been widely recognized as a champion of local communities, a generous mentor, and a collegial adversary. The Environmental Law Section is proud to recognize Jan for her lifetime of achievements in environmental law.

Keynote Presentation

Dr. Valerie Trouet, Paleoclimate Scientist, Tree Ring Researcher, and Author 

Dr. Valerie Trouet is a paleoclimate scientist, a writer, and a speaker. As a Professor in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona, Dr. Trouet uses the rings in trees to study the climate over the past ~2,000 years and how it has influenced ecosystems and human systems. She wrote an award-winning, broad audience book, Tree Story (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020) about dendrochronology, her research field, and her personal research experiences. Dr. Trouet was born and raised in Belgium, where she received her PhD in Bioscience Engineering at the KULeuven in 2004. She has worked at PennState University and in Switzerland before moving to Tucson, AZ in 2011. Dr. Trouet has used tree rings to study hurricanes, snowpack, wildfire, and the jet stream. She has studied the influence of climate on historical events, such as the Fall of Rome, the Ottoman Crisis, and the Golden Age of Piracy. Dr. Trouet’s research has brought her to sub-Saharan Africa, Siberia, the Californian Sierra Nevada, and the Balkans, where she was part of a team that found the oldest-known (1,075 years!) living tree in Europe. She has published more than 90 scientific papers, and she is a University of Arizona Distinguished Scholar and a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Valerie Trouet
9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. | Saturday Night Dessert Party (RSVP Requested)

Delicious delicacies complete the evening. Enjoy dessert, hosted libations, and dancing at the Annual Dessert Party. RSVP on the registration form.


Sunday, October 16


7:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Registration

Open registration period.

7:00 – 8:00 a.m. | Early Morning Coffee

Start your day with a delightful cup of coffee sponsored by Best Best & Krieger Attorneys at Law and Environmental General Counsel PC.

7:30 – 8:00 a.m. | Continental Breakfast (RSVP Requested)

RSVP for this complimentary breakfast on the registration form. Breakfast sponsored by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Mid-morning refreshment break sponsored by Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp, LLP, Mintz & ML Strategies and Paul Hastings LLP.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. | Session 19: Sunday General Session: Lawyering to Make a Difference

0.75 Hour MCLE, including Legal Ethics credit

In this panel, you will learn how more of America’s 1.3 million lawyers can and should create a more sustainable society in their practice of law.  This includes lawyers 1) helping clients integrate environmental and social considerations and goals into their decisions, 2) recognizing and acting on their legal ethical responsibilities, and 3) exercising systems leadership regardless of position in their law job or community.  Lawyers Matt Bogoshian, John Dernbach, and Irma Russell will present a call to action based on one of the most important ideas to emerge from the 20th century–sustainable development.  

Matt Bogoshian leads the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative (AMCC), a successor organization to the Obama Administration’s IMCP initiative he helped to lead as Senior Policy Counsel at the U.S. EPA. The work of IMCP and AMCC became a model for the Tech Hub program within recently enacted United States law, the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.  His range of law experience includes time as a business litigator and general counsel, policy official at the California EPA, consumer and environmental prosecutor, and U.S. Navy JAG Corps Officer. His past work includes co-founding the Fourth Sector Group, service on educational and affordable housing boards, writing, podcasting, and teaching environmental law enforcement at Georgetown University Law Center and sustainability law at King Hall, University of California, Davis Law School where he also serves on the board of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center. He is the co-author with John Dernbach and Irma Russell of the 2022 book published by the American Bar Association, Sustainability Essentials: Lawyering to Make a Difference.

Matt Bogoshian

Irma Russell is the Edward A. Smith / Missouri Chair at the UMKC School of Law. before joining the faculty at UMKC, she served as Dean of the Montana School of Law.  Additionally, she has served as Professor of Law at the at the University of Tulsa College of Law, as Director of the National Energy-Environment Policy Institute at the Tulsa College of Law, and as a visiting professor at Pace Law School and Lewis and Clark School of Law. She was chair of the ABA Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources.  Additionally, she has chaired the following AALS Sections: Professional Responsibility, Natural Resources & Energy, and Socio-economics.  She has served on the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism and the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Russell has been teaching law since 1988.  In practice, she represented potentially responsible parties, government entities, and lenders on matters arising under the National Environmental Policy Act, CERCLA, and other state and federal law.  She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Irma Russell

John C. Dernbach is Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability at Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is director of the School’s Environmental Law and Sustainability Center. Professor Dernbach has made influential contributions to sustainable development, climate change law, and environmental law. He is the principal author, editor, or co-editor of four books assessing and making recommendations on U.S. progress toward sustainability; the latest is Governing for Sustainability (forthcoming 2022; co-edited with Scott Schang). He is coauthor, with Matt Bogoshian and Irma Russell, of Sustainability Essentials: Lawyering to Make a Difference (American Bar Association 2022).  He is also co-editor, with Michael Gerrard, of Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (2019), a comprehensive analysis and description of more than 1,000 legal tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Professor Dernbach coauthored a successful amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 18 prominent climate scientists in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. His scholarship and advocacy were cited extensively in landmark Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2017 that reinvigorated the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution. Prior to joining the Widener faculty, he drafted four major waste and mining laws at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (now the Department of Environmental Protection).

John C. Dernbach
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. | Book Signing with Dinner Speaker Dr. Valerie Trouet
9:15 – 10:45 a.m. | Session 20 – 23 (Concurrent Sessions)

Session 20: Colorado River at the Crossroads

1.5 Hours MCLE

A century after seven states signed the 1922 Colorado River Compact, linchpin of the “Law of the River,” the river faces dangerous currents. Even with a drought plan adopted three years ago, water at Lake Mead dropped so low that the U.S. in 2021 declared its first Level 1 shortage. Amid struggles with an epic drought and a climate emergency, this overallocated river system also has yet to fully account for rights of its earliest continuing users, Native American tribes. Fusing law, science, and policy, panelists will discuss some of the more recent initiatives, including the Drought Contingency Plan, the “500+” plan, and other Colorado River strategies involving the federal government, and states, agencies, and tribes.

Moderator: 
TBD

Panelists:
Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary, Department of Interior
Brenda Burman, Executive Strategy Advisor, Central Arizona Project
Chris Harris, Executive Director, Colorado River Board
Margaret Vick, Water Counsel, Colorado River Indian Tribes

Session 21: The Environmental Justice Roundtable – Part 3 of 3

1.5 Hours MCLE, including the Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession

This roundtable discussion will serve as the capstone of environmental justice-oriented series of panels beginning on the first two days of the Conference. A moderator will facilitate a conversation around ongoing and emerging environmental justice issues, initiated by three panelists who will each share reflections on their practice. The roundtable is expected to highlight topic areas such as a just transition to a sustainable economy and compliance with state law Housing Element and Environmental Justice Element requirements, and to guide speakers and participants through a meaningful conversation about the application of environmental justice principles to real-world case studies and policy debates.

Moderator:
Ashley Werner, Directing Attorney, Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability

Panelists: 
Jennifer Ganata, Senior Staff Attorney, Communities for a Better Environment
Amee Raval, Policy & Research Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Ingrid Brostrom, Assistant Director, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

Session 22: Coastal Treasure: Protecting the Shoreline Public Trust

1.5 Hours MCLE

There is a coastal squeeze resulting from sea level rise and fixed coastal development. If the shoreline is often not able to migrate inland in the face of sea level rise, this could delete public beach resources, such as the sandy beach. It’s time to take a look at how we must manage our coastal public trust resources for the decades and generations to come.  This panel will examine how we can proactively manage coastal access and resources, including by taking a “zone of concern” approach to public trust tidelands.

Moderator:
Marisa Choy, Attorney, Southern California Edison

Panelists: 
Charles Lester, Director, UC Santa Barbara Ocean and Coastal Policy Center
Christi Hogin, Attorney, Best Best & Krieger
Erin Chalmers, Senior Attorney, California Coastal Commission

Session 23: Litigating Wildfire Liability Claims – Bucket Brigades of Lawyers and Litigation

1.5 Hours MCLE

Following the ever-growing conflagration of fires and lawsuits in California, this panel will explore strategies and approaches useful in developing the investigation of the origin and cause of a wildfire.  In addition to issues surrounding the retention and function of subject-matter experts and evidence needed to prove liability, the panelists will examine impacts to cases caused by government agency confidentiality, the conflicts that arise between public and private investigations, and the intersection of criminal charges with civil causes of action.  Panelists will also discuss circumstances and challenges unique to private plaintiffs and utilities such as insurance or subrogation issues, the role of inverse condemnation in certain situations, utility compliance with regulations and modifications of facilities in light of changing climate, and will explore the Wildfire Fund under AB 1054 and impacts in California.

Moderator:
Annadel Almendras, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General,

Panelists:
Brian A. Cardoza, Lead Claims Trial Counsel, Senior Attorney, Southern California Edison Company
Matthew Cheever, Chief Deputy District Attorney, County of Sonoma
Amanda Riddle, Partner, Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle LLP

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Session 24 – 27 (Concurrent Sessions)

Session 24: CEQA Litigation Panel/Roundtable

1.5 Hours MCLE

Led by experienced CEQA litigators from both sides of the “v.”, this roundtable/panel hybrid will first explain the rules and intricacies of advanced CEQA litigation topics and, then, delve into the “grey area” with assistance from attendees. This unique format will provide an opportunity for newer attorneys to learn from more-seasoned practitioners, and for more-experienced practitioners to learn from their peers and share wisdom. Come hear what the best and brightest in the CEQA bar think about exhaustion requirements, rules for naming indispensable parties, tips and strategies at the outset of a CEQA lawsuit, briefing best practices, remedies, options for returning on a writ, costs and attorneys fees, and more. Don’t miss this stimulating, interactive, practice-enriching experience!

Moderator:
Nicole Gordon, Partner, The Sohagi Law Group, PLC

Panelists: 
Mitchell M. Tsai, Attorney at Law
Kristen Jensen, Deputy City Attorney, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office
Arielle Harris, Shareholder, Miller Starr Regalia

Session 25: Cal Cannabis Today: The DCC’s Programs, CEQA, and Water  

1.5 Hours MCLE

California continues to build and regulate its legal cannabis market, amid evolving economic conditions and a changing legal landscape. The state’s three prior regulatory programs have been consolidated into the new Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), which has overhauled its regulations. DCC works alongside other regulatory agencies—including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), which (among other things) addresses cannabis cultivation’s potential impacts on California’s natural resources. Licensees and practitioners work to navigate this complex and shifting landscape, while other stakeholders (such as Youth Forward) work to ensure that California’s legalization of cannabis serves broader public interests. Against this backdrop, this panel provides an overview of California’s legal cannabis market and related legal issues.  

Moderator:
Paul Hagen, Attorney, North Coast Environmental Law Office   

Panelists: 
Matthew Lee, General Counsel, CA Department of Cannabis Control  
Rebecca Garwood, Environmental Program Manager, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife – Northern Region  
Joanna Hossack, Specialist, Institute of Urban and Regional Development, UC Berkeley
Tona Miranda, Policy Advocate and Tribal Liaison, Youth Forward

Session 26: Unhoused Encampments, Environmental Quality, and the Human Right to Water

1.5 Hours MCLE

In California, more than 160,000 people are experiencing homelessness, and many unhoused people live in encampments near waterways or public spaces without access to clean drinking water or adequate sanitation. These encampments have adverse environmental impacts on water quality and riparian habitats, pose solid and liquid waste disposal issues, increase fire and flood risks, and contravene land use policies and regulations.  State and local agencies have jurisdiction to enforce laws to protect public health and the environment, and some funding is available to address homelessness (for example, the Newsom administration’s proposed 2022-23 budget includes $2 billion for temporary housing and clearing encampments).  However, these tools may be ineffective, lack an appropriate responsible party, and pose equity concerns. This panel focuses on legal and policy hurdles and tools, both existing and forthcoming, for lessening the environmental impacts of encampments while treating unhoused individuals with respect and meeting their human right to water.

Moderator:
Rebecca Andrews, Partner, Best Best & Krieger

Panelists:
Keith H. Lichten, P.E., Chief, Watershed Management Division, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board
Amber Wise, Director of Programs & Impact, LavaMaeËŁ
Gonzalo Barriga, Jr., Special Assistant to the General Manager for Public Safety and Housing, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Session 27: The Future of Climate Within Corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Efforts

1.5 Hours MCLE

Sustainability management and ESG reporting have hit the mainstream across the globe.  As a result, several ESG-related trends and rules have emerged to focus on climate change and investor activism around environmental issues.  These include newly formed and / or proposed voluntary and mandatory disclosure systems, enhanced legal and societal vulnerabilities, and heightened shareholder / investor oversight.  This panel will focus on the incorporation of climate change into corporate ESG actions and disclosures in California and beyond by examining the present and future trends and requirements companies face in a carbon conscious world.  

Moderator:
Sunny Sohrabian, Senior Manager, Sustainability, LA28

Panelists:
Kirsten Thorne, General Manager of Strategy for Corporate Affairs, Chevron Corporation
Jenny Ciszewski, Audit and Assurance Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP
Courtney O. Taylor, Senior Vice President, ML Strategies, LLC


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