Environmental Law

2016 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite

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2016 Yosemite Conference brochure cover

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite
October 20-23, 2016

Speakers & Sessions | Scholarship Info | Sponsors | Original Brochure

25th Anniversary of the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite¬ģ

The Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite¬ģ is nationally recognized as the largest and most prestigious gathering in California of leaders in environmental, land use, and natural resources law. We hope you will join us and many of our nation‚Äôs top environmental officials, lawyers, and other professionals in the spectacular setting of Yosemite.

Speakers and Sessions

Session 1: Friday General Session – Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service

Welcome by Howard F. Wilkins III (‚ÄúChip‚ÄĚ), 2015-2016 Chair, Environmental Law Section, Remy Moose Manley LLP.

Introduction by K. Eric Adair, Hinson, Gravelle & Adair LLP, Valencia. Keynote presentation by Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service.

Jonathan B. Jarvis’s 37-year career has taken him from ranger to resource management specialist to park biologist to superintendent of parks. Before being confirmed as the 18th Director of the National Park Service on September 24, 2009, Jarvis served as regional director of the bureau’s Pacific West Region. As Director, Jarvis has reinvigorated the National Park Service’s role as an international advocate for protected areas and recognized world leader in cultural and natural resource management. As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial in 2016, Jarvis is focused on several key areas for the future: enhancing stewardship of the places entrusted to the Service’s care; maximizing the educational potential of parks and programs; engaging new generations and audiences; and ensuring the welfare and fulfillment of National Park Service employees.

Session 2: The Rising Trend of Comprehensive Environmental Enforcement in California: Latest Developments in Administrative, Civil and Criminal Actions

This panel will discuss the latest trends and developments regarding environmental enforcement throughout California. Our speakers, leading representatives from the local, state and federal levels, will address the full spectrum of enforcement options, from administrative orders, to civil enforcement, including the imposition of injunctive and consent judgment terms, to the criminal prosecution of environmental crimes. This panel will also include a presentation from the defense/regulated community perspective, detailing how the regulated community can best understand and implement strategies to minimize enforcement risks as well as insights on dealing with enforcement agencies and prosecutors once an action has been filed or is being investigated.

Moderator: Gary Meyer, Shareholder, Parker Milliken, Los Angeles

Jessica Brown, Deputy City Attorney, Los Angeles
Brett Morris, Office of the Attorney General, Oakland
Sylvia Quast, Regional Counsel, Environmental Protection
Agency, San Francisco

Session 3: Oil and Gas Production and Use in California: Past, Present and Future

This panel will include a brief examination of California’s past regulatory history of oil and gas production and use. The discussion will also focus on present day issues such as land use conflicts (e.g., Porter Ranch, underground injection’s effect on water supplies, well stimulation treatments (WST), waste water disposal) and the attitudes, activism and varying approaches playing out in different parts of the State. The panel also will address the future of the legal mechanisms and regulatory efforts which will set the tone for the years to come (e.g., gas storage regulations, underground injection control (UIC) regulations, WST regulations), and examine the difficult task of reconciliation of hydrocarbon recovery with climate change response goals.

Moderator: James L. Pierce, Senior Staff Counsel, California Department of Conservation, Sacramento

Jennifer L. Hernandez, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP, San Francisco
Briana Mordick, Senior Scientist, Land & Wildlife and Climate
Programs, Natural Resources Defense Council, San Francisco
Emily Reader, Senior Oil and Gas Engineer, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, Sacramento

Session 4: Storage, Conservation and System Optimization: What Is Most Needed for California’s Future?

California’s quest for new water requires developing a diverse portfolio of water sources for the future. The passage of Proposition 1 in 2014 buoyed the prospects for new water storage above and below ground, and also provided funds for water conservation. Measures employed to respond to California’s recent drought have demonstrated that California can conserve significantly more water than previously thought possible. Reoperation of existing dams can also increase storage for drier times. With all the gains possible from conservation and changes in reservoir management, is new storage necessary? If so, where should it be located and what kind of storage is appropriate? This panel will explore the conundrum of determining the right mix of investments to best meet the state’s current and future water demands considering current legal and funding hurdles.

Moderator: Chelsea Tu, Attorney, Public Advocates, San Francisco


Daniel Curtin, Member, California Water Commission, Sacramento
Peter Gleick, President Emeritus and Chief Scientist, Pacific Institute, Oakland
Ron Stork, Senior Policy Advocate, Friends of the River,

Session 5: Proposition 65: Recent Developments and Regulatory Reforms

Proposition 65 is 30 years old, but until recently, it has spawned surprisingly few published opinions because the vast majority of cases have settled. In recent years, there have been some novel litigation strategies and published opinions that have significantly changed the Proposition 65 landscape. At the same time, there are pending revisions to the Proposition 65 regulations that could affect state oversight of settlements, provide additional guidance on warning language, and establish new safe harbor levels for certain chemicals. Additionally, recent amendments to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) may have impacts on Proposition 65. This panel will discuss these recent developments. Panelists include lawyers who have been directly involved in recent Proposition 65 litigation and regulatory reforms.

Moderator: Laura Zuckerman, Deputy Attorney General, California Attorney General’s Office, Oakland

Richard Drury, Partner, Lozeau Drury LLP, Oakland
Michelle Endo, Research Assistant, Center for Environmental Health, Oakland
William Tarantino, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP, San Francisco

Session 6: California’s Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015: What’s Next for SB 350?

Over one year has passed since SB 350 was signed into law, codifying significant new targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency in California. This panel will discuss the progress the CPUC, CEC, and CARB have made toward implementing the bill‚Äôs requirements for a 50% RPS, doubling of energy efficiency, and incentivizing transportation electrification as well as what the regulatory implementation of SB 350 will look like. In addition, while the mandate for a 50% reduction in petroleum use originally proposed by the authors of SB 350 was not ultimately enacted, how are the agencies using existing law and other provisions of SB 350 to nevertheless move towards Governor Brown‚Äôs goal of significantly reducing petroleum use in the transportation sector? Panelists will address what they anticipate to be the likely direct effects‚ÄĒgood and bad‚ÄĒof the bill on renewable energy development, natural resources, and greenhouse gas emission rates, within the state of California.

Moderator: Allison Smith, Associate, Stoel Rives, LLP, Sacramento

Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California, Sacramento
Clifford Rechtschaffen, Senior Advisor, Office of Governor
Edmund G. Brown, Sacramento

Session 7: The California Supreme Court and Environmental Law

The California Supreme Court, perhaps the most influential state Supreme Court in the nation, currently has 22 environmental cases pending and has decided four CEQA cases in the past year. More than ever before in its history, the Court has the potential to alter the legal landscape of state environmental law. This panel will examine the Court’s recent and pending decisions, identify trends in the types of cases that the court is taking and its decisions, and offer observations about the apparent direction of the Court.

Moderator:Jim Moose, Senior Partner, Remy Moose Manley LLP, Sacramento

Honorable Barry P. Goode, Contra Costa Superior Court, Martinez
Suma Peesapati, Lecturer, UC Irvine School of Law, Irvine
Associate Justice Ronald B. Robie, Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate District, Sacramento

Session 8: Irrigated Lands and the Challenge of Improving Groundwater Quality

Agriculture and related businesses are a significant part of California’s economy, environment and culture. California’s 20th Century water projects and engineering improvements have made the desert literally bloom in many parts of the state. But irrigation unavoidably contributes nutrients, salts and other pollutants to California’s rivers, streams, and groundwater aquifers. This panel will discuss and evaluate how California’s thirteen yearold Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program is doing, as agencies, agriculture, and community stakeholders work to apply the state’s anti-degradation policy to irrigated lands in the wake of AGUA v. Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Moderator: Ryan R. Waterman, Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, San Diego

Tess Dunham, Shareholder, Somach Simmons & Dunn, Sacramento
Patrick Pulupa, Attorney III, State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento
Phoebe Seaton, Co-Director and Attorney at Law, Leadership
Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Fresno

Session 9: Flint‚ÄĒCould it Happen Here? Is it Happening Here?

California is ahead of many states in terms of having infrastructure in place to help guarantee safe drinking water for all Californians‚ÄĒit was the first state to explicitly recognize a human right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible drinking water. Yet disadvantaged communities across the State still face daunting challenges. Panelists will discuss clean drinking water concerns facing California communities, what is being done to address those concerns, and whether California is en route to becoming another Flint, Michigan.

Moderator: Leah Goldberg, Senior Deputy City Attorney, City of San Jose, San Jose

Robert Brownwood, Assistant Deputy Director, Division
of Drinking Water, State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento
Caroline Farrell, Executive Director, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, Delano
Steve Worthley, Tulare County Supervisor, Visalia

Saturday, October 22

Session 10: The Emerging Importance of Methane in Greenhouse Gas Regulation

Methane has been referred to as CO2‚Äôs ‚Äúnasty little brother‚ÄĚ in terms of climate impacts, but it took center stage in 2016 with the Aliso Canyon gas leak. The leak forced the evacuation of hundreds of people in the Porter Ranch development, was for several months California‚Äôs single biggest greenhouse gas emissions source, and spurred multiple proposals for legislative action to regulate methane emissions. These developments come on top of heightened scrutiny from regulators over the past few years as the result of methane‚Äôs potential contribution to global warming. California is targeting methane as part of its short-lived climate pollutant reduction strategy, and the Obama administration has been moving forward with new regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. This panel will address all of these developments and discuss methane‚Äôs role as the ‚Äúpollutant du jour‚ÄĚ in the fight against global climate change.

Moderator: Jon Welner, Partner, Jeffer Mangels Butler& Mitchell, LLP, San Francisco

Myles Culhane, Managing Counsel, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Houston, Texas
Tim O’Connor, Director, California Oil & Gas, Environmental Defense Fund, Los Angeles
Elizabeth Scheehle, Branch Chief, Oil and Gas and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Branch, CARB, Sacramento

Session 11: CEQA Update: A Perennial Favorite

Panelists will discuss in detail key CEQA cases from the past year, summarize recent case law, and provide an update on recent legislative developments.

Moderator: Howard F. Wilkins III (‚ÄúChip‚ÄĚ), Partner, Remy Moose Manley, LLP, Sacramento

Danae Aitchison, Office of the Attorney General, Sacramento
Amanda Monchamp, Partner, Holland & Knight, San Francisco
William Parkin, Partner, Wittwer Parkin LLP, Santa Cruz

Session 12: The Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan: Lodestar or Overload?

Currently, the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project backstop the flows needed to meet Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta Water Quality Control Plan flow objectives for salinity and fish and wildlife. Meeting the objectives can be a major constraint on water deliveries, yet Delta fisheries are in decline. The State Water Resources Control Board is now updating the Plan in a process that could apportion responsibility beyond the two projects. This panel seeks to offer insight into the fascinating intersection of water quality and water right laws and the critical and potentially contentious issues confronting update efforts.

Moderator: Jennifer Harder, Professor, McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento

Erin Mahaney, Attorney IV, State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento
Stefanie Morris, General Counsel, State Water Contractors, Sacramento
Kate Poole, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council, San Francisco
Jennifer Spaletta, Principle, Spaletta Law, Lodi

Session 13: Vapor Intrusion: Current Regulatory Status and Implications of the New Short-Term Trichloroethylene (TCE) Screening Levels

Vapor intrusion has become a major driver at hazardous waste sites throughout California and has impacted both environmental clean-ups and real estate transactions.

In particular, the USEPA Region 9 policy on short-term exposures to trichloroethylene (TCE) in indoor air has led to increased scrutiny of site investigations and, in some cases, has accelerated remediation activities. This panel will discuss the recent changes in USEPA policy regarding vapor intrusion and in particular how the emphasis on short term TCE exposures has changed how sites are prioritized and investigated. Perspectives will be provided by all sides of the vapor intrusion discussion including both the regulatory and regulated community.

Moderator: Morgan Gilhuly, Attorney, Barg, Coffin, Lewis & Trapp, LLP, San Francisco

Elizabeth Brown, Corporate Counsel, EHS and Real Estate,
Northrop Grumman Corporation, El Segundo
Dustin Minor, Chief, Hazardous Waste Branch Office of Regional Counsel, Environmental Protection Agency, San Francisco
Nadine Weinberg, Partner, ERM, Portland, Maine

Session 14: New California Environmental Legislation‚ÄĒThe Latest from Sacramento

The California Legislature continues to pass groundbreaking environmental laws, which are often adopted nationally and internationally. During the 2016 legislative session, the Governor signed a number of new environmental, natural resources, and land use laws. 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, Principal, Beyond Compliance, Oakland

Kip Lipper, Chief Policy Advisor on Energy and the
Environment, Office of the Senate Pro Tem, Sacramento
Marie Liu, Special Assistant to Assembly Speaker Anthony
Rendon, Sacramento
Katharine Moore, Consultant, Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, Sacramento

Session 15: Will the Clean Power Plan Awaken?

The Clean Power Plan is the lynchpin of the Obama Administration’s approach to tackling climate pollution from the power plant sector, but it was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court pending the outcome of challenges brought by industry and more than half the states. This panel will assess the effect of the stay on the compliance work of California and other states; provide an update on the litigation; and assess the Plan’s future prospects and impacts on the energy sector.

Moderator: Robert Wyman, Partner, Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles

Edie Chang, Deputy Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board, Sacramento
Thomas A. Lorenzen, Partner, Crowell & Moring LLP, Washington, D.C.
Vera Pardee, Senior Counsel, Supervising Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity, Oakland

Session 16: Perspectives on the History, Successes and Challenges for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

This panel will focus on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency‚Äôs (‚ÄúTRPA‚ÄĚ) Regional Plan Update and the goals and challenges associated with implementing the Update. Among other things, the panel will discuss TRPA‚Äôs efforts to manage traffic and water quality impacts from projects in the Tahoe Basin and the transfer of development rights, or ‚ÄúTDRs‚ÄĚ. The panel also will discuss TRPA‚Äôs Environmental Threshold Carrying Capacities and the Agency‚Äôs efforts to regulate and restore Stream Environment Zones.

Moderator: Scott B. Birkey, Partner, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, LLP, San Francisco

Darcie Goodman Collins, PhD, Executive Director, League to Save Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe
Lew Feldman, Partner, Feldman McLaughlin Thiel LLP, Zephyr Cove, NV
John Marshall, General Counsel, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Stateline, NV
E. Clement (Clem) Shute, Jr., Founding Partner, Winner of the 2015 State Bar Environmental Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award, Shute Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, San Francisco

Session 17: The Department of Toxic Substances Control: A Conversation with Director Barbara Lee

The critical mission of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control is to protect state residents from the harmful effects of toxic substances. One year ago, Barbara Lee was confirmed as Director of the DTSC and charged with improving DTSC’s permitting, enforcement, public outreach, and fiscal management. Join us for a frank dialogue with Director Lee as she discusses DTSC’s recent accomplishments and challenges, as well as her future vision for the Department.

Moderator: Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Edmund G. Brown, Director, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Sacramento

Panelist: Barbara A. Lee, Director, Department of Toxic Substances Control, Sacramento

Session 18: Saturday General Session – Keynote presentation by Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator of California

Introduction by Osha Meserve, Soluri Meserve, Sacramento
Keynote presentation by Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator of California

Barbara Boxer‚ÄĒU.S. Senator of California

A forceful advocate for families, children, consumers, the environment and her State of California, Barbara Boxer became a United States Senator in January 1993 after 10 years in the House of Representatives and six years on the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Throughout her career, Senator Boxer has worked to defend our nation’s environmental laws, protect our natural heritage and address the threats of climate change. She was the first woman to Chair the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), a position that she held from 2007 through 2014. She now serves as that Committee’s Ranking Member.

Her leadership on the EPW Committee was instrumental in reauthorizing and updating the highway bill and the Water Resources Development Act, both of which have led to significant improvements in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and supported millions of jobs nationwide.

Senator Boxer has won numerous awards for her efforts to create a cleaner, healthier environment and for her dedicated work to address the threats of climate change. She has fought to remove arsenic from drinking water and authored an amendment ensuring that drinking water standards protect children. She has led efforts in Congress to protect California’s coast from offshore oil drilling and fought to end the unethical use of human subjects in pesticide testing by federal agencies.

Saturday Afternoon Outdoor Presentations

Southern Sierra Tree Die-Off

Aerial surveys by the United States Forest Service show more than 66 million dead trees in Sierra Nevada forests. Learn about drought and bark beetle impacts on forest vegetation as well as forest management approaches designed to mitigate these ongoing impacts.

Moderator: Alisha Winterswyk, Best, Best & Krieger, LLP

Dr. Marc Meyer, Southern Sierra Province Ecologist United States Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region
Burt Stalter, Bass Lake Ranger District Fuels Battalion Chief Sierra National Forest

National Park Service Centennial

Yosemite National Park commemorates the National Park Service Centennial this year, marking 100 years of the National Park Service, established under the National Park Service Organic Act, enacted on August 25, 1916. Hear about the significance of the Act and how the National Park Service is commemorating the Centennial, including insights into President Obama’s recent visit to Yosemite as part of the centennial celebration.

Moderator: Julia E. Stein, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Speaker: Scott Gediman, Assistant Superintendent for Public & Legislative Affairs, Yosemite National Park

Legal Issues in National Park Management

Park management decisions are shaped by a range of environmental and other laws, including the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. This presentation will provide on the ground examples of the legal issues that must be addressed as part of national park management.

Moderator: Christian Marsh, Downey Brand LLP

Speaker: Joe Meyer, Branch Chief, Physical Science and Landscape Ecology Resources Management and Science Division, Yosemite National Park

A Fireside Chat with Johanna Wald, Recipient of the 2016 Environmental Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award

Join us in the Fireside Lounge, adjacent to the Hotel lobby, for an informal chat with Johanna Wald, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Hear a firsthand account of her stellar career and contributions to environmental law. Facilitated by: Ellison Folk, Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, LLP, San Francisco.

Saturday Night Dinner Program – Presentation of the Environmental Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award given to Johanna Wald

Introductions by Alisha Winterswyk, Best, Best & Krieger, LLP, Co-Chair, Lifetime Achievement Award Subcommittee of the Environmental Law Section, and John Leshy, Harry D. Sunderland Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Remarks by Johanna Wald, San Francisco.

The Environmental Law Section is honored to present its third annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Johanna Wald, one of the nation’s leading advocates for the protection of public lands. A founding member of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s California office in 1973, Johanna’s landmark lawsuits and advocacy efforts led to fundamental changes in the management of public lands throughout the American West and resulted in the protection of millions of acres of wilderness.

Johanna is not only an effective advocate for the environment; her willingness to share her time and wisdom with young attorneys and law students has made her a mentor and role model to attorneys throughout the country. In addition to her legal career in the non-profit sector, Johanna has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours to local and national non-profits. Johanna’s legal professionalism, dedication to the environment, and ability to work effectively with diverse interest groups make her a worthy recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Introduction by Nicole Gordon, The Sohagi Law Group, Los Angeles. Remarks by Nikki Silvestri, Co-Founder and CEO, Silvestri Strategies

Nikki Silvestri is the Co-Founder and CEO of Silvestri Strategies, a project design and management firm working to support thriving communities, economies, and natural environments.

As the Co-Founder of Live Real and former Executive Director of People’s Grocery and Green for All, Nikki has built and strengthened social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. A nationally recognized thought leader, her many honors include being named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2014. An accomplished communicator, Nikki is well known for her combination of vulnerability and razor-sharp analysis. In addition to her speaking appearances at conferences and private events, Nikki regularly forwards the message of equitable economies through numerous media channels. BET.com, the Huffington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle have featured her writing, and her recent television appearances include All In with Chris Hayes and the Melissa Harris Perry Show on MSNBC.

Nikki began her work in social change through the foster care system in Southern California, where she directed Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops. She has a master’s degree in African American Studies from UCLA, and is originally from Los Angeles. She currently lives in Oakland, with her husband.

Sunday, October 23

Session 19: Sunday General Session – John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division

Introduction by Michael Hingerty, Berkeley

Keynote presentation by John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD).

John C. Cruden was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 16, 2014 as the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD).

Before becoming AAG, Mr. Cruden served as President of the Environmental Law Institute, a nationally recognized bipartisan organization well-known for its work in educating, publishing, and researching environment, energy, and natural resource issues.

Mr. Cruden has a long history of public service at the Department of Justice and in the military. From 1991-1995 he was the Chief of ENRD’s Environmental Enforcement Section and then from 1995 to 2011 a career Deputy Assistant Attorney General for ENRD.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Cruden served as Chief Legislative Counsel for the Army, and held various military positions including in the Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces units and as Staff Judge Advocate. Mr. Cruden has on three occasions received the Presidential Rank Award from three different Presidents. He has also received the Department of Justice’s Muskie-Chaffee Award, the Federal Bar Association’s Younger Award, and the American Bar Association’s Award for Outstanding Government Service.

He is also a volunteer swim coach for the Special Olympics and a past recipient of Fairfax County’s Volunteer of the Year award for his work with mentally handicapped children. He is married and has two adult children.

Session 20: Recent Environmental Law Developments in the U.S. Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

The U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals have been active over the past year, deciding numerous major environmental law cases. Other key environmental litigation‚ÄĒincluding judicial challenges to the Obama Administration‚Äôs Clean Power Plan and ‚ÄúWaters of the United States‚ÄĚ regulatory initiatives‚ÄĒare currently pending. Join a panel of environmental law experts who follow these judicial developments closely for a survey of the most important decided and pending environmental law cases from these courts. The panelists will also discuss general environmental law trends and developments in these tribunals.

Moderator: Richard Frank, Professor of Environmental Practice, Director, California Environmental Law & Policy Center, School of Law, University of California, Davis

John Cruden, Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice,
Washington, D.C.
Alice Kaswan, Professor of Law, University of San Francisco,
San Francisco

Session 21: CEQA and the People’s Voice: Developer Ballot Measures

Following the Supreme Court‚Äôs 2014 Tuolumne Jobs decision, which held that CEQA does not apply to ‚Äúcitizen-sponsored‚ÄĚ initiatives, even where the initiative is adopted by local officials rather than the voters, California has seen a sharp increase in development projects being proposed via ballot. Panelists will discuss emerging issues surrounding this ‚ÄúTuolumne tactic.‚ÄĚ

Moderator: Dan Selmi, Fritz B. Burns Professor of Real Property Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

Celia Brewer, City Attorney, City of Carlsbad
Kristina Lawson, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, San
Robert ‚ÄúPerl‚ÄĚ Perlmutter, Partner, Shute Mihaly & Weinberger,
LLP, San Francisco

Session 22: The Coastal Act at 40 and the State of the California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission has had a remarkable year, starting with the controversial removal of Executive Director Charles Lester in early February and followed by the introduction of several bills in the state legislature addressing agency function. The Commission is also faced with increasingly important substantive work under the Coastal Act, including support of implementation of Local Coastal Programs across the state in a way that addresses sea level rise and climate change impacts, ensuring public beach access with their relatively new enforcement authority, and regulation of new ocean industries like desalination plants and offshore renewables. This panel will offer a recap of relevant coastal legislation and an insight into the biggest battles involving the Coastal Act in the coming year.

Moderator: Angela Howe, Legal Director, Surfrider Foundation, San Clemente

Commissioner Paula Daniels, former Coastal Commissioner and current Commissioner, California Water Commission, Los Angeles
Jennifer Lucchesi, Executive Director, State Lands Commission, Sacramento
John Erskine, Partner and Chair of the Coastal Legal and Consulting Practice at Nossaman LLP, Sacramento Jana Zimmer, former Coastal Commissioner and current Attorney/Arbitrator and Lecturer, Environmental Studies Program, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara

Session 23: Recent Developments at California Air Districts

There have been significant new political and regulatory developments at California’s Air Districts over the past year. The South Coast saw a major political shift on its Board of Directors, which resulted in the removal of its longtime executive officer, and it was drawn into litigation alleging that the Board’s recent regulatory amendments were too lenient on industry. In contrast, the Bay Area adopted a suite of stringent new regulations for oil refineries that resulted in legal challenges from industry. The San Joaquin Valley has been active as well, advocating for changes to the Federal Clean Air Act to help it address some of the nation’s worst smog problems. This panel will discuss these developments and will provide their thoughts and views on the future directions of air quality regulation in California.

Sean B. Hecht, Co-Executive Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles

Richard Corey, Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board, Sacramento
Angela Johnson-Meszaros, Staff Attorney, EarthJustice, Los Angeles
Cathy Reheis-Boyd, President, Western States Petroleum Association, Sacramento

Session 24: Climate Change and International Law‚ÄĒWhat‚Äôs Next After Paris?

The international community has been working on legal frameworks to address climate change for nearly 25 years. These efforts have culminated most recently in the landmark agreement adopted in December 2015 in Paris, which commits countries to a goal of keeping anthropogenic warming to ‚Äúwell below‚ÄĚ 2oC‚ÄĒalthough without traditionally enforceable legal mechanisms to ensure that this goal is achieved. This panel will examine the strengths and shortcomings of the Paris Agreement, what it means for the United States and other countries, and how public and private actors are responding in subnational regions like California.

Moderator: Alex Wang, Assistant Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles

Alexa Kleysteuber, Deputy Secretary for Border and
Intergovernmental Relations, California EPA, Sacramento
Kevin Poloncarz, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP, San Francisco
Alvaro Sanchez, Environmental Equity Director, The
Greenlining Institute, Berkeley

Session 25: CEQA Practitioner Roundtable: Help! What now? Approaches for Analyzing Climate Change Impacts

Methods for analyzing greenhouse gases under CEQA have become less certain in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. Cal. Dep’t of Fish & Wildlife (Newhall Land & Farming), the Governor’s 2015 Executive Order, and 2015 state legislation on climate change.

Further complicating the picture are two-year bills pending in the Legislature to set new greenhouse gas targets for 2030 and beyond, and the California Supreme Court’s pending decision in Cleveland Nat’l Forest Found. v. SANDAG. This practitioner focused roundtable will explore various approaches for evaluating greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and climate adaptation in this rapidly evolving area of the law.

Roundtable Moderators:
Alexander Crockett, Assistant Counsel, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Francisco
Shari B. Libicki, Ph.D., Principal, Ramboll Environ, San Francisco
Aruna Prabhala, Staff Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity, Oakland

Session 26: Water Rights Reforms‚ÄĒAre Changes Needed to Our Water Rights and Pricing Systems?

California’s historic drought has generated debate about how water should be allocated as well as new proposals for reform.

In 2015, the Legislature enacted changes beefing up water measurement requirements for surface water diverters, and strengthening the state’s enforcement authority. More expansive water rights reforms have been proposed. Litigation is also ongoing that challenges water rates created to encourage water conservation, which potentially conflict with constitutional and other limitations on rate setting. This panel explores whether major changes to our water rights and water pricing systems are desirable, and if so, what they may be.

Moderator: Rebecca Akroyd, Associate, Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard, Sacramento

Colin Bailey, Executive Director, The Environmental Justice
Coalition for Water, Sacramento
Dave Owen, Professor of Law, University of California at Hastings, San Francisco
Kelly Salt, Partner, Best Best & Krieger LLP, San Diego

Session 27: Environmental and Economic Impacts of California’s Bold New Cannabis Future

California‚Äôs new ‚ÄúMedical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act,‚ÄĚ effective January, 2018, creates a broad statutory scheme regulating cannabis, issuing multiple environmental and other mandates, and carrying enormous economic consequences across the state. This panel seeks to explore the magnitude of change that the MCRSA and its mandates may bring to California‚Äôs economy, with a particular focus on the implications for environmental regulation and enforcement.

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

Gordon Burns, Undersecretary for Environmental Enforcement, Cal/EPA, Sacramento
Graciela Castillo-Krings, Deputy Legislative Secretary, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Sacramento
James Devine, The Law Offices of James B. Devine, Ventura
Casey O’Neill, Board Chair, California Growers Association, and Farmer, Happy Day Farms, Laytonville

Sponsorship Info

The State Bar Environmental Law Section is pleased to offer the Michael H. Remy Scholarship. In his nearly thirty years of private practice, Michael Remy represented a wide variety of public and private clients as well as nonprofit organizations. Michael assisted large corporations and small entrepreneurs alike in various permitting and environmental matters throughoutthe state. Many counties, cities, and special districts relied on Remy’s counsel in the processing, environmental review, and litigation of large and small projects.

Some of his most notable environmental accomplishments were: heading the successful political and legal efforts to shut down the Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant; and representing the Sierra Club and William Hewlett against the conversion of Shirley Canyon to a commercial ski run by the Squaw Valley Ski Corporation. In 1990, the Environmental Council of Sacramento named Remy ‚ÄúEnvironmentalist of the Year.‚ÄĚ

Remy was widely admired and loved by his colleagues, friends and family, who regarded him as a man of extraordinary intelligence, personal integrity, kindness, and generosity. Remy‚Äôs warm presence is sorely missed by everyone at Remy Moose Manley, LLP, but even in his absence, his memory continues to provide guidance and inspiration. This scholarship, sponsored by Remy Moose Manley, LLP in memory of former Environmental Law Section member and advisor, Michael H. Remy, includes tuition, travel and room for the 2016 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite¬ģ. Five (5) scholarships were awarded.

Tuition-Only Scholarships

The Environmental Law Section provides more than 25 tuition-only scholarships to attend the 2016 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite¬ģ. The Section thanks the following for their contribution to the 2016 Yosemite Conference Scholarship program.

Ascent Environmental, Inc.
Brandt-Hawley Law Group
Caldwell Leslie
Castellon & Funderburk LLP
Flette, Norm & Nancy
Hinson Gravelle & Adair LLP
Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP
Law Office of Gideon Kracov
Lozeau Drury LLP
Marilee Hanson
McGuire Woods LLP
Meyers Nave
Remy Moose Manley LLP
PC Law Group
Silicon Valley Law Group
Solano Press Books
Soluri Meserve
The Sawyer Families
The Sohagi Law Group
Wactor & Wick LLP


Thank you to our 2016 Conference Sponsors.

AEI Consultants
Antea Group
Ascent Environmental, Inc.
Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp, LLP
Bick Law LLP
Bogle Vineyards
Brandt-Hawley Law Group
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Burke Williams & Sorensen
Caldwell Leslie & Proctor PC
Castellon & Funderburk LLP
Cotchett, Pitre& McCarthy, LLP
Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP
Downey Brand LLP
Edgcomb Law Group
EEC Environmental
Flette, Norm and Nancy
Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher
Gideon Kracov, Attorney at Law
Greenberg Glusker LLP
Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden, PC
Hanson Bridget LLP
Hinson Gravelle & Adair LLP
Holland & Knight
Integral Consulting Inc.
JefferMangels Butler & Mitchell LLP
Law Office of Jennifer Novak
KP Public Affairs
Kronick Moskovitz Tiedeman & Girard
Lozeau Drury, LLP
Marilee Hanson
McGuireWoods LLP
Meyers Nave
PC Law Group
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Ramboll Environ
Remy Moose Manley, LLP
Rossmann and Moore, LLP
Roux Associates, Inc.
SCS Engineers
The Sawyer Families
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP
Silicon Valley Law Group
The Sohagi Law Group
Solano Press Books
Soluri Meserve
Stoel Rives LLP
Terraphase Engineering Inc.
The Freshwater Trust
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
Wactor and Wick LLP
West, a Thomson Reuters Business
Wilson Vineyards
Yorke Engineering, LLC

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