Environmental Law

Envt'l Law News Fall 2021, Vol. 30, No. 2


Written by Jennifer L. Harder

The California Lawyers Association and the Environmental Law Section (ELS) congratulates ELS’s Diversity & Inclusion Fellows for this past Summer 2021 on successfully completing their summer Fellowship placements. In the first selection in our fall issue, the Fellows describe their experiences in their inspiring summer program. If you would like more information about this fast-growing Fellowship program, please visit ELS’s Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program page at calawyers.org.

In the balance of our fall edition, environmental law practitioners provide insights into a range of current issues:

  • Ryan Thomason and John Wheat survey modern practice under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), with a focus on the length and complexity of today’s Environmental Impact Reports, and suggest reforms are needed to accomplish one of CEQA’s core purposes—fostering an informed public.
  • Kathleen Leuschen guides readers through the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the deliberative process privilege in the context of draft documents prepared by federal agencies, and explores how this sometimes-discounted doctrine seeks to facilitate robust exploration of options by agencies before they publicly propose a course of action.
  • Phil Williams takes a deep dive into theories about the nature of property, and applies these ruminations to considerations of due process in the regulation of water use.
  • Bryan Barnhart delves into a recent California case awarding punitive damages for groundwater contamination, and suggests that the reasoning in this case can benefit public water suppliers seeking to protect drinking water quality.

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