Environmental Law

Envt'l Law News SPRING 2021, VOL. 30, NO. 1


by Jennifer L. Harder

We are proud to begin this Spring 2021 edition of the Environmental Law News with an inspiring series of essays from four former and current Fellows who participated in the Environmental Law Section’s Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program. The essays reflect on the Fellows’ journeys to law school, their experiences in their summer fellowship placements, and their visions for the future: Marjan Kris Abubo, UC Davis School of Law (Center for Biological Diversity); Jina Kim, Berkeley Law (Communities for a Better Environment); Elias Rodriguez, Santa Clara University School of Law (Earthjustice); and Idalmis Vaquero, UCLA School of Law (Communities for a Better Environment). We are grateful to Executive Committee member Miles Hogan-himself an alumnus of the Environmental Law Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program—for facilitating this opportunity to amplify the voices of our Fellows. To view our incredible 2021 Fellows and a listing of our generous Fellowship sponsors, please see the inside back cover of this issue of Environmental Law News.

Building on the Fellows’ reflections, the Section’s Vice Chair and Chair-Elect, Jessi Fierro, thoughtfully assesses the value of diversity and inclusion in the practice of environmental law, describing programs intended to increase diversity, and challenging us all to engage on this important issue. Next, tribal attorneys Michelle LaPena and Simon Gertler provide insights into litigation challenging the border wall, La Posta Band of Diegueño Mission Indians v. Trump, and the quest of the Kumeyaay Tribes to obtain compensation for the destruction of their homelands. Jeannie Lee, Governor’s Office of Planning & Research, then offers a primer for public participation in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and land use processes. Sara Dudley steers this survey of CEQA’s participation framework into the specific context of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), suggesting useful considerations for environmental analysis of management actions under SGMA. Finally, Gary Lucks pens his traditional round-up of environmental legislation passed-and not passed-during California’s last legislative session, a period fraught with challenges as the Newsom administration grappled with COVID-19.

If you are interested in learning more about the Environmental Law Section’s Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program, please visit https://calawyers.org/section/environmental-law/fellowships/ or contact Fellowship Committee Chair Oscar Espino-Padron at oespino-padron@earthjustice.org. We welcome your support to help achieve our goal of a more diverse future in environmental practice.

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