Environmental Law Section

News from the Section

2014 Yosemite Graphic with trees
Register Now for the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®

Sunset over a mountainThursday-Sunday, October 16-19, 2014
Tenaya Lodge
1122 Highway 41
Fish Camp, California
 (“The Gateway to Yosemite”)

You can now REGISTER ONLINE for this program.

The Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite® 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’s top environmental offi cials, lawyers, and other professionals in the spectacular setting of Yosemite – which is celebrating its 150th year!

Pfrofessor Joseph L. SaxFeaturing the presentation of the inaugural Environmental Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Professor Joseph L. Sax, a true pioneer in the development of environmental law.

See the full program at Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite. Conference highlights include:

Saturday Banquet Speaker: Bill McKibben.  Bill McKibben, one of the world’s most eloquent and influential environmental leaders, will be the Saturday evening banquet speaker. McKibben is founder of an international grassroots climate change movement, 350.org. He has written more than a dozen books about the environment in the years since 1989’s The End of Nature, widely considered the first book for a general audience about climate change. A former staff writer for the New Yorker, McKibben teaches environmental studies at Middlebury College and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Publications from around the world frequently feature his articles. Foreign Policy included him in a list of the world's 100 most important global thinkers, the Boston Globe described him as "probably America's most important environmentalist," and Time Magazine noted that he "may be the world’s best green journalist."

Lifetime Achievement Award: Joseph L. Sax. As set forth below, at the Saturday banquet, the Environmental Law Section will present its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Professor Joseph L. Sax.

Friday Evening Movie: Yosemite -- A Gathering of Spirit (directed and narrated by Ken Burns; written and produced by Dayton Duncan). On Friday evening, the conference will include a special screening of a short documentary film, produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the landmark federal act signed by Abraham Lincoln that preserved Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. The movie is the most recent joint project of documentarian Ken Burns and environmental author Dayton Duncan, whose earlier collaborations include celebrated documentaries on the national park system and the dust bowl. The screening will include remarks by Kassandra Hardy, the National Park Service’s Yosemite project manager. The film is a production of the Yosemite Conservancy, a philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to Yosemite National Park.

Friday Plenary Speakers: Alex Wang and Richard Corey. The theme of the Friday morning plenary session is "Environmental Reforms in China and California-China Cooperation on Climate Change." The session will feature two keynote speakers, Alex Wang and Richard Corey. Alex Wang, a professor at UCLA Law School, is a leading expert on California and Chinese environmental issues. Before joining the UCLA faculty, he served for almost six years as the founding director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s China Environmental Law and Governance Project. Richard Corey is Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board. With decades of experience addressing a wide variety of air quality issues, he oversees a team responsible for a broad range of programs including those concerning fuels, climate, incentives, and air toxics.

Saturday Plenary Speaker: Felicia Marcus. On Saturday morning, the subject of the plenary session is "California Water: Where We Are, and Where We Ought to Go." The keynote speaker will be Felicia Marcus, Chair of California’s State Water Resources Control Board. Before her appointment to the State Board, she served as the NRDC’s Western Director and the Executive Vice President/ Chief Operating Officer of the Trust for Public Land. During the Clinton Administration, she served as Regional Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region IX. While at EPA, she became known for bringing unlikely allies together for environmental progress and making the agency more responsive to the communities it serves.

Sunday Plenary Speaker: Mike Feuer. The Sunday morning plenary session provides an urban perspective on environmental law and policy. The keynote speaker will be Mike Feuer, the Los Angeles City Attorney, who brings a collaborative, problem-solving approach to the city attorney’s office. He previously served as the Majority Policy Leader of the California Assembly and Chair of the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. In his years of public service, he has developed a reputation as an environmental leader and received numerous awards for his work to protect public health and the environment, including the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters’ Smith-Weiss Environmental Champion Award.

The State Bar of California 87th Annual Meeting, September 11-14, 2014, Grand Hyatt San Diego

The State Bar of California 87th Annual Meeting
September 11-14, 2014
San Diego, California

Annual Meeting PreviewYou can now REGISTER ONLINE for the Annual Meeting.
Early-bird Pre-Registration Deadline (Save $100): August 13

The State Bar of California returns to San Diego for the 2014 Annual Meeting. The new meeting logo “My Annual Meeting” simply states that this is your annual meeting: an event for legal professionals that blends business, education, entertainment and the opportunity to meet and engage with law professionals from throughout California.

The four-day meeting will showcase an education agenda consisting of 143 MCLE seminars covering a variety of substantive topics, legal technology, access to justice, UPL, attorney advertising, and other key areas of interest.

The Annual Meeting Preview is now online! Be sure to see Special Events for information about luncheons, social events, the California Women Lawyers Annual DinnerAnnual Exhibit Show62st Annual Bench & Bar Art ExhibitConference of California Bar Associations (CCBA), and Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities. See Hotel and Travel for information about the Annual Meeting hotels, airline and rental car discounts.See the schedules for individual days for a chronological list of all programs, with descriptions: Schedule for ThursdaySchedule for FridaySchedule for SaturdaySchedule for Sunday.

The Section is presenting:

Program 35

CEQA Guidelines for the 21st Century: Updates Headed Your Way

Program 49

California Legal Issues Over Hydraulic Fracturing of Oil and Gas Wells

Program 80

Air Quality Regulatory Changes: What’s in the Air for Business and Consumers

Program 114

What You Need to Know About Industrial Storm Water Permits

We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

Register Now for Takings Conference at U.C. Davis School of Law, Friday September 19, 2014

Takings Conference

The Environmental Law Section is proud to be co-sponsoring the takings conference that will be hosted by the U.C. Davis School of Law and its California Environmental Law & Policy Center on Friday, September 19, 2012. The conference will focus on the relationship between property rights protected under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment and federal, state and local environmental and land use regulations. The 17th annual conference, "Litigating Takings Challenges to Land Use and Environmental Regulations," is the most prominent event of its kind in the U.S., and brings together a diverse group of the nation’s top takings/property rights attorneys, scholars and government regulators.

In addition to offering a basic education in modern takings law, the conference will discuss the practical implications of several of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent takings decisions and key pending court cases. National experts will also discuss the new, hotly-contested idea of using government’s eminent domain power to take over underwater residential mortgages. Other major topics at the September 19thconference will include potential takings issues associated with water management, and possible takings claims that may arise from government efforts to adapt to climate change. 8.5 hours of California CLE credit will be provided to attendees. Further information and registration forms may be found at HERE. This conference is also jointly sponsored by the U.C. Davis School of Law, Vermont Law School and the Georgetown University Law Center.

Environmental Law Update -- January-March 2014

Since 1999, the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California has sponsored the Environmental Law Section Update. The Update reports quarterly on recent Federal and California case law of note, as well as significant legislative and regulatory developments. The Update is a member benefit posted in our members-only area.

Click HERE to go directly to The Update and enter your State Bar Number and password. If you haven't created an account on My State Bar Profile, you can do so at https://members.calbar.ca.gov.

For an expanded discussion of this and other state and federal environmental cases from January-March, follow the links below.

Any questions regarding The Update should be directed to Cyndy Day-Wilson at cday-wilson@ci.eureka.ca.gov.

Environmental Law Section to Award Its Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to the Late Professor Joseph L. Sax

Joseph SaxThe Environmental Law Section is honored to present its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Professor Joseph L. Sax, a true pioneer in the development of environmental law who passed away on March 9th of this year. The Section has established this award, to be presented annually, to recognize California environmental lawyers who have contributed to the field of environmental law over a sustained period, achieved excellence in the practice of environmental law, and provided legal services with high ethics and collegiality.

Prof. Sax was selected to receive this inaugural award from a large pool of highly qualified candidates due to his significant and profound role in shaping modern environmental law. Prof. Sax was the principal voice behind the modern application of the public trust doctrine to the protection of natural resources, and he was a renowned expert on water, endangered species, and regulatory takings law. As a teacher, he has been a mentor and inspiration to many current and environmental lawyers, and as an author of works such as Mountains without Handrails and Playing Darts with a Rembrandt, his influence will continue to inspire future generations of environmental lawyers. The Environmental Law Section will formally present the award at the Saturday night banquet at this year’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®, where Prof. Sax’s daughters will be on hand to receive it on his behalf.

It's Easy To Be Green: How To Sign Onto The State Bar Eco-Pledge -- And Get Recognized at the Yosemite Conference!

Lawyers for a Sustainable CaliforniaHave you wondered what more your office can do to reduce energy and resource demands? Law offices in all sectors are taking steps to be more sustainable in their operations. Saving energy and resources not only supports sustainability goals, impressing clients and elevates employee morale. These efforts can also translate into significant cost savings for the operation.

If your firm or law office is working to become more sustainable, or wants to do so, in just three easy steps your law practice can sign onto the California State Bar Eco-Pledge. Once it does, your organization can use the State Bar Eco-Pledge Logo on firm materials to demonstrate this commitment to sustainability.

Step 1: Review the Voluntary State Bar of California Lawyers Eco-Pledge and Model Law Office Sustainability Guidelines. Adopted by the Board of Governors, these Guidelines include a list of specific means to conserve, reuse, recycle and reduce the use of supplies, energy and natural resources. The Guidelines cover a range of issues, including the following:

  • Educate Staff
  • Reduce paper use
  • Use sustainable service providers
  • Eliminate disposable items
  • Reuse/recycle equipment and supplies
  • Reduce toxic chemicals
  • Use and encourage “green” meetings
  • Reduce water usage
  • Reduce energy use
  • Develop sustainable IT practices
  • Purchase sustainable products
  • Provide commuter incentives
  • Engage in sustainability related public service consumption
  • Participate in programs that encourage best practices
  • Carpool, bike and public transit
  • Recycle paper

Step 2: Assign someone at the firm to take the lead on implementing the policy (as is feasible for the individual firm) and commit to educate employees about the policy.

Step 3: Take the Eco-Pledge! Fill out the simple one-page form and submit it to the Environmental Law Section.

The Eco-Pledge is voluntary and there are no inspections or compliance audits, but the simple act of putting someone at the firm in charge of the issue, educating employees about the measures that have been implemented, and revisiting the commitment annually will translate into increased sustainability of your operations in addition to cost savings to your firm.

The nearly 40 law firms that have already taken the Eco-Pledge are listed on our Section website. In addition, we will be providing special recognition at this year’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite to all the firms that have taken the Eco-Pledge and determined that sustainability is core to their business. We urge those offices that are interested in sustainability to sign up now and receive recognition at the Conference. You too can be green. Take the initiative and take the State Bar Eco-Pledge!

Environmental Law Section Receives For People Of Color, Inc.’s 2014 Diversity Award

For People of Color, Inc.Alexander “Sandy” Crockett, Chair of the Environmental Law Section Executive Committee, and several other current and former Committee members, were recently on hand to accept For People of Color, Inc.’s (FPOC) 2014 Diversity Award, which was given to the State Bar of California Environmental Law Section in recognition of its “demonstrated and sustained commitment to diversifying the profession.”

FPOC ReceptionAs Section Chair, Sandy stated that "It is a great honor for the Environmental Law Section to be recognized for its continued commitment to diversity, which is an important element of the Section’s mission statement." The Section presents a highly acclaimed Environmental Conference at Yosemite each October, has provided scholarships and fellowships to numerous diverse and other students and professionals, and has partnered with FPOC and others at various events.

FPOC provides free, high-quality law school admissions consulting services to thousands of prospective law school applicants.FPOC has been widely recognized as a leader in its efforts to diversify the profession by addressing “pipeline” issues. Its workshops and publications are open to all students, but its efforts are premised on a belief that assisting students of color in accessing law schools and the legal profession is one of the best ways to realize the goal of a California bar more that more closely reflects the state’s diverse population. FPOC has been credited with assisting diverse students gain admission to the country’s most selective law schools.

The presentation was a part of the "A Night Out With FPOC" event held on the evening of July 10th at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. At this event, FPOC also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Eva Paterson, President & Co-Founder of the Equal Justice Society, and a Trailblazer Award to Attorney Sergio C. Garcia.

See more photos on the Sections & CYLA Facebook page.

The State of California and Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols to Receive Environmental Law Institute's 2014 Environmental Achievement Award

Mary NicholsThe Environmental Law Institute (ELI), a widely respected environmental law and policy organization based in Washington, D.C., has announced that it will present its 2014 Environmental Achievement Award to the State of California and Mary D. Nichols, the Chairman of the California Air Resources Board. This is the first time in the award’s 30-year history that ELI has honored a state. ELI will present the award at the organization’s annual award dinner on October 21 in Washington, D.C.

ELI announced that it has chosen Chairman Nichols and California for the award in recognition of "their decades of remarkable leadership in advancing innovative programs to protect and enhance the environment and our natural resources, combat climate change, and transition to a new energy economy." ELI Chair Edward L. Strohbehn Jr. explained that "Mary Nichols and California are pioneers in protecting our plant from environmental threats. Their achievements are legendary. They are leading us to a better future." ELI President John C. Cruden added that "Mary Nichols and the State of California represent the gold standard of our profession, achieving significant progress through different Administrations, leading, advancing, and protecting human health and the environment." ELI also identified a number of significant California environmental initiatives that have established our state as a leader, including AB 32, the 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard, our State Air Quality Program, the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act, and CEQA, among others. California’s environmental lawyers are only one part of our state’s efforts to become environmental leader in the country and the world. But we should all be very proud of the role that we play in moving California forward and of the recognition that ELI is giving to our state in this area.

New Officers and Members Appointed to Environmental Law Section Executive Committee

The Environmental Law Section’s Executive Committee is proud to announce its new officers for the 2014-2015 term:

Chair: Gideon Kracov, Los Angeles
Vice-Chair: Howard F. “Chip” Wilkins III, Sacramento
Secretary: Christopher Calfee, Sacramento
Treasurer: Amy E. Gaylord, San Francisco

In addition, the Board of Trustees has appointed the following 5 new members to the Committee for the 2014-2017 term:

K. Eric Adair, Valencia
Nicole H. Gordon, Los Angeles
Michael R. Leslie, Los Angeles
Ryan R. Waterman, San Diego
Jonathan Welner, San Francisco

The Executive Committee is made up of 15-17 Section members who serve staggered 3-year terms. Section members who are interested in joining the Executive Committee are invited to apply. Applications are normally due around February 1st of each year, and final appointment decisions are made by the Board of Trustees during the summer based on recommendations from the current Committee. Application materials for next year’s new member positions will be available on the Section’s website closer to the due date.

In Case You Missed It -- Past Webinars Available Online!

Did you know that the Section’s Webinars are available at low cost to view on line? Have you ever wanted CLE credit on topics that actually interest you? Was there a presentation you wanted to attend but just couldn’t make your schedule cooperate? If so, never fear! Almost 40 (and that number is growing) Environmental Law Section Webinars are available on line, including titles such as "CEQA 101 -- Learn the Basics!", "Beyond 2020: How Will California Meet its 2050 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals?" and many others. See Environmental Law Section Courses in the Online Catalog to find a program of interest to you.

Four Hours of Self-Study CLE in Legal Ethics -- Complimentary for Members of the Environmental Law Section!

The Section thanks you for your membership!As a 2014 benefit of Section membership, we are pleased to offer four hours of MCLE credit in the field of Legal Ethics. That's enough to fulfill the Ethics requirement.

If you were purchasing these courses individually in our Online Catalog, they would cost $140 -- so that's your Section membership more than paid for, and then some!

Just watch these programs, and keep a record of having done so in the event you're audited for MCLE compliance.

You can access these programs and the accompanying written materials any time this year in the Members Only Area.

The programs are:

  • Avoiding the State Bar Disciplinary System
  • Client Trust Accounting Fundamentals
  • Ethical Implications for Lawyers in Cyberspace and Social Media
  • Ethics and Civility: Want an Extension? Forget about It!

Berkeley and UCLA Law Students Take First and Second Place in the Environmental Law Section Student Negotiation Competition Held at UCLA School of Law on March 21, 2014

Eighteen teams of two from law schools across the State competed in this year's Student Negotiation Competition at UCLA School of Law on March 21, 2014. The students competed in two rounds of negotiations involving fictitious environmental law issues Judged by attorney volunteers on several factors related to their negotiation skills, the top four teams after two rounds advanced to a final round. Based on the total score of all three rounds, the Berkeley team was named the first place winner, and the UCLA team took second place. These teams won prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively. The top ten performing teams were:

  1. UC Berkeley School of Law (Team B), Andrew Coghlan and Francis Choi
  2. UCLA School of Law (Team E), Heather Leslie and Ryan Berghoff
  3. Chapman University, Fowler School of Law (Team K), Ali Razavi and Brandon Howard
  4. Santa Clara University School of Law (Team A), Victoria Loomis and William McAdoo
  5. UC Berkeley School of Law (Team C)
  6. California Northern School of Law (Team D)
  7. California Western School of Law (Team G)
  8. Whittier Law School (Team R)
  9. Thomas Jefferson School of Law (Team M)
  10. Golden Gate University School of Law (Team F)

Update Your State Bar Profile Online

Were you aware of the feature on the State Bar's website that allows you to add a photo and otherwise expand your State Bar profile? Using a secure link within My State Bar Profile, attorneys may add information to their public record to include area(s) of practice, any additional language(s) spoken, their law firm’s website address and a photo.  To get started, log in to My State Bar Profile, and click on the “Expanded Profile” link.

Follow the Sections and CYLA on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn!




Like us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter. Connect with us on LinkedIn!

Social media, anyone? The Sections and the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) now have a page on Facebook, Twitter and a new LinkedIn account, where we can keep you up-to-date on our latest news and events.

We're also looking forward to interacting with a wider community and reaching out to people who are not currently members.

We invite you to "Like" us and follow our "Tweets. "

And by the way, the CYLA definition of "young" is any California attorney under the age of 36 or in their first five years of practice.

Members Only Area

 The Environmental Law Section is pleased to offer a members only area, including online issues of Environmental Law News and Environmental Law Update. Our new members only area also includes a number of other benefits available through My State Bar Profile. For more information, see Members Only Area.

Save money with CEB

CEB Discount Program for Section MembersContinuing Education of the Bar, California (CEB) is extending a special offer to our section. As a member of the Environmental Law Section, you're eligible for a rebate on your section dues that can be applied to the cost of a CEB Gold CLE Passport or a CLE program ticket. Information about the section dues rebate program can be found on the CEB Web site.

Contact Us

Environmental Law Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
FAX 415-538-2368