ENVIRONMENTAL LAW SECTION
News from the Section
The Environmental Law Section Executive Committee has just returned from our annual planning retreat, and we have a number of exciting educational programs in the works to serve our members.
This edition of eNews reports on several of these, including a February 27th webinar on How a Bill Becomes a Law in Sacramento, a three-day Sierra Water Summit beginning on June 11, and our tri annual Private Enforcement Conference, which will be held on June 28th in downtown Oakland. Also, make sure to calendar in October 25th -- 27th for this year’s Yosemite conference!
I encourage you to attend these events and also to consider volunteering to assist in our 14th Annual Student Environmental Negotiations Competition“, which will take place on March 15, 2013, in San Francisco.. Many of our current and former Ex Comm members, including Vice Chair Ethan Elkind and Immediate Past Chair Beth Collins-Burgard, first became involved in our section as students participating in this competition.
If you have questions or comments on eNews, or want to participate or volunteer for the section, please feel free to contact me.
Chair, Environmental Law Section Executive Committee
Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP
Environmental Law Update -- October-December 2012
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 a discussion of state and federal environmental cases from October to December, follow the links below.
Any questions regarding The Update
should be directed to Cyndy Day-Wilson at email@example.com
Craters, Climbing and Condors: Congress Adds Pinnacles as Newest National Park!
Pinnacles became the Nation’s 59th National Park on January 12th after President Obama signed H.R. 3641. Pinnacles is California’s ninth National Park, joining Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Lassen Volcano, Redwood, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and Channel Islands. Pinnacles is the first National Park named since 2004 when Great Sand Dunes, Colorado was added and the first within California since Joshua Tree and Death Valley were both added in 1994.
Pinnacles is located east of the Salinas Valley, about five miles from Soledad, and can be accessed either from the east via Highway 25 and Highway 146 or from the west via Highway 101 and Highway 146. There is no through-road that connects the east and west entrances of the park.
Two of the major activities at Pinnacles are hiking and climbing, but its primary attraction is geology.
Pinnacles encompasses about 26,000 acres and includes remnants of an extinct volcano that formed roughly 23 million years ago near the City of Lancaster in the Antelope Valley. At its peak, it reached a size of about fifteen miles long, five miles wide, and eight thousand feet high. After a tectonic plate jump (from the North American plate to the Pacific plate), about 2/3 of the Pinnacles volcano rode the Pacific plate nearly 200 miles to the northwest along the San Andreas fault to reach its present location. The dormant volcano then sunk into a graben (aka geologic ditch). Over time, erosion took its toll, chipping away certain materials and leaving the pillars, steep ravines, massive walls, and other features that Pinnacles is known for. The highest point in Pinnacles today, North Chalone Peak, is about 3000 feet high. As is apparent, there has been a fair amount of geological drama over the past 23 million years that led to Congress establishing Pinnacles as a National Park.
Pinnacles is also part of the Condor Recovery Program and thirty two condors are domiciled at Pinnacles (you can learn more about the condor program). (Photo courtesy of USFWS)
Pinnacles had been a National Monument since 1908, and the transition to a National Park did not change the size of the park or its budget. The change is not expected to have a significant effect on management or operations, although in a quirk of timing Pinnacles was in the midst of an update to its management plan when it made the transition from National Monument to National Park. In fact, the due date for public comment on the General Management Plan and Environmental Assessment of Pinnacles National Monument had been set at January 11, 2013, one day before it became a National Park.
So plan your trip. A good place to start is the NPS website.
Events of Interest
Webinar: CEQA 102 – Deferred Mitigation
Friday, May 31, 2013, 12 noon - 1 p.m.
This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit . You must register in advance in order to participate.
CEQA requires environmental documents to describe feasible measures that can minimize significant adverse impacts of a particular project undergoing evaluation. Under CEQA Guidelines, identified mitigation measures must be fully enforceable through permit conditions, agreements, or other binding instruments. Despite this seemingly straightforward rule, it can be challenging to determine whether identified mitigation measures are sufficiently concrete or rather whether their formulation has been impermissibly deferred to a later date. This webinar will review the policies underlying the rule against deferred mitigation, and the evolution of the case law applying the rule. The presenters will explore real-life mitigation measures approved and rejected by the courts to illuminate best practices. They will also address the role of future studies and plans in defining mitigation, and discuss the role that future regulatory agency approvals may play in shaping a final mitigation program.
Speakers: Susan Brandt-Hawley and Barbara Schussman
Environmental Law Section Private Enforcement Conference, Oakland
June 28, 2013 -- Save the Date!
The 2013 Private Enforcement Conference will be held on June 28, 2013 at the Elihu Harris Building in Oakland, CA. Conference participants will learn the most salient and timely issues surrounding the prosecution and defense of citizens’ suits. Our keynote speaker will be Matthew Rodriquez, CalEPA Secretary, who will speak about the importance of citizen enforcement in protecting public health and the environment. There will be a number of panel discussions at this all-day event to explore recent case law in citizens’ suits, challenges to bringing suits, common defenses and standing issues. The panels will cover citizens’ suits in the context of CEQA, NEPA, CWA, Coastal Act and other environmental laws.
Your Voice: Sierra Water Summit June 2013
Your Voice is an initiative of the Environmental Law Section that encourages citizens to participate in environmental decision making that affects their communities. Programs provide information about statutory schemes, applicable regulations and agencies, hearing procedures and effective ways in which to frame a message or voice concerns.
This year, Your Voice will be co-sponsoring the second Sierra Water Summit. The Sierra Water Summit will be held in King’s Beach, California on June 11th through the 13th. Members of the public, local officials and managers and NGO representations will gather to discuss a variety of issues relating to water quality and management in the Sierra Nevada region. Sessions will consider the impact of the Bay Delta Plan on upstream users, delivery of high quality water supplies and wastewater treatment systems to disadvantaged communities, tribal water issues and water rights and public trust law. Members of the Environmental Law Section will participate in the summit, addressing the legal principles and mechanisms which apply to these topics and MCLE credit will be available to practitioners who attend.
We will be posting more details on the Your Voice event in upcoming eNews so stay tuned!
News from Sacramento: Committee Assignments Announced
On January 3, 2013 John H. Perez, the Speaker of the California Assembly, announced the Committee assignments and calendar for the Regular Session. This was followed on January 7, 2013 by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg announcing his proposed committee memberships, which were later approved by Senate Rules. Interest in Committee assignments was heightened by the addition of 38 brand new freshman members to the California Assembly -- the largest freshman class since 1934. There were a few notable changes to sizes of several of the environmental Committees. Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee was reduced from 9 to 7 members while Senate Environmental Quality was expanded from 7 to 9 members and Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife was increased from 13 to 15.
Committee Assignments can be found at:
Congratulations to the 2013 Student Negotiations Competition Winners!
The 2013 Student Negotiations Competition took place on Friday, March 15, 2013 at Golden Gate University, 536 Mission Street, San Francisco.The winning team received a cash prize of $1,000; the second place team, $500. Both the first and second place teams received recognition in the State Bar of California’s Environmental Law Section Newsletter.All students entered in the competition receive one year’s complimentary membership in the Environmental Law Section.
||UC Berkeley #2
||Thomas Jefferson #2
||California Western #2
||Golden Gate #2
The Sections and CYLA Are Now on Facebook and Twitter
Social media, anyone? The Sections and the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) now have a page on Facebook and a new Twitter 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.
MCLE Credit From the Environmental Law Section
See our Educational Opportunities page for information on how you can get participatory MCLE credit for listening to or viewing Environmental Law Section programs online, or self-study credit for listening to tapes of Environmental Law Section programs.
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
Continuing 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.
Environmental Law Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639