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Environment & Natural Resources

We have experience in both advising clients on compliance with environmental laws and litigating disputes on their behalf.  We have handled a diverse range of complex subjects, including project environmental review and litigation (CEQA/NEPA); brownfields development, environmental contamination and clean up (CERCLA); waste-to-energy technologies; recycling (AB939); wastewater sanitation (Clean Water Act); habitat conservation, Endangered Species Act; and storm water discharge regulation (NPDES).

We have worked with major consulting firms who prepare Environmental Impact Reports and review all environmental documents to ensure legal compliance.  We have reviewed and updated agency guidelines for CEQA compliance.


  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Oil Pollution Act and Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act
  • Hazardous Waste – reuse of contaminated sites
  • Brownfields development
  • Polanco Act (Health and Safety Code § 33459 et seq.)
  • Environmental insurance
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Programs
  • Clean Water Act
  • Recycling
  • Open Space and hillside conservation

Expertise in Action

We have a record of successfully defending our clients in environmental litigation, often stopping lawsuits before they happen.  In 2004 we defended the City of Palm Springs in four environmental lawsuits and obtained favorable determinations in every case.  More recently, we defended the City of Carson in a CEQA challenge to an $800,000,000 project, securing victory on all grounds.

Over the past 30 years we have assisted Signal Hill in developing its Auto Center, which is in the middle of a former oil field.  Virtually every parcel had contamination issues involving abandoned or active oil production.  We utilized innovative clean-up and financing strategies, developed relationships with the applicable regulatory agencies, created risk-sharing agreements, and helped develop new legal powers through State law.  The result is a vibrant Auto Center producing $3,000,000 per year in revenue to the City.

We represented the Carson Redevelopment Agency in an enforcement action by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) where we obtained a $100,000 PRP settlement in a $5,000,000 liability action.

We have a great deal of experience with Endangered Species issues, including the two Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Programs in the Coachella Valley and in Western Riverside County.  These habitat conservation programs cover as much as 1800 sq. miles with over 700,000 acres conserved, in 22 defined areas and protecting 27 plant and animal species.  They are examples of the regional and local environmental issues facing cities where our expertise is helpful.

We have experience dealing with federal, state and regional agencies, such as the Air Quality Management District (AQMD), Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), Water Replenishment District (WRD), Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), DTSC, and Department of Fish and Game.