More Presentations & Publications

  • Forward-Thinking Series on Interconnection: Greentech Media has published a second blog in a series by SMW, written on behalf of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, addressing renewable energy interconnection. This time around, SMW attorney Erica McConnell talks about the importance of clear timelines in keeping the interconnection process moving forward. Read more here.  
  • 2016 CLE International 12th Annual CEQA Conference: Robert “Perl” Perlmutter is scheduled to co-present the annual CEQA Case Law and Legislative Update on December 12, 2016.  
  • Bar Association of San Francisco: On November 3, 2016, Catherine Engberg spoke on a panel entitled “The nuts & bolts of CEQA litigation: challenging and defending an EIR, Policy Analysis: is CEQA achieving its social and environmental goals?”  
  • Napa County’s Winery Definition Ordinance Seminar: On November 2, 2016, Robert “Perl” Perlmutter spoke on a panel regarding “Environmental Review and Conditions of Approval” at an all-day seminar on Napa County’s Winery Definition Ordinance and Implications for Other Winery Markets.  
  • Livable Communities Advisory Team, AARP, Sacramento, CA: On November 1, 2016, Catherine Engberg presented on the topic of “CEQA Pros and Cons” and engaged in a discussion of challenges (unrelated to CEQA) that restrict affordable housing production.   
  • 2016 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite: On October 26, 2016, Robert “Perl” Perlmutter spoke at the State of California Environmental Law Section’s annual conference at Yosemite, on a panel entitled: CEQA and the People’s Voice: Developer-sponsored Ballot Measures. Mr. Perlmutter served on a similar panel at the 89th Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California earlier in October  
  • International Municipal Lawyers Association Annual Conference, San Diego: On September 30, 2016, Andrew Schwartz and Sarah Sigman spoke about the state of redevelopment and eminent domain in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London decision.   
  • Forward-Thinking Series on Interconnection: SMW has launched a series of articles on Greentech Media, written on behalf of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, highlighting key emerging issues and innovative solutions to achieve clean energy goals. Read the first article in the series, by SMW attorney Catherine Malina, here.   
  • Public Agency Update (Summer 2016): Energy impacts, and how to analyze them under CEQA, are now front and center in the courts. SMW attorneys Ellen Garber and Erica McConnell review this emerging body of law, and provide guidance to lead agencies about their energy-related obligations with regard to new projects.    -Read more-
  • Public Agency Update (Summer 2016): As renewable energy prices drop, many local governments are wondering how to help their residents reap the benefits of clean energy. SMW attorney Erica McConnell provides an overview of options that local governments have for improving access to renewable energy and bringing its benefits to their communities.   -Read more-
  • Public Agency Update (Summer 2016): Community choice aggregators (CCAs) have increased in popularity over the past 5 years, especially with local governments interested in a cleaner energy supply and more control. SMW law clerk Alexander Tom and attorney Erica McConnell describe CCA basics and offer tips to local governments considering this option.   -Read more-
  • Trailer Bill 707 Alert: The California Legislature is poised to consider Trailer Bill 707—a proposal by Governor Brown’s office to require “by right” approval of certain residential developments. SMW attorney Ellison Folk provides an overview of the bill and its potential to greatly limit local control over land use.    -Read more-
  • Public Agency Update (Spring 2016): In Ardon v. City of Los Angeles, the California Supreme Court found that public agencies do not waive exemptions when they inadvertently disclose confidential documents in response to a Public Records Act request. SMW Attorney Heather Minner reviews the practical limits of this ruling and best practices to avoid disclosing confidential documents in the first place.   -Read more-
  • Public Agency Update (Spring 2016): With last year’s enactment of AB 52, it is more important than ever for public agencies to consult with Native American tribes about the impacts of upcoming CEQA projects. SMW Attorney Tori Ballif Gibbons provides a comprehensive summary of AB 52’s requirements, as well as best practice suggestions to help agencies cultivate efficient but meaningful consultation relationships.    -Read more-
  • Public Agency Update (Winter 2016): In Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a sign ordinance as an unconstitutional restriction on speech, calling into question the constitutionality of other ordinances across the country. SMW Attorney Winter King offers a guide to updating sign ordinances in light of Reed.    -Read more-
  • Public Agency Update (Winter 2016): SMW prevailed for the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency when the Court of Appeal upheld a favorable eminent domain jury verdict in SAFCA v. Dhaliwal. SMW Attorneys Catherine Engberg and Andrew Schwartz explain how this case clarifies important evidentiary rules about the jury’s determination of “just compensation.”    -Read more-
  • San Francisco Daily Journal: The January 21, 2016 issue of the Daily Journal featured an article by Andrew Schwartz entitled Regulatory Takings and Climate Change. The article contends that the regulatory takings doctrine is unwarranted and could interfere with efforts to arrest climate change. The article is a condensed version of Mr. Schwartz’s recent article in the Stanford Environmental Law Journal. Read more.   
  • Stanford Environmental Law Journal: The latest issue of Stanford Law School’s Environmental Law Journal featured an article by Andrew Schwartz entitled No Competing Theory of Constitutional Interpretation Justifies Regulatory Takings Ideology. The article contends that that the regulatory takings doctrine is unwarranted primarily because it conflicts with core values of the Constitution, such as liberty, equality, and democracy. Read more.  
  • American Planning Association Magazine: The July 2015 APA Planning Magazine featured an article by Andrew Schwartz and co-author Richard Grosso on Lessons from Koontz, containing suggestions for planners and public officials to avoiding liability for regulatory takings in the aftermath of Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. Read more.  
  • State Bar Conference on Water in the San Joaquin Valley: On April 24, 2015, Catherine Engberg spoke on a panel at a community conference sponsored by the Environmental Law Section held in Fresno entitled “Fracking in the San Joaquin Valley: What Does It Mean to You and Your Water Supply?”. Catherine’s presentation focused on local efforts by cities and counties to ban or regulate fracking and other enhanced recovery techniques.   
  • Crude by Rail: On April 7, 2015 Laurel Impett co-authored an opinion column on the air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and public safety risks associated with expansion of the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo to accommodate increased shipments of crude by rail.   
  • Public Service Law: The Spring 2015 issue of the Stanford Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law newsletter featured Catherine Engberg and described her path from environmental engineering to land use and public agency law.  
  • GMO Symposium: On February 23, 2015, Catherine Engberg gave a presentation on local land use measures that ban or limit genetically modified (GMO) crops at the UC Hastings Symposium entitled Food Fight: the Legal Battle over GMOs.  
  • UCLA 29th Annual Land Use Law & Planning Conference: On January 30, 2015, Amy Bricker spoke on a panel entitled “CEQA 2014,” providing an overview of the year’s relevant decisions under the California Environmental Quality Act.   
  • County Counsels’ Association Meeting: On November 6, 2014, Catherine Engberg presented on the topic of local voter initiatives banning fracking at the Southern California County Counsels’ Association Meeting in Borrego Springs, CA.  
  • Environmental Law News: Heather Minner and Peter Broderick published “Local Control of Oil and Gas Operations: Getting a Handle on Fracking and Cyclic Steaming Through Land Use Prohibitions, Moratoria, Discretionary Permits, and Citizen Initiatives” in the Fall 2014 issue of Environmental Law News. The article appeared following the successful passage of Measure J, drafted by SMW, which banned fracking in San Benito County.  
  • 2014 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite: Two firm members spoke in mid-October at the State of California Environmental Law Section’s annual environmental law conference at Yosemite. Robert “Perl” Perlmutter spoke on a panel entitled: “Where’s the Line? Ethical Tensions between Public Disclosure, Our Duties as Lawyers, and Constitutional Rights.” Heather Minner spoke on a panel regarding hydraulic fracking entitled: “Recent Developments in the Regulation of Fracking at the Local, State, and Federal Levels.”  
  • 10th Annual CEQA: Practice Guidance & Case Law: Robert “Perl” Perlmutter spoke in December at CLE International’s annual CEQA conference, co-presenting the Year in Review panel on “CEQA Case Law and Legislative Update.”  
  • Vermont Law School: On September 19, 2014, Andrew Schwartz was a presenter on Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District and its impact on Inclusionary Housing at the 17th Annual Conference on Regulatory Takings sponsored by Vermont Law School at the University of California at Davis Law School. Matt Zinn and Andrew Schwartz also presented on condemnation of underwater mortgages at the conference.   
  • Appraisal Institute: On September 17, 2014, Andrew Schwartz was a presenter on Carbon, Climate & California Policy: Land Use and Value Implications of SB 375 at the 2014 Annual Fall Conference of the Appraisal Institute, in San Francisco, California.  
  • State Bar of California Annual Meeting: On September 13, 2014, Matthew Zinn gave a presentation, “Regulatory Takings: The Effects of Recent Supreme Court Decisions,” about the significance of Koontz v. St. John River Water Management District at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California in San Diego, CA. At that same conference, Robert “Perl” Perlmutter gave a presentation on the California Environmental Quality Act, entitled “What’s Hot in CEQA.”   
  • Georgetown Climate Center: On September 10, 2014, Andrew Schwartz was a presenter on strategies for exactions for a national Webinar sponsored by the Climate Center of Georgetown University on Development Exactions & Climate Change: Uncertainties and Opportunities after Koontz.  
  • Daily Journal “Perspective”: On May 28, 2014, the Daily Journal published “Fracking bans respond to real concerns” by Rachel Hooper and Catherine Engberg. The article describes the environmental consequences of fracking and other extreme extraction activities, and explains why cities and counties may legally ban such land uses.   
  • “In Practice” Publication: On April 14, 2014, the Recorder published “GIS maps are fair game” by Joseph Petta and Catherine Engberg. The article provides tips on obtaining GIS mapping data under the California Public Records Act.  
  • UCLA Extension Public Policy Program: On January 31, 2014, Andrew Schwartz presented a paper and debated recent developments in Regulatory Takings law at the UCLA Extension Public Policy Program, 28th Annual Land Use Law & Planning Conference in Los Angeles, CA.  
  • Testimony in U.S. House of Representatives: At the invitation of Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Constitution, Andrew Schwartz, Matthew Zinn, and Seph Petta submitted written testimony opposing a House Resolution that would restrict the use of eminent domain for redevelopment of blighted, economically distressed, and polluted urban areas. Click here to read testimony.  
  • CEQA and SB 375 Training: On November 2, 2013, Catherine Engberg and firm planner Carmen Borg led a CEQA training in Oakhurst sponsored by the Sierra Club Tehipite Chapter, with a grant from the Rose Foundation. The training focused on Sustainable Communities Strategy planning under SB 375.   
  • SMW Sponsors Centro Legal Gala: SMW was a co-sponsor of the Centro Legal de la Raza’s 44th Anniversary Gala, held on April 12, 2013. The gala celebrated the organization’s history of building healthy communities, as well as the graduating seniors of the Centro Legal’s Youth Law Academy, a three-year leadership development and college preparation program for Oakland teens.   
  • Pending CEQA Legislation Presentation: On March 9, 2013, Erin Chalmers gave a presentation on proposed CEQA legislative changes at the Bay Area Audubon chapter council meeting.  
  • Mitigation Summit: On January 24, 2013, at the California Council of Land Trusts’ California Mitigation Summit, Matthew Zinn spoke on a panel about mitigation requirements for the loss of farmland.  
  • PCL Symposium: On January 12, 2013, at the annual Planning and Conservation League Symposium, Amy Bricker spoke on a panel about the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and in-fill development, and Matthew Zinn spoke on a panel about the protection of agricultural land under CEQA.   
  • Community CEQA/NEPA Training: Ellen Garber, Richard Taylor, and Carmen Borg, one of the firm’s planners, led a two-day workshop on effective CEQA and NEPA practices in November. Madera County sponsored the workshop with a grant from the Rose Foundation for local governments, community groups, consultants, and local businesses.  
  • “California in the Sunshine Laws” Workshop: On September 22, 2012, Catherine Engberg led a workshop on state and federal open government laws sponsored by Orange County-based Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks.   
  • League of California Cities Land Use and CEQA Update: On September 6, 2012, Andrew Schwartz delivered the Land Use and CEQA update to the League’s annual Fall Conference in San Diego.   
  • League of California Cities Land Use and CEQA Update: On May 2, 2012, Andrew Schwartz delivered the Land Use and CEQA update to the League’s annual Spring Conference in Los Angeles.   
  • SMW Sponsors Land Trust Conference: SMW co-sponsored the California Council of Land Trusts’ 2012 California Land Conservation Conference. The conference, which is California’s largest conservation gathering, featured a variety of workshops and roundtable discussions on protecting the state’s most important lands and waters.   
  • SMW Sponsors Centro Legal Gala: SMW co-sponsored the Centro Legal de la Raza’s 43rd Anniversary Gala, “Embracing Future Leaders of Color,” held on April 18, 2012. The gala honored the graduating seniors of the Centro Legal’s Youth Law Academy, a three-year leadership development and college preparation program for Oakland teens.   
  • Hastings Takings Lecture: On February 28, 2012, Andrew Schwartz delivered a lecture at Hastings Law School on Regulatory Takings and Constitutional Interpretation.   
  • SMW Sponsors Environmental Justice Conference: SMW co-sponsored UC Berkeley’s Eighth Annual Environmental Justice Symposium. The symposium, “Overcoming Invisibility: Environmental Justice in Rural America,” featured panel discussions on clean energy on tribal lands, discriminatory siting of hazardous waste disposal, and access to clean drinking water in the Central Valley.  
  • Land Use Treatise Update: SMW attorneys Andrew Schwartz and Jackie Prange and their co-author Ken Bley completed an important update to the Continuing Education of the Bar’s California Land Use Practice treatise. The update addresses new cases and regulatory developments affecting development impact fees and real property dedications imposed as project mitigation.   
  • Conference on Regulatory Takings: On November 18, 2011, Andrew Schwartz moderated the 14th Annual Conference on Regulatory Takings sponsored by Vermont and Georgetown Law Schools in Washington D.C.  
  • State Bar Environmental Law Conference: On October 23, 2011, at the annual conference of the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California, Matthew Zinn gave a presentation on recent cases regarding mitigation for the loss of farmland.   
  • League of California Cities Land Use and CEQA Update: On September 22, 2011, Andrew Schwartz delivered the Land Use and CEQA update to the League’s annual Fall Conference at Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.  
  • SMW Presents CEQA Workshop to Placer County Activists and Officials: In June 2011, an attorney and a planner from SMW presented a workshop on the nuts and bolts of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to environmental activists in Placer County. The three-hour session, sponsored by the nonprofit Public Interest Coalition, included explanations of CEQA’s procedural requirements and fundamental principles.   -Read more-
  • CLE International CEQA Conference: Tamara Galanter spoke on General Plan EIRs at the CLE International CEQA Conference in San Francisco on August 25.  
  • League of California Cities Land Use and CEQA Update: On May 5, 2011, Andrew Schwartz delivered the Land Use and CEQA update to the League’s annual Spring Conference at the Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite.   
  • AICP Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Impacts: The 90-minute session taught participating planners the fundamental principles of preparing greenhouse gas analyses for CEQA purposes, and about recent trends and regulatory changes in this area, which has evolved significantly in recent years. The workshop was led by a SMW attorney and the firm’s two certified urban planners.   -Read more-
  • California Land Trust Conference: On March 1, 2011, Matthew Zinn spoke about recent cases addressing mitigation of farmland conversion at the California Council of Land Trust’s annual Land Trust Conference in Sacramento.  
  • Planning and Conservation League Annual Environmental Legislative Symposium: Richard Taylor addressed the Planning and Conservation League’s Annual Environmental Legislative Symposium on January 29th. Speaking on the importance of General Plans and community involvement in local and regional planning he distributed a list of General Plan resources available here.   -Read more-
  • Regulatory Takings: On February 11, 2011, Andrew Schwartz presented at UCLA Law School on the firm’s recent victory in Guggenheim v. City of Goleta at a symposium entitled Emerging Challenges to Local Land Use Authority sponsored by the League of California Cities and the UCLA School of Law Environmental Law & Policy Program. To see a copy of the paper, click here.  
  • UCLA Takings Lecture: On November 17, 2010, Andrew Schwartz delivered a lecture at UCLA Law School on Regulatory Takings.   
  • Regulatory Takings: On November 5, 2010, Matthew Zinn spoke about the future of the Penn Central regulatory takings test at the 13th annual conference on Litigating Regulatory Takings Challenges to Land Use and Environmental Regulations at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law.  
  • Transit Oriented Development: On October 29, 2010 Andrew Schwartz spoke on Transit Oriented Development at the 12th Annual Conference on “Eminent Domain: Impacts of the Economy and Recent Jurisprudence” in San Francisco sponsored by Continuing Legal Education International.   
  • Eminent Domain for Redevelopment: On October 21, 2010, in a one-hour Webinar sponsored by the University of Connecticut Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies, Andrew Schwartz debated a member of the property rights bar on the use of eminent domain for redevelopment.   
  • 2010 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite: Ellen Garber was selected to be a panelist at the 2010 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, sponsored by the State Bar of California Environmental Law Section. The subject of the panel was the annual CEQA Update: A Perennial Favorite.  
  • Transit Oriented Development: On September 24, 2010 Andrew Schwartz spoke on Transit Oriented Development, the Transbay Transit Center Project, and High-Speed Rail at the Land Use Law & Policy Conference in San Francisco sponsored by Continuing Legal Education International.  
  • Sierra Nevada Alliance Conference: Rachel Hooper, Richard Taylor, and Winter King spoke at the Sierra Nevada Alliance annual conference on August 27 as part of the Alliance training on “Using Legal Resources to Protect Sierra Resources.” Richard and Rachel provided training on General Plans, Climate Change and Land Use Initiatives and Winter presented on effective use of the California Environmental Quality Act.  
  • Conservation Easements Damaged by Wildfire: On April 24, 2010 Andrew Schwartz spoke on remedies of conservation easement holders for damage caused by wildfires at the Wildland Fire Litigation Conference in Reno, Nevada.   
  • Land Trust Alliance National Teleconference: Tamara Galanter spoke on April 8 at a National Teleconference for the Conservation Defense Network of the Land Trust Alliance regarding the California Solar Rights Act and its impact on conservation easement properties.   
  • California Land Trust Conference: Tamara Galanter led a workshop at the annual California Land Trust Conference in March on how to prepare for and respond to the threat of condemnation of conservation properties.   
  • UC Berkeley Law Environmental Justice Symposium: SMW sponsored the 6th Annual Environmental Justice Symposium: “Environmental Justice: Lawyers and Community Partnering for Change” featuring film and discussion on the vital intersection of grassroots social change, environmental protection, and civil and human rights on February 16 -20, 2010, in Berkeley.   
  • PCL Environmental Legislative Symposium: SMW sponsored the annual Planning and Conservation League (PCL) and PCL Foundation (PCLF) Environmental Legislative Symposium - "Greening California's Landscapes: Smart Solutions for a New Era," on January 30, 2010 in Sacramento. For more information on the event click here.  
  • Trail Planning for California Communities: Richard Taylor and Winter King are contributing authors of Trail Planning for California Communities just published by Solano Press Books. The book is a comprehensive guide to planning, designing, funding, building and maintaining trails in California. It includes information on trail easements, dedication requirements, environmental review and other legal considerations as well as a wealth of information on non-legal issues. For more information or to order the book, click here.  
  • Conservation Easement Conference: Robert “Perl” Perlmutter spoke at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco on November 17, 2009, at CLE International’s 3rd Annual Conference on Conservation Easements. For more information on the conference, click here.  
  • SB 375 and Climate Change Planning Presentation: On October 30, 2009 Richard Taylor spoke on sustainable community strategies and recent legislation on climate change and local government planning at the Annual Conference of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California in Squaw Valley.  
  • Forest Protection Strategies Presentation: On October 18, 2009 Rachel Hooper spoke on California forest protection strategies at the Sierra Nevada Alliance annual conference in Kings Beach. Click here for more information.   
  • Settlement Strategies Presentation: On September 25, 2009 Richard Taylor spoke on creative settlements of land use controversies at the Law Seminars International Fifth Annual Comprehensive Workshop on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in Santa Monica. For more information click here.   
  • CLE CEQA Panels: In September 2009, Robert “Perl” Perlmutter served as a panelist at CLE International’s 5th Annual California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Conference in both San Francisco and San Diego, providing practical tips regarding Biological and Cultural Resources Mitigation.  
  • American Planning Association Presentation: Richard Taylor recently addressed the Sacramento Valley Section of the American Planning Association on the role of CEQA and state planning laws in achieving sustainability in a resource scarce environment.  
  • Regulatory Takings Presentation: In March 2009, Andrew Schwartz delivered a presentation to the Law Seminars International Conference on Land Use in San Francisco on the state of regulatory takings law.  
  • Sierra Club Workshop: In March 2009, Gabe Ross explained California law surrounding climate change at a workshop for environmental activists co-sponsored by the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club and Loyola Law School’s Environmental Law Society.   
  • Planning & Conservation League (PCL) Conference: In February 2009, at the PCL annual conference in Sacramento, Catherine Engberg, Perl Perlmutter, and Richard Taylor addressed environmental activists, planners, and lawyers on responsible local land use planning and the historic Tejon Ranch conservation agreement.  
  • PCL CEQA Workshops: In June, November and December 2008, SMW attorneys conducted day-long CEQA workshops in Sacramento, Bakersfield and Stockton.  
  • CEB Panel: In September and October 2008, Perl Perlmutter and Ellen Garber delivered presentations in Los Angeles and San Francisco on “CEQA Practice: Critical Issues and Litigation Trends” sponsored by California Continuing Education of the Bar.  
  • Exactions Update: Andrew Schwarz and co-author Ken Bley have updated their chapter on exactions – development impact fees and real property dedications imposed to mitigate the impacts of development projects – in the State Bar’s treatise on Land Use. See CEB California Land Use Practice, Ch. 18, Exactions.  
  • Humboldt Land Use: In May 2008 at the State Bar sponsored “Land Use: Where the Forest Meets the Sea” conference, the firm’s senior planner, Laurel Impett and managing partner Rachel Hooper led workshops on the effects of timberland conversions on wildlife, water quality, and local government services.   
  • AICP Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Impacts: The 90-minute session taught participating planners the fundamental principles of preparing greenhouse gas analyses for CEQA purposes, and about recent trends and regulatory changes in this area, which has evolved significantly in recent years. The workshop was led by a SMW attorney and the firm’s two certified urban planners.   -Read more-
  • SMW Sponsors Environmental Justice Conference: SMW co-sponsored UC Berkeley’s Eighth Annual Environmental Justice Symposium. This year’s symposium, “Overcoming Invisibility: Environmental Justice in Rural America,” featured panel discussions on clean energy on tribal lands, discriminatory siting of hazardous waste disposal, and access to clean drinking water in the Central Valley.