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2011 Symposium Award Winners

Each year PCL and the PCL Foundation honor our "Environmental Heroes of the Year" at an awards ceremony. This year we are celebrating the work of five heroes: Assemblymember Mike Feuer, Senator Alan Lowenthal, Doug Carstens, the California State Parks Foundation and Lynne Plambeck. These individuals and organizations have demonstrated resolve, thoughtfulness and innovation in their work to protect our environment and defend California's environmental laws.

Assemblymember Mike Feuer and Senator Alan Lowenthal
Legislators of the Year

In 2009, the City of Industry's football stadium in East Los Angeles received the first ever legislative exemption from CEQA. That opened the door in 2010 to an onslaught of requests for CEQA exemptions as other development projects attempted to replicate Industry's "success." By the end of the year, the League successfully defended CEQA against rollbacks and exemptions in both the legislative session and the state budget. Two steadfast CEQA supporters in the Capitol ensured this triumphant defense of the state's premier environmental

law.Assemblymember Mike Feuer spearheaded the legislative defense of CEQA. He made himself available as a partner to PCL and its coalition and together we worked to stave off the attacks one-by-one. Assemblymember Feuer spent hundreds of hours mediating the Richmond Refinery exemption alone. This was an exemption after the fact, as the Environmental Impact Report had already been written and lawsuits over impacts already in the queue.

Throughout his career, Senator Lowenthal has stepped to the plate on numerous environmental issues from protecting communities from air pollution from idling trucks to restoring the Los Angeles River to being a vocal supporter of CEQA on the Senate floor. He, like Assemblymember Feuer, stood up to Southern California development interests and instead protected our environment and our state's hard won environmental protection laws.

To both Assemblymember Feuer and Senator Lowenthal, we thank you for your great work, significant achievements, and partnership to ensure California's natural resources and communities are protected.

PCL Board Member Fran Layton and Assemblymember Feuer

Senator Lowenthal and PCL Board Member Fran Layton

Doug Carstens
Carla Bard Award (Individual Achievement)

Doug Carstens has been an important environmental advocate, going above and beyond his duties as an attorney, to ensure that our natural resources are protected. For the last several years Doug has worked closely with the Planning and Conservation League to review bills, give guidance on CEQA related issues, and has been an incredible on-the-ground advocate for an array of environmental concerns. In addition to bringing together coalitions, writing articles, and talking to the press, Doug has also facilitated CEQA workshops in Southern California with the PCL Foundation to ensure the community can participate effectively in the environmental review process. Last year, he worked with environmental justice advocates in Los Angeles in an effort that ultimately culminated in public acquisition of a large site in northeast Los Angeles for preservation. He is especially proud of such park advocacy and, along with Jan Chatten-Brown, his firm Chatten-Brown and Carstens has also helped bring about the public acquisition of parklands in the Rio De Los Angeles State Park, the State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles, and additions to the Kenneth Hahn State Park in Baldwin Hills. With a 90% success rate on reported cases, Doug's firm brings experience, effectiveness, and energy to the table.
Doug Carstens and Keith Wagner

California State Parks Foundation
David Gaines Award (Non-Profit of the Year)

Crippled with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of deferred maintenance projects, understaffed parks, and budget cuts that seemed impossible to survive, our California State Park system is slowly being chipped away year after year. But for the constant and immediate support and action by the California State Parks Foundation, our parks would be closed permanently. With some creative and thoughtful solutions, the Foundation championed the Save Our State Parks Campaign. The Foundation worked with others to create Proposition 21, which would have added an $18 surcharge to each vehicle license fee -- generating enough revenue to separate the State Parks budget from the General Fund and begin to tackle those backlogged projects. Though 21 didn't pass, 2010 was a stellar year for the Foundation's efforts. They led the charge for our parks. They created a solution from amidst the dust. They rallied the troops and they brought significant awareness to the issue. Our State Parks, from the mountains to the sea, deserts to the forest, and residents all count on advocates like the California State Parks Foundation.
Elizabeth Goldstein and California State Parks Foundation staff

Lynne Plambeck
Dorothy Green Award (Water Policy Advocate of the Year)

For years Lynne Plambeck has been working to advocate for better planning and wiser water use in Santa Clarita and statewide. Specifically, in Santa Clarita she has fought to protect the quality of water supply to residents of her community and to preserve the environmental values of the Santa Clarita River. In addition, her conservation work has included strongly opposing sprawl development in Southern California and eliminating our reliance on "paper water." As a businesswoman, is now in her fourth term as an elected member of the Newhall Water District Board member, is a member of the Association of California Water Agencies, served as an alternate representative for the Local Agency Formation Commission, and has run for a seat on the City Council. She is President of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment. Lynne is a tremendous water advocate whose tireless work unites communities, residents, and leaders.
Lynne Plambeck and PCL Board Member Kevin Johnson
Photos Credit: Amber Schmaeling

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