Announcing Speaker Attorney General Bonta and the Assembly’s first day!

The California Environmental Assembly begins on February 3rd! PCL is proud to present its upcoming program, focusing on discussing ways we can combat climate change impacts in California. From drought, wildfires, to the housing crisis, each of the online webinars is committed to discussing solutions to the aforementioned problems. Click here for more information about the Assembly.

The first two sessions of the Assembly will focus on presenting the results of PCL’s Modernizing California Water Laws project and discussing how to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality in California. We are excited to announce that Attorney General Rob Bonta will be joining us as a speaker for the second panel of the day! Continue reading to learn about the webinars planned for the first week of February and don’t forget to register!

Session One: Updating California Water Laws in the Face of Droughts/Climate Change

February 3rd, 9:00 am – 10:30 am

California’s current system of water laws is ill-equipped to respond to long-term droughts/climate change. Already one million Californians do not have safe drinking water. California’s aquatic ecosystems are in crisis. The State’s water users are also confronting increasingly scarce and unpredictable water supplies.

Just over 18 months ago, the Planning and Conservation League assembled a group of eight top California water law and policy experts who pledged their time to help develop new recommendations, taking into account the unprecedented conditions facing 21st century California.

Hear their specific recommendations for addressing environmental justice, ecological justice, and effective governance.

Dennis O’Connor

Chief Consultant

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water

Mr. O’Connor is Chief Consultant to the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water. In that role, he analysis all proposed water and Delta related legislation, organizes oversight and information hearings, prepares briefing papers on issues relating to water and Delta issues, and advises members of the Senate on California water policy issues.  He has played a significant role in a number of legislative efforts, including the 2007 package of flood legislation, the 2009 water package, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and most recently the Making Conservation a California Way of Life legislation. He has been with the Senate since January 2003.

Clifford T. Lee

Former Deputy Attorney General

California Attorney General’s Office

Clifford T. Lee received his B.A. from the U.C. Berkeley in 1973.  He received his J.D. from the U.C. Davis School of Law in 1976.  From 1977 to 1978 he was a staff attorney with the Governor’s Commission to Review California Water Rights Law and authored the Commission staff papers “Legal Aspects of Water Conservation in California” and “The Transfer of Water Rights in California.”  From 1979 through 2019, he was a deputy attorney general with the Natural Resources Law section of the California Department of Justice. In 2021, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of environmental law from the Environmental Law section of the California Lawyers Association.

Jennifer Harder

Professor of Law, Legal Practice

McGeorge School of Law

Jennifer L. Harder is a professor at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, where she teaches courses in water, environmental, and administrative law. She also serves as Co-Director of McGeorge’s Water & Environmental Law Concentration and as McGeorge’s Faculty Director for Online Learning. She is a member of the Research Network at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center, a member of the Executive Committee for the Environmental Law Section at the California Lawyers Association, and a graduate of the Water Leaders program at the Water Education Foundation.


Jonas Minton

Senior Water Policy Advisor

Planning and Conservation League

Jonas Minton became a member of the PCL team in 2004 to work on issues surrounding water use and water policy issues. Jonas is the former Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources where he was responsible for overseeing the Divisions of Planning, Local Assistance, Flood Management, Dam Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Transfers. Mr. Minton managed the update to the State Water Plan, the Floodplain Management Task Force, the Recycled Water Task Force, and the Desalination Task Force.

Session Two: Getting to Carbon Neutral: What is the True Cost?

February 3rd, 10:45 am – 12:15 pm

California has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality to limit rising global temperatures and the consequences of climate change. Achieving net zero emissions will require significant GHG reductions from California in the next twenty years and beyond.

This panel will first discuss the role of quantification methods in achieving carbon neutrality. Quantification issues present themselves in multiple arenas, especially verifying state and local governments’ assurances of successful GHG reductions (such as through Climate Action Plans), as well as evaluating the protocols of carbon offset programs.

Where GHG emissions are not avoided, how can the state ensure actual and equitable mitigation? Much attention has turned to the use of carbon offsets, across the United States and even internationally, especially within the context of CEQA mitigation for Project-level GHG impacts. The California Court of Appeal recently established parameters on the use of such offsets in Golden Door Properties, LLC v. County of San Diego (2020) 50 Cal.App.5th 467, and continuing judicial scrutiny can be expected.

Rob Bonta

Attorney General

California Department of Justice

On April 23, 2021, Rob Bonta was sworn in as the 34th Attorney General of the State of California, the first person of Filipino descent and the second Asian-American to occupy the position. Attorney General Bonta has led statewide fights for racial, economic, and environmental justice and worked to further the rights of immigrant families, renters, and working Californians. He previously worked as a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, where he represented the City and County and its employees, and fought to protect Californians from exploitation and racial profiling.

Martha Guzman

Regional Administrator

Environmental Protection Agency – Region 9

Martha Guzman was sworn in as EPA Regional Administrator for the nation’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) on December 20, 2021. Her focus is on advancing Administrator Regan’s and President Biden’s priorities in the areas of climate change, environmental justice and restoring scientific integrity, and more broadly achieving progress in making the air, land and water cleaner and safer for the residents of the Pacific Southwest. Notable in a region with a significant Hispanic/Latino population, she is the first Latina to serve as Regional Administrator.

Veronica Eady

Senior Deputy Executive Officer of Policy and Equity

Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Veronica Eady is the primary internal and external contact for the Air District on environmental justice matters and will be providing leadership of the District’s community engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion program and policy work. Veronica previously served as the Assistant Executive Officer for Environmental Justice at the California Air Resources Board – where she oversaw their Environmental Justice activities. She is the former chair of the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal advisory committee for environmental justice, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.


Douglas Carstens

Managing Partner

Chatten-Brown, Carstens & Minteer

Douglas Carstens, Managing Partner, is a graduate of Cornell University and UCLA Law School. Prior to attending law school, he served for five years as an officer in the Navy. Doug has extensive experience in environmental, land use, municipal, and natural resource matters. Doug has also written articles and lectured on CEQA, water quality, public trust, and historic resources issues.

How to participate in the Webinars

  1. Register Online at (Registration fee is $25 to attend all eight sessions)
  2. You will receive an email with a list of links for each webinar
  3. Click the link on the day of the webinar to join!

If you are a student or a recent graduate, contact us at to receive information on how to receive a scholarship to attend the Assembly for free!