Each year, PCL addresses top environmental policy issues that face California. Our Assembly this year is focusing on climate change and what we can do together to slow down the effects of global warming. Join us to hear expert panelists from agencies, organizations, companies, and law firms to pitch their big ideas on how to solve the most pressing issues of our time. We are collaborating with Green California to bring you panels on topics not previously addressed before, such as fossil fuels, biodiversity, agriculture, and health and environmental justice.

PCL also will continue our Emerging Leaders Panel as a way to bring young advocates into the environmental policy conversation and provide those without a voice with a place to discuss their perspective on a more sustainable future and the work we can do to get there.

You’re Invited!

Join the Planning and Conservation League on at the McGeorge School of Law for the annual California Environmental Assembly. Register Now!

What: Planning and Conservation League’s 2020 California Environmental Assembly

When: January 25th, 2020

Where: McGeorge School of Law

Who: Leading local and state elected officials, agency representatives, nonprofit and community leaders, attorneys, planners, and business representatives

Key Speakers

2020 Assembly Schedule

2020 Assembly Program

Download the Assembly Program

Our Climate Crisis: Beyond Seawalls and Electric Vehicles

McGeorge School of Law
January 25th, 2020

8:00 AM

9:00 AM

WELCOME – Main Lecture Hall

Howard Penn, Executive Director, Planning & Conservation League Graham Brownstein, Board Chair, Planning & Conservation League

OPENING PLENARY SESSION (Main Hall): Among the dragons: The spiritual path in the climate crisis.
Grief, rage, and despair are familiar, but we can also rely on uncertainty, sweetness, and be sustained by a kind of light that is in trees and birds and even in the darkest moments. We have the capacity and also an obligation to love the world as we work to change it. That love is also something to pass down. A crisis can last for centuries and during that time, it’s important that we care for ourselves. To do this we have to value forests and art and beauty, and let our minds be free and natural like national parks. Join our opening speaker to learn how to stay opportunistic and hopeful in times of uncertainty.

Speaker - John Tarrant

10:00 AM

10:15 AM

Reaction to Governor Newsom's Water Resilience Portfolio

In April Governor Newsom directed his administration to recommend a suite of priorities and actions to build a climate-resilient water system and ensure healthy waterways. To develop this Water Resilience Portfolio, his agencies have identified a suite of complementary actions to ensure safe and dependable water supplies, flood protection, and healthy waterways for the state’s communities, economy, and environment.

Now that the Portfolio has been released you will have the chance to interact with some of the leaders in several sectors to discuss what people like, what they do not like and where we go from here.

Moderator - Jonas Minton, Senior Water Policy Advisor, Planning and Conservation League

Marguerite Patil, Special Assistant to the General Manager, Contra Costa Water District
Alex Biering, Government Affairs and Communications Manager, Friant Water Authority
Eric Wesselman, Executive Director, Friends of the River
Jennifer Clary, Programs Manager, Clean Water Action

Land Use and Transportation: How to Achieve Our Housing and Climate Goals Together

California’s new Governor has put forth extremely ambitious housing goals for the state, 3.5 million homes by 2025. PCL believes it is imperative that the State’s housing goals are aligned with California’s goals for climate, health, and equity, and achieving all of these goals holistically in addressing our housing shortage demands consideration of where our housing is and who it will serve, not solely the sheer number of units we can produce.

PCL is actively working with cross-interest partners around the State with an aim to inform proposals for how to better align our housing and transportation investment with all of these goals. This panel will discuss the multiple recommendations that have emerged.

Moderator - Matthew Baker, Policy Director, Planning and Conservation League

Chanell Fletcher, Executive Director, ClimatePlan
Darwin Masoovi, Deputy Secretary of Environmental Policy and Housing Coordination, California State Transportation Agency
Natalie Kuffel, Land Use Counsel, Governor's Office of Planning and Research
Craig Shields, California Department of Housing and Community Development

Litigation Against Environmental Rollbacks Under The Trump Administration

The scope and content of the “deregulation” efforts of the Trump administration have been on-going, seemingly relentless and, in many respects, unprecedented in modern American history. Concurrently, states like California and a wide range of national environmental organizations have filed a wide range of lawsuits, with the California Attorney General’s office having approximately 60 lawsuits pending against the federal government, many of which are challenging specific environmental rollbacks.

In this context, Governor Gavin Newsom, recently vetoed Senate Bill 1, by Toni Atkins, which was designed to be a comprehensive “backfill” for protecting the environment. This assembly panel will discuss key, pending litigation against the federal government and explore evolving options for protecting our environment.

Moderator - Jan Chatten-Brown, Founder and Co-Owner, Chatten-Brown, Carstens & Minteer, LLP

Michael Wall, Litigation Codirector, Natural Resouces Defense Council
David Zonana, Supervising Deputy Attorney, Office of the Attorney General
Kassie Siegel, Climate Law Institute Director, Center for Biological Diversity

Representative from EarthJustice

Phasing Out Oil and Gas: Is it Legal to Keep it in the Ground?

As California works to achieve carbon neutrality and address concerns relating to health, safety, air quality, water quality, and environmental justice associated with oil and gas production, many are advocating for a "managed" decline in production, rather than allowing market forces alone to determine where drilling phases out first, and where it is allowed to continue longest. This panel will discuss how the state of California is currently studying this issue and the landscape of policy options for beginning a managed phaseout.

Moderator - David Weiskopf, Senior Policy Advisor, NextGen Policy

Ingrid Brostrom, Assistant Director, The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

Representative from Environmental Law Clinic UC Berkeley

Representative from Long Beach Community College

Representative from Rootskeeper

Representative from Climate and Energy Consultant

11:45 AM


LUNCH SESSION (Main Hall): Keynote Speaker

1:15 PM

1:30 PM

The Impact of Climate Change on California Agriculture: What It Means to All of Us

Climate change is likely to have a profound impact on California agriculture. A shrinking Sierra snowpack would mean less irrigation water even as rising temperatures will necessitate more water to keep crops alive. Increased temperatures would also put additional stress on farmworkers and dairy cattle while limiting where mainstay fruit crops, including citrus and wine grapes, can be grown. The panelists in this workshop will elaborate on all these potential impacts as well as adaptation and mitigation measures.

Moderator - Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture

William R. Horwath, Chair, Department of Land, Air & Natural Resources

Tapan P. Pathak, Cooperative Extension Specialist, U.C. Merced

Securing the Future of California's Living Diversity

In 2018, California launched the Biodiversity Initiative –a historic commitment to saving the web of life that underpins our health and prosperity. Already, this initiative is reshaping how we build a better future --500 California biodiversity scientists have signed “A Charter to Secure the Future of California’s Native Biodiversity,” agencies are urgently scoping how they can contribute to the change, and Governor Newsom’s administration recently budgeted $18.6M toward ambitious biodiversity projects such as the effort to seed bank all of California’s plants and end plant extinction in the Golden State. This panel will explore how we can ensure resilient biodiversity in the face of climate change.

Moderator - Kevin Hunting, Biodiversity and Conservation Coordination, California Natural Resources Agency

Kim Delfino, Executive Director, Defenders of Wildlife
Charles Striplen, Environmental Scientist, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
Dan Gluesenkamp, Executive Director, California Native Plant Society

CEQA 2.0: The Effort to Resolve Longstanding Controversies About CEQA

During the summer of 2018, PCL formed an advisory group of CEQA experts from around the State to begin developing legislation to streamline CEQA. The group consists of lawyers and one planner, whose daily professional work involves representing a broad range of interests in the State.

Over the course of 16+ months, the volunteer group met for 12 full-day meetings and addressed multiple proposed amendments which now make up a bill pending in the legislature. Today’s panel will discuss the rationale behind the proposed changes and will welcome the audience’s comments.

Moderator - Kevin Johnson, Attorney, Kevin Johnson APLC

Jim Moose, Senior Partner, Remy Moose Manley LLP
Susan Brandt Hawley, Attorney, Brandt-Hawley Law Group
Douglas Carstens, Managing Partner, Chatten-Brown, Carstens & Minteer LLP

Health and Environmental Justice: Telling the Story of Climate Change’s Impacts on Our Communities

Join our lively panel bringing to life what the dry climate science has been telling us for decades. We will tell the stories of the health impacts of climate change and magnify the immediate health co-benefits our families and communities will enjoy as we transition to clean, renewable energy to fuel our societies.

Our panel discussion will illustrate how the universally shared value of human health-- particularly for the next generation--may be our most powerful tool for unlocking political gridlock in order to open the door to swift climate solutions. We hope you join us for this conversation telling the story of climate change’s health impacts as an important tool to build social will for health-protecting climate action.

Moderator - Sarah Schear, Co-Founder, California Climate Health Now, Medical Student, UCSF School of Medicine

Martha Arguello, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles
William Barrett, Director of Clean Air Advocacy, American Lung Association
Katie Valenzuela,Policy and Political Director, California Environmental Justice Alliance
Ashley McClure, MD, FACP

3:00 PM

3:15 PM

Closing Speaker and CivicSpark Emerging Leaders

4:15 PM

Hosts & Partners

PCL/PCL Foundation


McGeorge School of Law



Youth Partner


Gold Sponsors

Phyllis Faber
David Hirsch
Sage Sweetwood

Silver Sponsors

Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP
Chatten-Brown, Carstens & Minteer, LLP

Bronze Sponsors

National Wildlife Federation
Kevin K. Johnson, A Professional Law Corporation
Wittwer Parkin, LLP
Mogavero Architects, Inc.
M.R. Wolfe & Associates, PC
Lozeau Drury, LLP
Holland and Knight, LLP
Remy Moose Manley, LLP
Graham Brownstein

Emerging Sponsors

Law Offices of Stuart Flashman
Center for Biological Diversity
Defenders of Wildlife
Monica S Hunter

Contributing Sponsors

Andy Sawyer & Carol Bingham
California Wildlife Foundation/California Oaks
Harold Thomas
Marin Conservation League
Friends, Artists and Neighbors of Elkhorn Slough
Margie Kay
Environmental Defense Center
Valley Land Alliance
Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks

Sponsorships Available

Download the Assembly Sponsorship Packet