Mike has practiced land use and environmental law for 38 years, and is recognized for his extensive knowledge in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation and compliance. He co-authored the two-volume treatise Practice Under the California Environmental Quality Act, the CEQA treatise most often cited by California courts, which was first published in 1993, has been updated every calendar year since, and is now in its second edition. He is recognized in numerous publications as one of the leading environmental and land use lawyers in California, and he has been named as one of the top 100 Northern California lawyers for the last eleven years.
Unparalleled Experience In Land Use And Environmental Law
Mike represents businesses and public agencies which are navigating California's permitting and environmental impact review processes with the goal of obtaining approval of development projects and plans, and associated environmental impact reports. He also represents businesses and agencies in defending project approvals against land use and environmental lawsuits challenging those approval decisions.
Supreme Court, Appellate, And Trial Court Litigation Throughout California
Mike has represented clients in land use and environmental cases at all levels of the California courts and throughout the state. He has defended projects approvals against challenges under CEQA, the Planning and Zoning Law, and the initiative and referendum provisions of the Elections Code. He has litigated projects from the North Coast redwood forests to the Sierras to the Colorado River and desert highlands, in addition to downtown and suburban development.
Mike also has substantial experience in negotiating and settling land use disputes, and has reached favorable settlements in numerous matters, including port developments, aggregate and hard rock mines, planned residential communities, and environmental cleanups. He regularly represents clients in both mediations and in private settlement negotiations.
Environmental Impact Compliance And Litigation
Mike has a particular specialty in environmental impact reviews under CEQA and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and frequently handles cutting edge CEQA cases. He defended and successfully settled the first CEQA lawsuit over greenhouse gas emissions, the California Attorney General's challenge to the San Bernardino County general plan. He later worked with the County in formulating the greenhouse gas reduction plan and associated environmental impact report pursuant to that settlement. Most recently, he won a California Supreme Court ruling upholding the greenhouse gas emissions analysis in the EIR for the San Diego Association of Governments regional transportation plan.
State Agency Expertise
In addition to handling entitlement and environmental impact issues in numerous local jurisdictions, Mike has a broad range of experience in handling matters before specialized state agencies. Mike has handled matters before the State Lands Commission, the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, regional water boards, the California Building Standards Commission, the Coastal Commission, the California Historical Resources Commission, and the California Native American Heritage Commission.
Land Use Ballot Measures And Litigation
Mike also advises clients and litigates in the area of land use ballot measures. This includes both the substantive validity of initiatives and referenda, as well as legal issues relating to ballot arguments and signature-gathering. Mike co-authored the Solano Press 1990 text, Land Use Initiatives and Referenda in California.