California Environmental Law and Policy
A Practical Guide

By Albert Herson and Gary Lucks

  • Item# ENV
  • ISBN: 978-0-923956-60-8
  • Copyright (c) 2008
  • Paperback
  • Price: $90.00
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THE ONLY BOOK that covers the entire field of California environmental, land use, and natural resources law in a concise, user-friendly format. Comprehensively surveys the most important California and federal environmental statutes and regulatory programs. Highlights key permits, landmark court cases, and current policy issues. Provides practical tips and tools to guide your project through the regulatory process successfully.

WRITTEN IN non-technical language, California Environmental Law and Policy is an essential resource for project applicants, planners, consultants, attorneys, environmental managers, regulatory agency staff, developers, landowners, citizen activists, and students.


In addition to the information provided below you may also:

Review the Front Cover of the Book (Acrobat)
Review the Back Cover of the Book (Acrobat)
Read the Detail Table of Contents, Preface, and About The Authors (Acrobat)


Introduction and Environmental/Land Use Planning
California Environmental Quality Act
Local Land Use Planning and Regulation
State and Regional Land Use Controls
Pollution Control
Air Quality
Hazardous Materials and Toxic Substances
Hazardous Wastes
Solid Wastes
Water Quality
Drinking Water
Regualtion of Natural Resources
Agricultural Land
Water Resources
Fish and Wildlife
Surface Mining
  Permitting and Environmental Compliance Auditing Guides
Permitting Guide
Environmental Compliance Auditing



Broad environmental and land use planning programs

  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • Regulations for local land use planning (general plans, zoning, subdivisions, historic preservation, takings, and exactions)
  • State and regional land use controls—management of coastal zones and natural hazards

State and federal pollution control programs for air quality, climate change, hazardous materials and toxic substances, hazardous wastes, solid waste, water quality drinking water, and noise

State and federal natural resources regulatory programs— water resources, fish and wildlife, wetlands, forestry, surface mining, and agriculture

The book also includes two practical guides for integrated environmental compliance:

  • A comprehensive permitting guide to help project applicants navigate the complexities of environmental, land use, and natural resource permitting in California
  • An auditing guide to help industrial facility managers plan and perform environmental compliance audits


Albert I. Herson, JD, FAICP, is a planner and attorney who was practiced, taught, and written about California environmental law for over 30 years. He has focused his practice on helping clients and the planning profession implement CEQA, land use, and natural resource law. He is an attorney with Sohagi Law Group, where he serves as the firm’s Sacramento presence, and advises public agencies on CEQA, NEPA, and land use law compliance.

Mr. Herson's practice focuses on compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and natural resources law. His extensive past experience with major environmental consulting firms gives him unique insights into how to prepare legally defensible environmental documents.

Prior to joining Sohagi Law Group, Mr. Herson was a leader and senior manager at Jones & Stokes, SAIC, and SWCA. At these firms, he managed and grew multi-office regions in the Western US, led corporate marketing intitiative and CEQA/NEPA practice groups, and served as principal-in-charge or project manager for hundreds of CEQA and NEPA documents.

Mr. Herson is co-author of California Environmental Law and Policy: A Practical Guide, the CEQA Deskbook (2nd edition), and The NEPA Book, as well as CEQA and wetlands chapters in Matthew Bender's California Environmental Law and Land Use Practice treatise.

Mr. Herson has devoted much of his career to making CEQA, NEPA, and natural resource laws understandable and accessible to California planners and attorneys. He is a frequent speaker and writer on California environmental law topics and on several occasions advised state agencies on revisions to the CEQA Guidelines to make them more practical and user-friendly. He has taught numerous University of California Extension environmental law courses, and is co-chair of CLE International's highly successful Annual CEQA Update conferences. He has also been an active participant on California Water Plan Update 2009 and 2013 Advisory Committees, representing the American Planning Association.

Mr. Herson is a member of the State Bar, Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), as well as 2007-2008 President of the California Planning Roundtable. He is Past-President of the California Chapter, American Planning Association, which awarded him the Distinguished Leadership Award for a Professional Planner in 1996. He also has served on the California State Bar Environmental Law Section Executive Committee. Mr. Herson received a J.D. from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, where he was class valedictorian, and an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated summa cum laude.

Gary Lucks JD, CPEA, is a partner in ERM’s Performance and Assurance practice where he advises clients on environmental compliance and sustainability strategies. He is a licensed attorney, a scientist, and a Certified Professional Environmental Auditor with over 28 years of environmental regulatory experience. Mr. Lucks specializes in environmental compliance auditing, compliance management systems (CMS), compliance counseling, environmental management systems (EMS), environmental training, and environmental permitting.

Mr. Lucks also co-founded the Sustainable Earth Initiative, a non-profit specializing in EMS and dedicated to helping public agencies improve their environmental performance.

Mr. Lucks has published extensively on environmental law, legislation, and policy. He coauthored a book entitled California Environmental Law and Policy: A Practical Guide (Solano Press) and is a regular contributor to the California Environmental Law Reporter. He also wrote the Environmental Auditing Chapter in the California Environmental Law and Land Use Treatise.

Mr. Lucks is a frequent speaker on environmental law, auditing, legislation, and sustainability and teaches numerous environmental courses at the University of California Extension (Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz campuses) ranging from hazardous waste management and air quality to environmental auditing. He currently serves as an advisor to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and served on the California State Bar Environmental Legislation Committee for over ten years. He also chairs the West Coast Auditing Roundtable.

He earned a B.S. in Environmental Biology from Tulane University and a law degree from the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law.


Book Overview

The field of California environmental law is vast and ever-changing. Planners, project applicants, developers, landowners, regulatory agency staff, consultants, attorneys, environmental managers, interested citizens, and students need a survey of California environmental law written for a general, non-technical audience. This book was written to serve that need.

Guide to California Environmental Law is the only book that covers the entire field of California environmental, land use, and natural resources law in a concise, user-friendly format. Written in non-technical language, the book comprehensively surveys the most important California environmental statutes and regulatory programs, as well as relevant federal environmental statutes and regulatory programs. It highlights landmark court cases and current policy issues, and provides practical tips on getting through the regulatory process successfully.

Guide to California Environmental Law is completely up-to-date, incorporating changes to statutes and regulatory programs through 2007. To assist in more in-depth research, the book identifies sources of further information for each major program, as well as regulatory agency contacts and websites.

The legal citations in the book are selective, to promote readability. Because this book is intended for a generalist non-technical audience, procedural topics such as administrative appeals, litigation, enforcement, and remedies are addressed only briefly. Attorneys seeking more comprehensive legal citations and expanded coverage of specific topics should refer to other excellent publications identified in this book, including Solano Press titles, and the Matthew Bender treatise, California Environmental Law and Land Use Practice. This book is not intended to give legal advice, for which an attorney should be consulted.

Book Objectives, Scope, and Format


The specific objectives of this book are to provide readers with:

  • A comprehensive, user-friendly, concise review of California and related
    federal environmental law in non-technical language
  • Focused information on what practicing planners, project applicants, attorneys,
    and other audiences need to know
  • References to key publications and websites for further research


The book is divided into four major parts:

  • Part One starts with an introduction (chapter 1), reviewing the basic framework of California environmental law. It then covers the broadest environmental programs, those related to environmental and land use planning. It includes chapters on the California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA (chapter 2), local land use planning (chapter 3), and state and regional land use controls (chapter 4).
  • Part Two covers specific pollution control programs. It includes chapters on air quality (chapter 5), noise (chapter 6), hazardous materials and toxic substances (chapter 7), hazardous wastes (chapter 8), solid waste (chapter 9), water quality (chapter 10), and drinking water (chapter 11).
  • Part Three covers programs regulating the state’s natural resources. It includes chapters on agriculture (chapter 12), water resources (chapter 13), fish and wildlife (chapter 14), wetlands (chapter 15), forestry (chapter 16), and surface mining (chapter 17).
  • Part Four presents two practical guides for environmental compliance. Chapter 18 is a permitting guide designed to help project applicants navigate the complexities of environmental, land use, and natural resource permitting in California. Chapter 19 is an environmental auditing guide designed to help facility managers plan environmental compliance audits.

The book’s chapters covering individual land use or environmental regulatory
programs (chapters 2 through 17) follow a common internal organization:

  • Identification of key laws and agencies
  • Summaries of major regulatory programs
  • A glossary of terms used in the chapter (major permits and approvals are indicated by an asterisk)
  • Acronyms used in the chapter
  • References to key publications and websites