On Demand Audio

Environmental Issues in California Land Use Transactions

(454 reviews)

Produced on January 06, 2017

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$ 99 Real Estate and Environmental In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 32m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Real Estate Environmental

Course Description

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the 800-pound gorilla looming over all land use decisions in California. Every discretionary decision made by a local or state agency that allows a significant change in the use or physical condition of real property must comply with CEQA’s stringent environmental review requirements. Many of these decisions end up in court challenges by project opponents that result in costly delays.

Although the environmental process is technical in nature, and involves planners, traffic engineers, biologists, toxicologists and other technical experts, attorneys play a critical role throughout the process in helping avoid legal pitfalls and minimizing the chances of successful litigation.

This course is designed to help in-house counsel, and real estate, land use and environmental attorneys representing property owners, real estate investors, developers, and government agencies understand how attorneys can add value to the process of preparing environmental review documents in compliance with CEQA.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the different roles played by the key players in the CEQA process: the project applicant and its consultants and counsel; the lead government agency’s elected leadership, staff, counsel and consultants; other government agencies issuing approvals for aspects of the project, and various other stakeholders commenting on the environmental documents, including neighborhood groups, environmental organizations, labor unions, and competitors
  2. Discuss how to determine the appropriate type of CEQA document to prepare for different types of projects – categorical exemptions, community plan exemptions, negative declarations, program-level versus project-level environmental impact reports, supplemental environmental impacts report, and addenda
  3. Examine the key elements of a CEQA document that require involvement from attorneys, including preparing a “finite, stable and accurate” project description, selecting a reasonable range of project alternatives, crafting legally adequate significance findings and mitigation measures, and preparing the all-important responses to comments and final CEQA findings and statement of overriding considerations 

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Gordon Hart

Paul Hastings LLP

Gordon E. Hart is a partner in the Real Estate practice of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s San Francisco office. He focuses on environmental and land use law, and government advocacy. His practice includes permitting, enforcement, transactional and litigation issues on behalf of real estate developers, energy project developers, commercial property owners, public agencies, manufacturers, and environmental service and waste management companies. 


Mr. Hart's work on behalf of clients encompasses the following:

  • Obtaining and renewing permits, authorizations and entitlements from local, state and federal agencies under various state and federal land use and environmental laws;
  • Supervising the preparation of environmental impact reports and statements, remedial action plans, risk management plans, and similar plans and reports;
  • Defending against litigation challenging projects under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other state and federal planning and environmental statutes;
  • Supervising environmental due diligence efforts, drafting and negotiating environmental provisions in purchase and sale agreements, land use covenants and other property transfer and documents;
  • Drafting and negotiating environmental remediation contracts and environmental insurance policies;
  • Defending environmental enforcement actions brought by state and federal regulatory agencies and negotiating consent decrees and other enforceable agreements;
  • Lobbying the California State Legislature and executive agencies on legislative and regulatory proposals.

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • Author of "Brownfields Redevelopment at Closed Military Bases," a chapter in the American Bar Association's handbook, Environmental Aspects of Business and Real Estate Transactions (3rd Ed. 2004).

Professional and Community Involvement 

  • Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Hart served in several capacities on the staff of the California State Legislature. Those positions included serving as  senior consultant to the Senate Toxics and Public Safety Management Committee, as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as counsel to the Speaker of the Assembly.
  • He has served on numerous local and state agency advisory committees related to land use, transportation, hazardous waste and other environmental issues over the last twenty-five years.


  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, graduated first in class, 1994 (Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers)
  • Fellow in Public Affairs with the Coro Foundation, 1985-1986
  • Reed College, B.A. in Political Science, 1984

Practice Areas


  • California Bar


  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D., 1994
  • Reed College, B.A., 1984


Johanna D.


Kevin H.

It was great to see substantive course materials, rather than just bullet points. Very informative and helpful.

Barbara R.

a very informative course

Joseph B.

Hoping to find similar topic CLE’s with such helpful information.


Topic well presented and comprehensive in scope.

Natalie H.

very educational

Mark K.

Very good primer. Learned a lot!

Gerald C.


Robin E.

a lot of great information, but too much for me to absorb in one session. If I get time, I may review the program again.

Erin H.

Appreciated commentary on trends.

Bruce M.

Mr. Hart did an absolutely fantastic job in this presentation in terms of both substance and delivery.

Tarren T.

Very informative and understandable.

Nicolle T.

Thank you - great step by step introductory presentation.

Rhiannon B.

Speaker was excellent. Knowledgeable but approachable.

Valerie S.

Well organized, good overview, good professional advice

William R.

Very thorough presentation.

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