Outgoing President's Message
Our Winter season starts out with Congratulations to our AEP 2019 Board of Directors! It has been my pleasure serving as your President for the past 3 years. I have been proud of the programs and services that our Board continues to provide to the profession and the great people that we have attracted to serve on the Board. Election results for the 2019 AEP Officers are as follows:
• President – William Halligan, Esq. PlaceWorks
• Immediate Past President – Devon Muto, EDF Renewables
• Executive Vice President – Mindy Fogg, Rincon Consultants
• VP of Finance – Lynn Calvert-Hayes, LSA Associates
• VP of Administration – Konnie Dobreva, EPD Solutions, Inc
• NAEP Liaison – Michael Smith, EnerCon
• Director-at-Large – Laurel Lees, Great Ecology
• Director-at-Large – Claudia Garcia, Ascent Environmental
• Director-at-Large – Marie Campbell, Sapphos Environmental
This is a fantastic group of folks that are passionate about the work that we do and continue to support AEP. In particular, our new President has been a mainstay in AEP for as long as I can remember and I am looking forward to him bringing the same energy and fun to the Board that he does with the AEP Jam Band.
Happy new year!
AEP Immediate Past President
Incoming President's Message
I am proud to have been a member of AEP for over 25 years and look forward to serving as your President. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Immediate Past President Devon Muto for his years of service to AEP and look forward to his continued participation on our Board. His dedication and creativity have resulted in some our most beloved member benefits including the CEQA Portal, the AEP CEQA Book, and our CEQA webinar programs. Thank you Devon!
The 2019 CEQA Statues and Guidelines were approved by the Office of Administrative Law on December 28, 2018. All members in good standing receive a complimentary copy of the book each year. Books are expected to ship the end of January. Please make sure your membership is current at www.califaep.org.
The 2019-2020 Legislative Session is already off and running with a number of bills of interest to AEP. Our Legislative Review Committee will continue to work with our Lobbyist, Matt Klopfenstein, in Sacramento to make sure our voices are heard. I would like to welcome our new Co-Chairs of the Legislative Review Committee, Betty Dehoney from HDR, and Kristin Blackson from ESA.
Our CEQA Advanced Workshops will be held at the end of February. A copy of the agenda is in this addition of the Environmental Monitor. For updated agenda, location and registration information, please visit, www.califaep.org.
The 2019 Conference will be held at the beautiful Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey, March 24-27, 2019. The Conference-at-Glance has been sent out to members and is included in this issue of the Environmental Monitor. AEP is actively seeking sponsors for the 2019 conference. If you would like to showcase your services to over 400 environmental professionals, then this is the best way to get your brand exposed! Online registration and hotel reservations are open. Please make your arrangements early as the hotel is expected to sell-out. More Information is available in this issue of the EM and at www.califaep.org.
I hope that you continue to enjoy and appreciate the benefits and services that AEP provides and the efforts of the Board to keep the organization improving. We strive to keep our members updated with the most current information in the environmental profession as well offer numerous trainings to make your careers more fulfilling and rewarding. All of AEP programs are AICP & MCLE certified.
If you would like to get more involved with AEP, we have many opportunities at the local and state levels. We also welcome input and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to talk any chapter or state board member if you have comments on the organization or questions on involvement.
We appreciate your continued dedication to AEP and thank you for being a member!
William Halligan, Esq.
We have had a great start to 2018 with initiating member recognition, dynamic programs and member care.
All members and new members were sent the 2018 CEQA Statutes and Guidelines at the end of January. If you have not received your book, please contact our Executive Director, Lynne Bynder at email@example.com
Our CEQA Advanced Workshop was a huge success with 800 attendees at various locations around the State. This workshop is always held at the end of February each year and is a great way for members to keep up-to-date on current CEQA trends.
Our 2018 Conference held in Rancho Mirage, was attended by over 400 attendees at the stunning Westin Mission Hills Resort, March 25-28. Perfect weather and a perfect setting combined with outstanding educational sessions, fun and engaging social events made for a successful conference. Thank you to Lynn Calvert-Hayes for providing great guidance as Conference Chair this year. More highlights are provided in this issue of the EM.
During the conference AEP recognized all 25+ year members for their commitment and dedication to our organization. And the recognition will continue through the years.
Save the Date! Planning is underway for the 2019 Conference to be held at the beautiful Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey, March 24-27, 2019. Call for Presentations are due on September 30, 2018. Call for Presentations, Sponsor and Exhibitor Information is available at www.califaep.org.
Our Day at the Capitol was attended by several members of the AEP Legislative Committee in early April. Recently, our Legislative committee commissioned a survey to collect information from lead agencies on their approvals of housing projects and the CEQA processes that support them. If you are an agency member, please take the time to complete the survey so that we can use the information in the future for our upcoming AEP Institute.
Next up will be a pilot program: NEPA Advanced workshop sponsored by NAEP on June 5, at the Santa Clara Water District and the June 7, at SCE in Rosemead. Registration and more information is available in this copy of the EM and online at www.califaep.org or www.naep.org.
Save the Date for our 5th Annual AEP Institute to be held at the Sheraton Sacramento on August 3rd. Don’t missed this advance symposium focused on CEQA and Housing. More information is available at www.califaep.org
Our NEPA Essentials will be held in September this year. Information will be going out to members soon!
The San Francisco Bay Area and Superior Chapters are hosting a Northern CA mini conference in Redding also in September.
And our year will conclude with the CEQA Essentials Workshops in early November.
Some new programs for this year include more webinars like the one we held in late 2017 on the CEQA Guidelines Update.
I hope that you continue to enjoy and appreciate the benefits and services that AEP provides and the efforts of the Board to keep the organization improving. If you would like to get more involved with AEP, we have many opportunities at the local and state levels. We also welcome input and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to talk any chapter or state board member if you have comments on the organization or questions on involvement.
We are off and running on another year full of AEP events, services and activities. This year I am especially excited as we welcome some new (and some returning) faces to the AEP Board and embark on new initiatives to improve services to our members.
On our Executive Board, Bill Halligan and Lynn Calvert-Hayes remain as Executive and Financial Vice Presidents, respectively. Bill and Lynn have many years of serving on the Board and provide us with stability and a reliable source of sage advice. Mindy Fogg has moved to Administrative Vice President from a Director-at-Large (DAL) position. Mindy’s past experience as a Chapter Director and with organizing the AEP workshops as a DAL will serve her well as she works on improving our communications and website. Our DAL positions are now held by Marie Campbell, Kent Norton, and Laurel Lees. Marie was previously a Chapter Director and is currently the president of NAEP. Marie will be focusing her efforts largely on the AEP Institute, our one day symposium on a pressing issue in California. Kent (a former AEP President and DAL) has returned to the Board after a brief break. Kent will be heading up our and student outreach and awards programs. Laurel was previously Vice-President of Membership for the San Diego Chapter and will be responsible for our membership committee as well as our workshops.
In our other Board positions, we also have a mixture of new and returning faces providing us both continuity and new energy and enthusiasm to drive the organization forward. We also instituted a change to designate some committee chairs as non-voting board members to improve our connection to those committees and increase our capacity as a board. I am thankful to Michael Hendrix to continuing to head up our Climate Change committee which continues to be one of our most active and productive committees. I am also excited to that Pat Angel has volunteered to chair the CEQA Portal committee as well as the Superior Chapter Director position.
Our 2018 Board will be working hard to continue offering the same services to you. We have an excellent Advanced CEQA Workshop that is currently underway. Next up will be our conference in Rancho Mirage in late March. The conference committee has selected a beautiful location with tons of amenities and packed together numerous interesting sessions to keep you busy. Later in the year we will hold our AEP Institute in Sacramento focused on CEQA and Housing, as well as our NEPA and CEQA Essentials workshops.
Some new programs for this year include more webinars (similar to the one we held in late 2017 on the CEQA Guidelines Update) and an Advanced NEPA Workshop. We are also planning on a member appreciation initiative to recognize our long standing members and under the purview of our Legislative committee we are commissioning a survey to collect information from lead agencies on their approvals of housing projects and the CEQA processes that support them. On the administrative side, we are seeking additional support to enhance communication to our members and between chapters and we continue to look at ways to improve our website.
I hope that you continue to enjoy and appreciate the benefits and services that AEP provides and the efforts of the Board to keep the organization improving. If you would like to get more involved with AEP, we have many opportunities at the local and state levels. We also welcome input and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to talk any chapter or state board member if you have comments on the organization or questions on involvement.Devon Muto
In my message at the beginning of this year, I summarized AEP’s legislative program, and it turned out to be timely as this year has been busy with activity from our legislature, the courts, and OPR. I hope that you are able to keep up with all the activity, which we are summarizing in our monthly eblasts. As a quick recap, our legislative committee has been actively engaged in a number of bills this year, including our opposition to SB 469 (Wireless Telecom Facilities), support of AB 890 (Local Land Use Initiatives), and heavy involvement in SB 80 (CEQA Notices), SB 771 (Public Employee Education), and AB 1404 (Unincorporated Areas Infill Exemption). Our committee has been meeting at least monthly and, in March, a contingent of us spent two days at the Capitol in over 15 meetings with our legislators, their staff, and OPR. Legislative committee members Bill Halligan and Betty Dehoney joined me in giving a presentation to 30 staffers from the legislature and agencies on CEQA and current issues.
We have produced 11 court case summaries and those summaries, the full court decision, and other supporting documents are available on the CEQA Portal (https://ceqaportal.org/
). Possibly the most watched of those was the most recent, which was from Supreme Court on the SANDAG RTP/SCS 2050 GHG threshold. Other cases that I found of particular interest were Sierra Club v. Sonoma County (differentiating ministerial permits from discretionary), Altos Council v. Santa Cruz County (CEQA review of zoning ordinance amendments), and Banning Ranch Conservancy v. Newport Beach (defining ESHAs).
We have also been coordinating with OPR, who also has a lot going on this year with the imminent release of the comprehensive CEQA Guidelines Update (which includes the SB 743 guidelines updates). Our next major event, the AEP Institute, which is a focused one-day workshop on SB 743, included substantial involvement by OPR and is right around the corner. The Institute is stacked full of specialists that are going to take a deep dive into how traffic planning and analysis will evolve and will certainly be an informative day that is not to be missed. Registration is still open and you can obtain more details here: https://www.califaep.org/workshops/aep-institute. Many thanks to Marie Campbell for heading up the planning and coordination for this year’s Institute.
Another Successful Conference and NEPA Workshop Series!
As usual, the AEP management and Board have been hard at work bringing you fantastic programs. In May, we held our annual conference in San Francisco and it was a blast. The sessions were diverse and well organized, the speakers were relevant and insightful, the events were fun and well attended, and the friends and colleagues came to learn, mingle, and party. A special thanks to the Bay Area Chapter for hosting and Steve Noack for his leadership. You will find more highlights from the conference in this edition of the Monitor.
We also recently completed another successful series of NEPA Basics Workshops. This year we decided to focus the workshop back on the basics and, in October, we will be piloting a new series of Advanced NEPA Workshops in collaboration with NAEP (our national affiliate).
I already mentioned the Institute and Advanced NEPA Workshops. Our CEQA Essentials Workshops will also be held in early November. I am sure our legislative program will be busy as well. The legislature is currently on recess, but many bills and priorities remain in play. We also will soon have our Board retreat, which is a day for the AEP Board to focus on our strategies of how to improve the organization over the next couple for years. I am excited to get some good ideas from the Board and report back to our members on our next initiatives. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or your chapter representative if you have any suggestions.
I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer!Devon Muto
Happy 2017 AEP Members!
This year is already off to quite a start. While it’s typical for the winter President’s message to highlight the programs and initiatives that we will be working on over the upcoming year, first I’d like to address a topic that many environmental professionals have expressed substantial concern and interest about...our new federal administration.
New Federal Administration and AEP’s Legislative Platform
Not a day goes by without another reminder of the turmoil that is emanating from our nation’s capital, bringing fear and anxiety to many (and I assume hope to some). Our federal environmental policies and institutions are already under siege and I know that many AEP members are deeply troubled by this. Environmental policies have grown from the early 1970s when significant environmental disasters were becoming all too common. Our policies have evolved as we have improved our understanding of our environment and, as our nation has grown, to improve protections to avoid and address critical past, present, and future environmental issues. It was concern over some of these same issues that compelled many of us into our present day jobs. So, other than us sharing a common concern for the environmental practice, where does AEP fit in?
AEP is a 501(c)(6) organization. As a result we are able to perform activities dedicated to improving (or defending) the conditions of our industry, including lobbying and promotion. AEP’s lobbying and legislative activities are guided by our Public Policy Program which is available on AEP website and the AEP Legislative Committee which consists of at least two representatives from each of our nine chapters throughout California. You will see that the Public Policy Program is largely California focused, but it does have broader goals relevant to federal initiatives such as protecting the quality of natural and human environments, supporting science-based regulations, and promoting sound and efficient environmental planning and analysis. We use the Public Policy Program to guide when and how we take active positions on legislative issues and then work with our lobbyist to promote our position.
It’s difficult to predict if we will take active positions on federal initiatives. We often position AEP as a resource for legislators to assist them with crafting more meaningful and workable legislation and may choose to take a similar tack on the federal side. Similarly, it’s not clear how California’s government will attempt to defy or thwart federal initiatives that may undermine efforts to address global climate change or other key environmental issues. In the first few months of 2017, the California legislature is already quite active with State initiatives that could affect CEQA and other environmental policies. On both federal and State matters, AEP’s legislative committee remains committed to encouraging and promoting legislative proposals that enhance, maintain, and protect the quality of the natural
and human environments through smart environmental planning, analysis, and assessment. If you want more information on our legislative program, please don’t hesitate to contact me or any one of our legislative committee members (also listed on our website).
In addition to our active involvement in legislation, an equal goal of AEP is to keep you, our members, informed of those legislative activities that could affect our profession. This year we will be increasing the frequency of legislative and case law updates and many of our chapters will likely be hosting educational events focused on key legislative activities. We will also continue to include legislative updates as part of our workshops and at our annual conference. Lastly, don’t forget to keep an eye out for news and events from the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), a good resource for news at the federal level. For example, on March 8, they are hosting a webinar titled Environmental Practice in Flux: Transitioning to the Trump Administration. Visit NAEP.org for more information.
Chapter Summit and AEP’s 2017 Priorities
In January, we held a Chapter Summit where Board members from all our chapters gathered to learn more about the AEP organization, to discuss ideas on how to improve services to our members and the profession, and to explore how the organization can better support our chapters. For this summit, we also gave additional attention to financial management and the fiduciary responsibilities of our board members. We got great input and will be incorporating many of the ideas into our workplans. A couple of the highlights included expanded use of webinars and improved communication between chapters.
We also got to business quickly. The CEQA Statute and Guidelines book went to the printer in mid-January and should be in members’ hands soon. Our Advanced CEQA Workshops are also in full swing with most venues already reaching capacity or selling out. We have a great annual conference coming up in May in San Francisco. The committee has done a fantastic job at securing a downtown location, the Parc55, that is easily accessible by transit. Additionally, they have creatively planned the 3½ day event to provide us a packed program with numerous sessions to ensure you can always find one that peaks your interest. Later in the year, we will be providing an updated NEPA workshop and an AEP Institute that focuses on SB 743.
Throughout the year, we will be working on ensuring that all these ongoing programs are provided with the highest quality. Additionally, we continue to work on expanding and enhancing the CEQA Portal with additional case law information, expanded searching capabilities, a mitigation measure database, and more whitepapers. I highly encourage you to visit the CEQA Portal
accessed through our homepage and check out all of the updates.
In closing, I hope that everyone’s 2017 has been off to a great start and that the rest of the year treats you well. I am excited to continue supporting AEP as its President and look forward to seeing each of you at a future event. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you every have any questions about AEP or suggestions for how we could be serving you better.