Happy Earth Day!
Paladin Law Group is a certified green business and was honored as a Climate Leader last year by CoolCalifornia. In celebration of Earth Day, Paladin Law Group lawyers wanted to share their top 10 ways to reduce environmental impact.
1. Bike To Work. Bret Stone is a regular bike commuter. If biking to work is not practical for you, try saving on car trips by riding to the store or for other errands.
2. Going Too Far To Walk or Ride? Try using public transportation. Mike Kisgen is a regular BART commuter.
3. Drive A Fuel Efficient Vehicle. When you have to drive, minimize your carbon footprint by driving a fuel efficient car. Brian Paget recently upgraded to a Toyota Prius. Bret Stone and John Till have had hybrid cars for the last six years.
4. Grow Your Own Food. John Till is not only a green lawyer, he has a green thumb to boot. John and his family grow all kinds of vegetables in their backyard.
5. Buy food from organic farmers' markets. For the food she doesn't grow, Becky Davis shops at her local farmers' market. The carbon impact of transportation is reduced and small farms use their land more efficiently. Of course, organic foods are pesticide-free.
6. Compost. The Stone and Till households have long composted their green waste. A few years ago, they turned up the velocity on their reuse by each raising a small flock of backyard chickens. Not only does the green waste disappear faster, but they have a never ending supply of fresh eggs. Next for the Till family, a bee hive!
7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Brian Paget and his family follow this adage of conservation. It's not just cans, bottles, and paper. Don't forget to recycle your electronic waste (computers, TVs, that old VHS player) by bringing them to your local electronics recycling center.
8. Power Down. Even when not turned on, an electronic appliance that is plugged into a power source still draws energy. Use an energy-saving devise that automatically eliminates this power usage. Or go a step farther like Becky Davis and Mike Kisgen and live with no TV at all!
9. Showers to Flowers. Use grey water from your washing machine or shower to water flowers and fruit trees. Capture rain water from your gutters in a rain barrel for reuse later. Bret Stone employs both of these water saving techniques in his smart-scape yard of native plants.
10. Bring Your Own Shopping Bag. Becky Davis always keeps some reusable shopping bags on hand, so she can avoid using the plastic bags at the store. Get used to this idea as many cities have banned plastic bags all together.
Bret Stone addresses Property Management Plans at CALED Conference in Long Beach
The California Association for Local Economic Development ("CALED") is California’s premier economic development association. Paladin participated in a session entitled "A Survivor’s Guide to AB1484 Post-Compliance – Are Property Management Plans a Backdoor to Economic Development?" The session covered in detail how property management plans can be developed to contribute to economic development efforts. In particular, Bret Stone discussed the challenges Successor Agencies have in preparing their PMPs in relation to AB1484's requirement of inventoring the history of environmental contamination. The talk also included strategies for selling contaminated former RDA properties. For more information about the conference, click here.
Paladin wins Climate Leader award from California Air Resources Board
Paladin Law Group is proud to announce that it has been recognized as a Climate Leader award winner for the 3rd CoolCalifornia Small Business Awards. The CoolCalifornia Small Business Awards recognize California small businesses that took action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, promoted climate friendly practices and integrated the tools on CoolCalifornia.org into their business operations. For more information about CoolCalifornia.org, click here.
Paladin particpates in Sustainable Property Transactions Conference in Boston
Paladin participated in a conference regarding Sustainable Property Transactions: Business Strategies for Distressed Assets and Dynamic Energy Opportunities. The conference, organized by RTM Communications, included discussions in Brownfields, private equity deals, renewable energy, energy efficiency audits, green remediation, and environmental insurance. For more information about the conference click here.
New Environmental and Energy Lawyer Joins Paladin
Paladin Law Group is pleased to announce Rebecca Davis as the newest member of our firm. Ms. Davis comes to us with deep experience both in environmental litigation and energy regulation. Most recently she was involved in a high profile NEPA litigation over the construction of a major power plant. To view her complete bio, click here.
Stone Interviewed Re Green Claims
The Pacific Coast Business Times interviewed Bret Stone for its article entitled "Greener than thou? Be sure before you make any claims" in its April 6, 2012 issue. The article cites the confusion in the marketplace and FTC enforcement regarding unsubstantiated green claims. To view an exerpt of the article, click here.
Paladin Addresses Cap-and-Trade at AB32 Conference
Bret Stone discussed California cap-and-trade regulations at the AB32: Deep Dive Series; a compendium of events geared to help companies understand and come into compliance with California's climate change laws. This session provided attendees with actionable information to protect their companies, undertsand their carbon footprint, and minimize risk associated with AB32 compliance. For more information, click here.
Developer Settles Contamination, Nondisclosure Case
With just a month before trial, Paladin settled a multi-million dollar case for a major Silicon Valley developer. The case involved environmental contamination at the site of a former bulk fueling and service station that dispensed a wide variety of petroleum products. The developer bought the property after the county gave it site closure, but then discovered contaminated soils during backfilling activities, which led to the site being reopened. Worse, the discovery of the contamination caused the developer's buyer to fall out of escrow because of an inability to obtain financing leaving the developer holding the property. During the discovery phase of the litigation, Paladin learned that the previous owner had information about leaks that had not been disclosed to the county during its previous cleanup activities or to the developer as part of the sale. The lawsuit sought cost recovery, damages, and injunctive relief to compel the defendants to investigate and cleanup the contamination at the site. The settlement included a lump sum payment of $4.25 million plus the defendants took full responsibility to complete the investigation and cleanup.
Water Board Gives Developer Immunity for Contamination
In a landmark agreement, the Regional Water Quality Control Board – Central Coast Region has signed its first ever agreement under the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004 giving a developer immunity for the contamination from a former dry cleaner that has plagued the shopping center for decades. Paladin suggested a strategy that would allow the developer to acquire the property without being responsible for the unknowns the contamination presented. Taking its experience in working on Brownfields projects, Paladin designed a strategy premised on the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act, which was enacted to encourage and establish the cleanup and reuse of underused urban properties subject to liability from historic contamination. The Act provides for an eligible bona fide purchaser to qualify for specified immunities from liability for certain response costs or damage claims under applicable law if various actions are performed. The final agreement includes a response plan to actively clean up the onsite contamination which is expected to have a correlating benefit of decreasing contamination found offsite.
Paladin Wins Motion for Summary Judgment in RCRA Case
In a neighbor versus neighbor dispute regarding migrating contamination from a leaking underground storage tank and related operations, Paladin successfully argued that its client should prevail on summary judgment on its RCRA cause of action. Olson v. Beck, 2011 WL 4634026 (N.D.Cal. 2011). Paladin proved that the defendants were owners and operators of a storage facility that contributed to the past or present handling, storage, treatment, transportation, or disposal of a solid or hazardous waste which may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment. To read the entire opinion click here.
The New Energy Usage Disclosure Mandate of AB 1103 – What Should Owners/Brokers/Managers (and their Lawyers) Do, and When?
AB 1103 will require, beginning July 1, 2012, owners of larger non-residential properties to disclose the building’s energy usage data to prospective purchasers, tenants, and lenders before a transaction can be completed. By July 1, 2013 this mandate will apply to all non-residential properties in California exceeding 5,000 sf. While envisioned as a streamlined, online process, the details have not been finalized, utility companies have privacy and accessibility restrictions, and the DOE Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool requires training as does the California Energy Commission’s online system.
Sustainable Community Strategy Highlighted at APA Conference
Bret Stone spoke on a panel entitled The California Silo Effect: Sustainable Community Strategy; Climate Action Plans; Regions, Subregions and Cities at the American Planning Association Conference in Santa Barbara. Since the passage of climate change legislation in California such as AB 32 and SB 375, cities and counties have begun creating Climate Action Plans to identify approaches unique to the community to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. One of the key components to developing a Climate Action Plan includes calculating a baseline GHG emission inventory. One problem, however, is that municipalities are often looking at facilities or operations within their own borders in a vacuum without consideration of the communities around them. This silo effect results in a raft of inefficiencies. The panel reviewed these challenges and discussed opportunities for regional and sub-regional coordination. For more information about the APA Conference, click here.
Stone Named as a Who’s Who in Clean Tech & Sustainability Again
For the second year in a row, Bret Stone was recognized for his work in environmental and sustainability law and policy by the Pacific Coast Business Times. The list chronicles the efforts of leaders in areas related to the new energy economy, green building, and other aspects of sustainability.
Paladin Featured at AIHce
For the third year running, Paladin presented several sessions at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHce) in Portland Oregon. The panels included were Ethics, Management Systems, and Sustainable Development and Life Cycle Analysis and Green Chemistry Regulation/TSCA Reform. For more information about the conference click here.
Bret Stone Selected as a Who’s Who in Professional Services by the Pacific Coast Business Times
For the sixth straight year, Bret Stone has been recognized by the Pacific Coast Business Times for his work.
Climate Change in the Desert: Paladin Wins City of Tucson RFP
Paladin, leading a team that includes Sustainametrics and The Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, was chosen by the City of Tucson, Arizona to be its Climate Change Management and Adaptation Advisor. The project's scope of work focuses on both setting greenhouse gas reduction goals and identifying GHG emission reduction strategies and measures. This project covers the full spectrum of climate shift strategies from mitigation to adaptation for climate change. The team's mission is to inspire sustainable cultural change harnessing the transformative power of the private sector and the vibrant communities in the Tucson Sonoran Desert region. Paladin is privileged to be a part of such a progressive project that will integrate policy, science, best practices, and flexible adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Paladin Law Group signs State Bar Eco-Pledge
Paladin Law Group was among the first law firms to sign the State Bar's Eco-Pledge. The pledge commits lawyers and their firms to assigning someone to implement the sustainability policy, implementing as many policy recommendations as possible, educating members of the firm about sustainability, encouraging law firm landlords and building owners to implement sustainable practices and review the policy and implementation efforts at the beginning of each year. Bret Stone serves on the Sustainability Committee of the State Bar and was instrumental in its launch. For more information on the Eco-Pledge click here.
Stone takes part in Brownfields Conference in Philadelphia
Bret Stone took part in the nation's largest conference on contaminated land and urban redevelopment, Brownfields 2011 - Sustainable Communities Start Here. For more information about the conference click here.
Where's the Action in Climate Action?
Paladin led a discussion at the California League of Cities Planning Institute entitled "Where's the Action in Climate Action?" AB 32 has been on the books for four years and most cities are still drafting their Climate Action Plans. Many of the Climate Action Plans that have been drafted are nothing more than words at this point. Discuss key strategies to put the “action” back in “Climate Action.” For more information click here.
Paladin Law Group Selected to Assist the City of Napa with Development and Adoption of Sustainability Plan
Paladin and its strategic partners at Sustainametrics have been chosen by the City of Napa, California, to lead the development and adoption of a community-wide sustainability plan. The plan includes two parts: the first is a community plan that meets the requirements of a climate action plan; the second is an internal city government plan that provides the city with measurable strategies for improving sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Paladin’s work on this project will also contribute directly to economic development and to bringing about the behavior change required to meet Napa’s sustainability goals. Paladin is privileged to add the City of Napa to our list of municipal clients throughout North America and beyond, and the team looks forward to contributing to Napa’s leadership in Climate Change management and greenhouse gas reduction strategies.
City of Capitola Taps Paladin, Again: this time for its General Plan Update
Paladin Law Group is excited to be part of a multi-disciplinary team chosen by the charming California coastal city of Capitola to lead its General Plan revision process. Paladin's role will build on its past work for Capitola to ensure that sustainable development is at the driving force behind the general plan process. In this work, Paladin hopes to continue to contribute to the thriving cultural diversity, unique economic development, healthy and deep social fabric, and deep commitment to ecological protection, that are all vital to the spirit of Capitola. For more information about this project click here.
Update on Sea Level Rise in the Bay Area
According to the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), sea level rise is a particularly acute problem for the Bay Area. Landfill operations that occurred between 1850 and 1960 filled about 240 square miles, high enough to be above sea levels of the past, but not above sea levels of the future. Even now, large portions of the South Bay are below current sea level because of land subsidence. The concerns about the rise in sea levels and how to plan for the future is the topic du jour at BCDC. To read the full article click here.
Paladin at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
Bret Stone addressed a class of graduate students at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management on issues of corporate risk management, environmental and regulatory compliance, and sustainability. The Bren School has earned a reputation as one of the top schools of its kind in the nation and is well-known for its integration of science, management, law, economics, and policy as part of an interdisciplinary approach to environmental problem-solving.
Stone discusses Why Sustainability Makes Business Sense at PEMA
Bret Stone was the keynote speaker at the Professional Environmental Marketing Association. The term “sustainability” is becoming commonplace. But what does it really mean? And why should we care? Companies and public agencies of all sizes are moving towards creating sustainability policies even in the face of a slow economy. These corporate leaders are not just do-gooders. They have proven that using all of their resources – financial, natural, and human capital – to the utmost efficiency is good for business in numerous ways. Moving a business from compliance-oriented to beyond compliance-focused generates huge benefits not only in pollution savings, but in brand reputation and employee morale.
Paladin goes to Hawaii
The garden island of Kaua’i is rapidly becoming a center of excellence in sustainable community design. In the past, professionals in Paladin have advised Malama Kaua’i on a strategy for sustainability master planning on the island. Malama Kaua’i is an organization that strives to create a Kaua`i where the `aina (environment) is healthy, people enjoy a high quality of life, the sense of community is strong, and culture is respected and perpetuated. The organization is founded on the four pillars of sustainability; what they call “the quadruple bottom line”— environment, culture, economy, and society. Malama Kaua’i has now engaged Paladin to provide the legal and advisory services necessary to develop their Strategic Development Plan. As a part of Paladin’s continuing commitment to community service, we are undertaking this exciting work pro bono.
Federal Trade Commission Proposes Revised "Green Guides"
The Federal Trade Commission recently proposed revisions to the guidance that it gives marketers to help them avoid making misleading environmental claims. The proposed changes are designed to update the Guides and make them easier for companies to understand and use. The changes to the “Green Guides” include new guidance on marketers’ use of product certifications and seals of approval, “renewable energy” claims, “renewable materials” claims, and “carbon offset” claims. The FTC is seeking public comments on the proposed changes until December 10, 2010, after which it will decide which changes to make final. For more information click here.
Stone Speaks at London School of Economics Panel on Gulf Oil Spill
Bret Stone served on a panel for a London School of Economics event entitled “Corporate Responsibility When Catastrophe Strikes - An Expert Legal Panel Looks at Who Pays and Why." The centerpiece of the discussion was the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but branched out to other areas of pollution liability and corporate responsibility and sustainability policies including the differences in environmental regulations in the US compared to the EU.
Business Stewardship: What's Next After Performance Track? Exploring What’s Next for Corporate Stewardship, Ethics, and Sustainability
Paladin led a discussion on corporate and social responsibility for a triad of associations (the Industrial Environmental Association, California Manufacturers & Technology Association, and the Chemical Inventory Council of California) at the IEA/CMTA/CICC Conference in San Diego. For more information click here.
Paladin Law Group Presents on Two Panels at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California in Monterey
Bret Stone participated on a panel entitled "Greening Your Practice: An Introduction to the State Bar's EcoPledge" where he shared strategies on how to "green" law firms of all sizes. In addition, Stone discussed the topic of "Sustainable Development: Moving Beyond Green Building Toward Sustainable Building and Master Planning." As the green building movement takes on additional steam, it is worth considering a number of legal and strategic issues that are not getting enough attention in the din around LEED certification. Discussion included General Plan Law, AB 32, SB 375, CEQA, the Community Redevelopment Act, among others. For more information click here.
Stone Serves on Panel at Clean Business Investment Summit in Santa Barbara
Bret Stone served on a panel entitled "Making Cents of Sustainability: Trends and Opportunities in Clean Business" at the Clean Business Investment Summit in Santa Barbara. The event was organized by the California Coast Venture Forum (ccvf.org) as a venue "Where Socially Responsible Investors, and Service Providers Meet Socially Responsible Entrepreneurs."
Paladin Settles Dry Cleaning Contamination Case
After years of battling with the former owners and operators of a dry cleaning plant in Los Angeles and their insurers, a highly contested and complex environmental contamination case has finally come to a close. Paladin's involvement in the case began in 2003 when its insurance archaeology efforts identified the historic insurance assets related to the site. A lawsuit was filed in 2005 under nuisance, trespass laws, and state environmental laws. Many parties settled along the way. In the end, Paladin recovered more than $2.2 million for its client.
Paladin Law Group Certified as a Green Business
The Bay Area Green Business Program certified Paladin Law Group as a business that meets its high standards of environmental performance. The firm has also been recognized as a member of the Green Chamber of Commerce.
Ayurvedic Skin Care Maker to Build Sustainability Management System
DoshaCare, Inc. has hired Paladin Law Group to design and implement a Sustainability Management System for its business operations. DoshaCare offers a complete line of Ayurvedic skin care products, customizable to an individual’s unique Dosha and skin type. DoshaCare products combine the centuries-old Indian Ayurvedic philosophy with the best of Western science and technology to offer an innovative, holistic and environmentally responsible approach to skin care that promotes healthy lifestyle choices.
Paladin Holds Product Labeling Webinar
Bret Stone led a webinar entitled "Product Labeling: Making Sure Green is Really Green." The webinar disscussed Federal Trade Commission regulations, Green Guides, third party certification, and other methods of protecting false claims that a product is "green." To read Paladin's article related to this topic click here.
Paladin Law Group and Green Chamber of Commerce Co-Host Event in Berkeley
Paladin's Sustainability Practice Group co-hosted an event with the Green Chamber of Commerce (http://greenchamberofcommerce.net/) at the Brower Center in Berkeley. The evening included discussions led by Paladin's Ed Quevedo on the topic of Sustainability Metrics for All Stakeholders: Business, Customer, and Community.
City of Santa Cruz Selects Paladin Law Group to Design the Implementation Strategy of its General Plan
The innovative Planning Department of the City of Santa Cruz has retained Paladin Law Group's professional and legal services in order to create the implementation portion for its General Plan 2030. This dynamic process of implementation will positively impact the development of this unique coastal city, creating community benefits, while protecting ecosystems. This project will bring sustainability into the long term planning process for the City of Santa Cruz, and give both government and citizens a road map to realize the General Plan 2030.
San Francisco taps Paladin Law Group for Energy and Climate Change Contract
After an arduous RFP and interview process, Paladin Law Group was selected by the City and County of San Francisco to provide professional sustainability and legal services in the areas of regulations and policy, comprehensive energy/GHG reduction program design and development, marketing and information, and training. Teaming up with Paladin on this project are Arup and EDAW/AECOM. The new programs and energy efficiency incentives will build on current efforts seen in San Francisco, such as Energy Watch, which incentivize energy efficiency in buildings, transit alternatives, alternative vehicle fuels, and generating electricity with renewable energy to achieve goals of energy self-reliance, improved air quality, and the reduction of greenhouse gases by 20 percent below the 1990 levels.
US Green Building Coucil Retains Paladin Law Group
The United States Green Building Council, California Central Coast Chapter has retained Paladin Law Group to provide legal services relating to its education programs.
Stone Speaks at Environmental Summit
Bret Stone presented on "Why Sustainability Makes Business Sense" at the Annual Statewide Environmental Summit in San Diego sponsored by the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, the Industrial Environmental Association, and the Chemical Industry Council of California.
Bret Stone Speaks on Legal Developments Regarding Insurance Claims for Pollution Coverage
Bret Stone served on a panel to discuss key decisions of the California Supreme Court and California Court of Appeals that have forced insurers to rethink how they deal with insurance coverage claims for pollution. Cases on "stacking" insurance policies over multiple years of coverage, the insured's burden of proof regarding damage caused by "sudden and accidental events," the breadth of the pollution exclusion, and the scope of an insurer's duty to defend have been a boost to policyholders and those responding to environmental contamination. The session also explored how insurance coverage may apply to issues of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in an ever-changing field of environmental law.
Paladin Law Group Settles Environmental Contamination Case for Shopping Center
Paladin Law Group represented the owner of a shopping center in a lawsuit against the operators of a dry cleaning plant and the manufacturers of the dry cleaning equipment in a federal lawsuit asserting liability under RCRA, CERCLA, nuisance, and trespass.
John Till Appointed to California Redevelopment Association’s Sustainability Committee
CRA tapped John Till as a founding member of its new Sustainability Committee. CRA has been emphasizing the need for redevelopment agencies to build sustainable projects by promoting urban-centered growth, restoring once contaminated areas to viable use, preserving the environment and open space, and reducing urban sprawl and commute times. With the rise of sustainability in the public consciousness, CRA thought it appropriate to establish a standing committee to focus on issues related to sustainability and redevelopment.
Paladin Law Group Settles Nondisclosure, Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case
Paladin Law Group represented the buyers in a lawsuit against the sellers and real estate brokers in a dual agency situation for failing to disclose that an underground heating oil tank had once been located at the property and that pipelines associated with the tank were still buried underground. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount a week before trial.
Paladin Presents at California Redevelopment Association Conference
Bret Stone was a presenter for the California Redevelopment Association on how historic insurance policies may be an effective tool in Brownfields redevelopment. The event included representatives of municipalities throughout California.