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Environmental Law Symposium 2019

Friday March 15, 2019

King Hall, Room 1001
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Deconstructing Waste

Presented by:

Environmental Law Society Logo


Environs Law and Policy Journal Logo


Aoki Center Logo


In partnership with:

John Muir Institute of the Environment Logo


UC Davis Center for Regional Change Logo

California Environmental Law & Policy Center Logo

Under the natural law of conservation of mass, matter is neither created nor destroyed; everything we have ever thrown away is still here with us on planet Earth. In light of evolving California climate and environmental policy focused on air quality, water quality, and environmental justice, this year’s Environmental Law Symposium at UC Davis focuses on the human-made law of waste management. Leaders in government, non-profit and private sectors will discuss the ways we manage organic waste, hazardous waste, agricultural waste and other waste streams, opening the doorway to dialogue about the impacts of dumping on vulnerable landscapes and populations, and how our society can shift from disposal to regeneration in the era of climate change.



Free CLE credit will be offered at 1.25 credits per panel. Participation in the complete program, 4 panels, will award 5 CLE credits.



8:30am - 9:00am: Breakfast and Check-in

9:00am - 9:45am: Opening Remarks, Introduction, and Keynote by CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld

9:45am - 11:00am: Solid Waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Regenerate

The face of solid-waste management has changed dramatically since the 1960s/70’s push to reduce, reuse, recycle. In addition to China’s ban on the import of US plastics, today California is working to meet ambitious methane reduction goals from our state’s landfills. The rapid expansion of composting capacity, strategies to divert food waste, and supporting the industry in transition are key features in reaching our state climate goals.


  1. Elliot Block, Chief Counsel, Cal Recycle
  2. Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy, Californians Against Waste
  3. Kelly Astor, Partner, Astor & Kingsland LLP
  4. Gustavo Aguirre Sñr., Committee for a Better Arvin, Director of Organizing, Center on Race, Poverty, & the Environment


Moderator: Janaki Jagannath, Environmental Law Society Symposium Chair, UC Davis School of Law


11:00am - 11:10am: Morning Break

11:10am - 12:25pm:  Hazardous Waste: Public Process in the Crosshairs

The production and disposal of pharmaceuticals, plastics, batteries, medical equipment and countless other goods upon which we rely day to day create sources of hazardous waste which are regulated differently from other waste streams for their toxicity and potential for public health hazard. The history of siting of hazardous waste facilities in low-income communities of color has been a driver of organizing for environmental justice, a grassroots movement which has shaped the way both federal and state EPAs contend with hazardous waste management. This panel focuses on modern legal challenges in hazardous waste management and uncovers the way governments and communities communicate in the crosshairs of cleanup and remediation.


  1. Letitia Moore, Senior Counsel, Holland & Knight
  2. Cesar Campos, Supervisor, Office of Public Participation, California Department of Toxic Substances Control
  3. Ingrid Brostrom, Assistant Director, Center on Race Poverty & the Environment
  4. Nayamin Martinez, Director, Central California Environmental Justice Network


Moderator: Clare Cannon, Assistant Professor, UC Davis Center for Regional Change


12:30pm - 1:20pm: Lunch


1:20pm - 2:35pm: Agricultural Waste: Spotlight on Dairy Farming

California dairy carries our state to the top of the United State’s farm gate incomes and stocks millions of grocery store shelves across the nation in the form of processed cheese, whey protein, milk powder, and of course, fresh dairy products. Under scrutiny for impacts on air quality and local groundwater, however, the dairy industry is not without its waste management challenges. This panel focuses on the policy responses to these challenges, and the road ahead in developing a dairy farming system that is both sustainable and practical.

  1. Jennifer Fearing, Fearless Advocacy Inc.
  2. Christian Griffith, Chief Consultant, Assembly Budget Committee
  3. Senator Dean Florez, California Air Resources Board
  4. Jenny Lester Moffitt, Undersecretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture

Moderator: Mary Louise Frampton, Professor of Law, Director of Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies, UC Davis School of Law

2:35pm - 2:45pm: Afternoon Break

2:45pm - 4:00pm: Local Solutions: Resident Power in Transforming Waste to Energy


Although waste-to-energy technology, in its many forms, is being actively explored by university researchers and supported by the state for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, local resident communities who struggle with the worst impacts of industrial waste dumping and facility siting are hard at work building solutions that improve local health outcomes and build community resilience to climate change. In this panel, we discuss issues of access to the benefits of waste-to-energy technologies in California’s most polluted areas and explore alternative local projects that mitigate the impacts of climate change and relieve communities of local pollution burdens.


  1. Martha Guzman Aceves, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission
  2. Dan Noble, Director, Association of Compost Producers
  3. Madeline Stano, Energy Equity Counsel, Greenlining Institute
  4. Kassandra Hishida, Director, Community Alliance for Agroecology


Moderator: Phoebe Seaton, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability


4:00pm - 4:35pm: Plenary By Mayor of Arvin, Jose Gurrola and Closing Statements

4:35pm - 5:30pm: Reception, King Hall Courtyard



For more information, please contact Janaki Jagannath at