On April 11th, APA-Los Angeles and the Association of Environmental Professionals hosted a workshop at the Goethe-Institut in the Museum Mile of Los Angeles. ~50 students and professionals participated in an introductory workshop on the California Environmental Quality Act and careers in the environmental planning sector.
This course provided basic building blocks to understand and implement the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and how it is implemented by local agencies. Students and emerging professionals in attendance were provided with a strong base to develop further CEQA knowledge. The training focused on practical real-world applications to help each participant demonstrate their mastery of the preeminent environmental regulation/process in California. The following topics were covered:
- Historical and political roots of CEQA;
- Overview of the CEQA process via a comprehensive flowchart;
- Summary of CEQA documents such as an Initial Study, Statutory and Categorical Exemptions, Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), and Environmental Impact Report (EIR); and
- Relationship of CEQA to other state laws and federal environmental laws.
The course also included information on careers currently available in environmental planning beyond just CEQA compliance. Opportunities in the private and public sectors were explored, along with the importance of professional networking. This session aimed to help environmentally-focused students and emerging professionals alike with their career preparation.
Thank you to Goethe-Institut for hosting and thank you to our wonderful panelists for volunteering their time!
Instructor: Kent Norton has 37 years of experience in CEQA and NEPA compliance and is currently a Senior Environmental Planner with LSA Associates, Inc., a full-service environmental consulting firm with offices throughout California. His projects have ranged from MNDs for small urban infill subdivisions to over a dozen large specific plan projects in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties He is the State President of the Association of Environmental Professionals and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners as well as the American Planning Association. Mr. Norton obtained both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Science and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in urban and regional planning from the California State University at Fullerton.
Speaker: Geoff Danker is the Senior Policy and Planning Advisor at the Southern California Gas Company. In this role, Mr. Danker develops and recommends environmental policy for SoCalGas in response to proposed regulations, legislation or emerging environmental policy issues. He manages business unit teams to assess the impact of regulation and legislation and sets SoCalGas position or appropriate response to environmental and public policy issues. Prior to SoCalGas, Geoff worked as an environmental consultant providing planning, permitting and policy expertise for a variety of energy and infrastructure projects. He is currently the Vice President of Programs for the Association of Environmental Professionals and the Vice Director of Programs for the American Planning Association. Geoff holds a B.S. in Environmental Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.