Updated: April 27, 2022

Environmental & Land Use Law Section

The Environmental and Land Use Law (ELUL) Section represents a diverse membership with individuals who are often on different sides of an issue, but who are all committed to civil and professional cooperation for the protection and enhancement of shared communities. The ELUL Section provides benefits to members by initiating, implementing, and supporting opportunities for the interchange of ideas surrounding environmental and land use law. To further discussion among members, the ELUL Section hosts an annual midyear CLE conference each spring and Mini-CLEs throughout the year. It also supports law student development by providing scholarships and hosting networking events that create opportunities for law students to meet legal professionals.

The ELUL Section helps members keep up with this rapidly developing area of law. Accordingly, it regularly publishes information and provides access to scholarly analyses of fundamental and emerging environmental and land use law issues. The ELUL Section website contains current, scholarly information on emerging trends in environmental and land use law, including analyses of cases, draft rules, and new statutes that affect this area of practice. During the legislative session, the ELUL Section shares information about bills that are relevant to environmental and land use law as a resource to further collaboration and discussion.

Annual Report  |  Budget  |  Bylaws  |  Year in Review  |  Section Member Resources  |  Legislation  |  Land Use and Environmental Mediation Committee

Join Now


Shape Your Section for the Future: Apply Today to Become a Section Leader

Applications open on March 14, 2022, and close at 5 p.m. May 12, 2022.

The following section executive committee positions are open for applications. All terms begin Oct. 1, 2022.

  • Chair-elect: one-year position beginning Oct. 1, 2022, and ending Sept. 30, 2023.
  • At-Large Member (three positions open): three-year position beginning Oct. 1, 2022 and ending Sept. 30, 2025.

To learn more about roles and expectations for serving on the section executive committee, review this committee position description.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be a current section member and should be eligible to vote in accordance with the section’s bylaws.

Application Process

Go to the myWSBA portal to complete the online application for open executive committee positions. The Section has requested that each applicant submit a statement of interest with your application. This document can be uploaded with your online application (pdf format only). Please be advised that application materials may be posted on this website for public viewing.

Note: If you are applying for more than one position on this or multiple sections’ committees, you must complete and submit all applications at the same time, as you will not be allowed back into the portal at a later time. Please make sure you are completing the applications within the application window for all of the relevant sections.

Nomination Process

The executive committee annually shall compile a list of Voting Members of the Section who are not currently members of the executive committee and who may serve on a nominating committee. The Immediate Past-Chair shall appoint a nominating committee consisting of not fewer than three persons from that list who are willing to serve on the nominating committee. The nominating committee shall make and report nominations at the annual meeting of the Section for the office of the Chair-elect and any open At-Large positions to succeed those whose terms will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. In formulating its report of nominations, the nominating committee shall maintain a view toward providing representation on the executive committee that reflects the geographic, practice-area, practice type, ethnic, gender, and other factors of diversity of the membership.

All candidates accepting the nomination of the nomination committee shall provide candidate statements to the Bar one week prior to the annual meeting. Candidates accepting a nomination from the floor of the annual meeting shall provide candidate statements to the Bar within three business days from the close of the midyear conference. All candidates shall apply through an electronic application process administered by the Bar.

Alternate Nomination Process

Other nominations may be made from the floor at the annual meeting. Candidates accepting a nomination from the floor of the annual meeting shall provide candidate statements to the Bar within three business days from the close of the midyear conference. All candidates shall apply through an electronic application process administered by the Bar.

Elections Process

All voting members of the section will receive an electronic ballot sent to their email in June 2022. Visit this webpage in early June for election updates and voting instructions.

Questions? 
For more information about the Section, its executive committee roles, and elections process, please review the Section’s bylaws. You may also contact any member of the current Section Executive Committee or email sections@wsba.org.


THE 2022 ELUL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION IS OPEN!!

The Environmental and Land Use Law Section (ELUL) of the Washington State Bar Association is pleased to be supporting law students this summer by offering up to three $3,000 fellowship awards! This fellowship is open to law students participating in an unpaid summer internship related to environmental and/or land use law in Washington State in 2022.

Please help us get the word out about this scholarship opportunity by sharing widely with students and student organizations! This flyer provides additional information and application instructions. Application deadline is 5 p.m. on May 2, 2022.


UPCOMING EVENTS

The WSBA’s Environmental and Land Use Law Section is excited to invite you to its Annual Spring Networking Event!

Please SAVE THE DATE! This year’s annual spring networking event for Washington law students interested in pursuing careers in environmental and land use law is scheduled for April 20, 2022, during Earth Week! This is a great opportunity to meet and network with attorneys and law students in the area.

This year, ELUL is thrilled to be co-hosting with King County Bar Association’s Environmental and Land Use Section, and to be hosting the event in person at Optimism Brewing in Seattle.

When:           April 20, 2022 at 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Where:         Optimism Brewing, 1158 Broadway, Seattle

What:            Networking! An opportunity to meet and mingle with environmental and land use attorneys, and share experience and wisdom with Washington law students. Appetizers and drinks will be provided.

We hope you will join us and will forward this invite on to any friends or colleagues you think would be available/interested in attending!

Please RSVP here so we can get an idea of who plans to join us in person, and who might be interested in a follow up virtual event if you cannot make it in person.

We realize COVID policies and restrictions are still in flux. Please note that per current WSBA policy, all attendees at in-person events and gatherings are required to provide proof of vaccination (including booster) from COVID-19; or provide proof of a negative PCR COVID test within the past 72 hours.

May 5–7, 2022 — Annual Midyear Conference

The WSBA Environmental and Land Use Law Conference will be a hybrid event this year on May 5at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. We look forward to presentations on nonconforming uses, a legislative update, salmon and orca recovery, housing, infrastructure, and environmental justice, among others!

We are excited to see some of you in person at this year’s event. We are inviting up to 100 in-person attendees, but registration will also be available to attend virtually from your home or office. (Please note that we adjusted the maximum number of attendees to 100 people (50% of the room capacity).

Registration is available at this link.

COVID-19 VACCINATION/TESTING REQUIREMENTS
Please note, all in-person attendees will be required to provide either: proof of full vaccination as well as a booster shot against COVID-19 or proof of a negative PCR COVID test within the past 48 hours. Verification will occur at the event. Properly worn disposable masks (surgical, KF94, KN95, N95) required for everyone while in the conference room together unless actively eating/drinking.  Requirements are subject to change.

Scholarship Opportunity

This year, the WSBA Environmental and Land Use Law (ELUL) Section has created three scholarships for public interest/service attorneys who are members of the ELUL Section to attend the 2022 WSBA Environmental and Land Use Law (ELUL) Section Midyear Conference to be held on May 5-7, 2022 at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. The event will be hybrid, allowing for in-person and remote attendance.

The scholarship award will be $1,000 per person (a total of 3 awards) for attorneys who meet all the following criteria:
a.    Work in public interest or public service (this could include Federal Public Service Law Forgiveness-qualifying employment (i.e., nonprofit (501(c)(3)), or local, state or federal government where an employer cannot provide compensation for Midyear attendance)),
b.    in Washington,
c.    in the field of environmental and/or land use law, and
d.    are a member of ELUL.

Entrants should submit a short (one page or less) cover letter with their contact information and a brief statement to show compliance with the eligibility criteria for this award. Entries should be in PDF format. Entrants must submit their entry by email to ELULarticles@gmail.com, with the subject line “WSBA ELUL Midyear Scholarship.” All entries must be received on or before 5 p.m. PST Monday April 18, 2022.

Entries will be judged by a panel consisting the WSBA ELUL Executive Committee. Awardees will be notified by Friday April 22, 2022.


Advice for Law Students

The Environmental and Land Use Law Section Executive Committee has put together a collection of advice for law students. We hope you find this compilation of reflections and advice to be helpful as you navigate through the unique challenges of this unprecedented moment in history.


Get Involved!

Are you interested in speaking at a CLE seminar or in helping to organize a CLE? The section is always looking for ideas, speakers, and volunteers. To propose topics and speakers for our mini-CLEs, please contact an ELUL Executive Committee member.  To propose topics, speakers, or co-chairs for the ELUL's Annual Midyear Seminar, please contact Kyler Danielson. Co-chairs are selected in the fall of each year, and typically begin planning the next year’s Midyear Seminar toward the end of each current year.


The Benefits of Membership

The ELUL Blog

In 2020, ELUL shifted from a newsletter format to publication of articles on a blog. The blog is a free resource that provides updates and in-depth articles on cases, draft rules, new statutes, and other topics relevant to environmental and land use law practitioners. A host of talented and dedicated lawyers donate their time to make this publication the great success it is.

Spring 2017  │ Summer 2016  │  Spring 2016

November 2015  │  August 2015  │  February 2015

Archived issues are available to section members upon request. To request an issue, please email sections@wsba.org.

Midyear Seminar

Every year, the Section hosts a meeting that features a two-day CLE in a resort area in the state. The CLE program is carefully vetted through the Executive Committee to ensure that top-quality presentations focus on timely topics of current utility and interest to environmental and land use law practitioners. As most of us have practices that delve into the realms of both land use and environmental law, the CLE allows us to get up to date on both areas of the law. Again, opportunities abound to network in a relaxed atmosphere ideal for forging new friendships and working relationships. We work hard to keep the cost as low as possible for our members and provide scholarships to qualified individuals. Your dues make this possible.

Mini-CLEs

The Section provides its members with low-cost mini-CLEs to coincide with significant cases and topics relevant to environmental and land use practitioners. Please watch social media, the ELUL list serve, and this website for upcoming mini-CLEs, and please contact Martha Wehling to propose topics or speakers. Your dues make this possible. 

Sponsoring Law School Students in Internships

The Section helps sponsor internships in the fields of land use and environmental law to deserving law students at the three law schools in Washington. The Executive Committee believes it is important for the Section to help students find their way into practice areas that are highly specialized and in which it is sometimes difficult to find relevant experience. We hope that by helping law students in internships, we will help grow the highly skilled lawyers of the future. Your dues make this possible.

Special Projects

Giving back to the community is important. The Executive Committee in the past several years has developed a high school curriculum for Law Day specifically geared toward environmental and land use law, undertaken a project on sustainability of law office practices, and hosted numerous free brown bags on topics of interest such as I-297 and the Endangered Species Act. We have also sponsored Earth Day and Habitat for Humanity Work Days. Your dues make this possible.

Scholarship Information

The WSBA Environmental and Land Use Law Section solicits donations from law firms and section members to fund scholarships for its midyear meeting and conference held each spring. Scholarships serve an educational and charitable purpose by helping attorneys and law students attend the midyear conference and CLE who would not otherwise be able to attend.

Please Donate to the Scholarship Fund

To contribute to the ELUL Section Scholarship Fund, please donate online or contact the Washington State Bar Foundation. Donations are fully tax-deductible.


Executive Committee 

Chair: Kyler Danielson  (2021-2022)

Chair-ElectDonya Burns (2021-2022)

Secretary: Caroline Cress (2021-2022)

Treasurer: Meghan Gavin (2021-2022)

Immediate Past Chair: Pat Spurgin (2021-2022) 

Board of Governors Liaison*: Hunter Abell (2021-2022) 

Young Lawyer Liaison: Gabrielle Gurian (2020-2022)

*Nonvoting member

Website, Communications, and Blog Editorial Board Liaisons: Donya Burns & Molly Barker

Mini-CLE Planning: Martha Wehling

Blog Editors*:Clifford Kato & Andy King

At-Large Members:
Molly Barker (2019-2022)
Meghan Gavin (2019-2022)
Martha Wehling (2019-2022)
Albert Chang (2020-2023)
Robie Russell (2020-2023)
Caroline Cress  (2021-2024)
Thomas Wilcox (2021-2024) 

The WSBA ELUL Executive Committee generally conducts meetings on the third Wednesday of each month, from 3-4 p.m. You may attend by phone by calling 866-577-9294 and using the passcode 5016511#. Please contact committee member for specific details on their upcoming meeting dates and locations.

For more information about the Executive Committee members, check out their biographies


Join Our List Serve and Follow Us on Social Media

To join the section list serve or for general section questions, please send your email address and bar number to sections@wsba.org. For more information and to get involved with the section, please contact Section Chair, Kyler Danielson . The ELUL Section is on Facebook and LinkedIn; please follow us to receive the most recent updates.