Colin L. Pearce is an environmental, land use, water, energy and regulatory attorney, with extensive experience and a record of success as a trial lawyer and litigator in state and federal court, in administrative proceedings, and in appellate courts. He has extensive experience representing public entities, private entities and individuals in a wide range of matters, from administrative proceedings and mediations to lengthy jury trials of complex water disputes. His practice focuses on environmental, water and land use litigation, and litigation involving public entities, but he has substantial experience litigating a broad range of matters, including complex business and land use disputes. His vast extensive experience with state and federal appeals includes handling the appeal of complex water right matters, CEQA cases, civil rights actions and business and commercial disputes.
Mr. Pearce developed specific experience handling cases and proceedings involving water rights, water contamination, property damage, energy, CEQA, land use, representation of public entities, and a wide range of environmental matters. Mr. Pearce has handled a number of matters before the California State Water Resources Control Board and various Regional Water Quality Control Boards. He has negotiated settlements with state and federal regulatory agencies, including complicated settlements involving water diversion and use, water contamination and water transfers. He has prepared and filed water rights applications, petitions and appeals before the California State Water Resources Control Board and defended actions brought by the Board and has extensive experience handling water-related matters with and before various Regional Water Quality Control Boards.He has handled cases and disputes involving water rights, groundwater and surface water contamination, water transfers, water supply requirements, water rates, groundwater pumping, water banking, waste discharge orders, water right applications, irrigation, stream flow requirements, water right permits and recycled water.
In addition to his litigation and administrative experience, Mr. Pearce regularly advises cities, water districts, and other public entities, as well as corporations, developers, land owners and other entities and individuals in connection with a wide range of environmental, regulatory, water, land use, energy and governmental issues. For more than 15 years Mr. Pearce has served as the primary water attorney for the City of Bakersfield. In addition to representing Bakersfield in litigation involving water rights, agreements and supplies, Mr. Pearce regularly advises the City on a wide range of water related issues, matters, and policies, as well as related environmental, planning and land use issues.
Mr. Pearce has significant litigation and trial experience in connection with land use matters on behalf of public and private entities and individual landowners, including cases involving general plan amendments, zoning, development projects, and all aspects of CEQA. He has substantial experience handling matters involving real property, including real estate disputes, land use issues, property damage claims, sales of residential and commercial property, commercial lease disputes, unlawful detainer actions, underground storage tanks and land use planning. He has represented private landowners in the prosecution and defense of multiple actions involving easements, boundaries, development, wells and environmental matters.
He has extensive experience in matters involving a broad range of federal and state environmental statutes and regulations, including CEQA, CERCLA, NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, California's Proposition 65, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, RCRA, as well as related regulations. He has substantial experience in water-related matters and California and Western water law, including legal issues surrounding surface water, appropriative rights, riparian rights, groundwater, and issues involving the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. He has handled a significant number of CEQA actions and has taken several CEQA cases to trial. Mr. Pearce advises clients on energy-related matters and has represented private and public entities and individuals in proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission involving energy, including energy deregulation and rates as well as railroad crossings and transfers of public utility assets.
Mr. Pearce has extensive and in-depth experience with a broad range of public law issues on behalf of and involving public entities. He has tried cases in federal and state court on behalf of public entities in matters involving condemnation, water rights, construction, excessive force, water rates, water transfers, municipal code enforcement, zoning, Proposition 218 claims and public contracts. He has advised and represented public entities in a number of diverse disputes and proceedings, including matters involving CEQA, energy issues, land use, water quality, water supply and planning, water transfers, development, elections, civil rights claims, police defense, personnel matters, government finance (including Propositions 13 and 218), water rates, groundwater pumping, groundwater contamination, water supply assessments, storm water runoff, zoning, employment discrimination allegations, Brown Act compliance and claims, railroad crossings, contracts, leases and construction disputes.
He has represented private companies in a wide range of commercial and business disputes, including actions involving trademarks, premises liability, commercial leases, construction, products liability, franchise agreements, professional negligence and liability, wrongful death, securities broker's claims, slip and fall, and other types of personal injuries.
A member of The State Bar of California, Mr. Pearce is a 1988 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.
•Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2001-present
- Associate, 1999-2000
•Hatch and Parent, Santa Barbara, California
- Associate, Senior Associate, 1990-1999
•Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, Los Angeles, California
- Associate, 1989-1990
•Co-author, California Governor Issues Drought Emergency Proclamation for 25-Percent Urban Water Conservation, Duane Morris Alert, April 3, 2015
Selected Speaking Engagements
•Presentation, The Kern River SWRCB Proceeding, California Water Law and Policy Program, San Francisco, California, April, 2013
•Speaker, Case Studies: Meeting Water Challenges for Energy Projects, Law Seminars International's The Water/Energy Nexus in California Program, San Diego, California, June 2011
•Speaker, Water/Energy Nexus Conference, San Diego, California, June, 2011
•Panelist, Recent Developments in Groundwater Management, Association of Environmental Professionals Conference, Monterey, California, March, 2011
•Presentation, California Water Supply Issues and Options for Solar Power Developers, Siting Workshop, Solar Energy Industries Association, San Diego, California, December, 2010
•Panelist, CEQA Issues, Seminar on Water Rights Sales and Transfers San Francisco, California, January, 2010. Presentation, The Logistics of Stormwater: Legal Issues, Seminar on Stormwater Compliance, Issues and Answers, San Francisco, California, February, 2007
•Presentation, California Water: Overview and Update on Legal Issues and Challenges, California County Counsel Association, San Francisco, California, December, 2010
•Panelist, Perchlorate 2006: Progress Toward Understanding and Cleanup, Santa Clara, California, January, 2006
•Guest Speaker, Environmental Legal Forum, radio station KFNX in Phoenix, Arizona, November 15, 2000