Kenneth A. Ehrlich


Bar Admissions

State Bar of California


J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law

B.A., University of California, Davis,  magna cum laude

With a passion for the environment and the laws that protect it, Ken Ehrlich is a hands-on partner serving clients requiring litigation to enforce or protect their environmental rights.  He is equally adept providing counsel in environmental regulatory and compliance matters relating to facility operations, project development, coastal permitting, facility redevelopment and expansion, and transactions involving contaminated real estate.  Ken has served as counsel in some of California’s most high-profile environmental cases, representing project developers, investors, current and former site operators, and individuals involved in environmental litigation in state and federal courts as well as prominent project development matters.  More recently, Ken has served as lead counsel representing property owners on Malibu’s famed Broad Beach to help restore its dunes and shoreline, and co-lead counsel in major Superfund litigation involving a former East Los Angeles smelter site.

In addition to regulatory matters and litigation, Ken’s work covers a myriad of transactional matters that allocate environmental risk on behalf of buyers, sellers, guarantors, fiduciaries, lenders, and others.  He maintains critical relationships with state and federal officials, regulators, and agencies, and has deep experience with California and federal environmental laws and regulations.  Trusted for his proficiency in blending legal principles, business sense, and technical details in environmental and land use matters, Ken has also drafted many laws and regulations to help shape our future.


Career Highlights

Co-counsel for lead defendant in CERCLA case involving former east Los Angeles smelter facility where state of California claims over $800 million in remediation costs;  to date, case has involved three phases of trial and court has deemed our client not responsible for clean-up costs in a half-mile industrial band surrounding the facility.

Lead counsel for $50+ million beach and dune restoration project in western Malibu.

Lead counsel in multiple writ of mandamus petitions in Superior Court and Court of Appeals challenging determinations by Regional Water Quality Control Board, City of Malibu, and other discretionary decision-makers.

Lead counsel for landowner plaintiff in Orange County cost recovery litigation involving solvent contamination at former printing plant; resolution yielded a payment to client and funding of final assessment, remediation, and site monitoring.

Successful resolution of multiple cases litigating environmental insurance (PLL) policies— cases involved arsenic, chlorinated solvents, petroleum substances, and 1.4 dioxane contamination.

Counsel for regional service station operator in litigation brought by Orange County Water District alleging pervasive MTBE contamination in drinking water wells; case involved significant Joint Defense Group and resolved on day of trial.

Successfully litigated and resolved multiple CERCLA, RCRA, and common law cost recovery actions involving manufacturing facilities, smelters, landfills, gun ranges, storage and processing facilities, aircraft and aerospace facilities, scrap metal recycling, and dry-cleaning facilities

Secured summary judgment for regional energy company in a federal class action alleging illegal retail motor fuel sales practices (reported at Law 360, July 22, 2013, In Re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litigation, Case No. 2:07-md-01840, U.S. District Court, Kansas)

Co-lead counsel in major limestone mine enforcement and expansion project

Counsel for multiple California coastal property owners in permitting, enforcement, and litigation matters.

Local counsel and a team coordinator for proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving and truck loading terminal at Port of Long Beach

Successfully defended multiple clients in Clean Water Act citizens suit based on alleged violations of stormwater regulations

Co-lead of team which secured entitlements for Wilmington, Calif. oil firm to drill 500+ new wells and abandon unused improvements and facilities

Extensive experience in permitting and entitlement process for manufacturers, mine sites and quarries, and gravel operations, and landfills

Negotiated first EPA Region 9 “Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser” Agreement for national retailer client.

Represented regional petroleum operator in MTBE administrative and litigation proceedings involving contaminated groundwater basin

Represented multiple clients in CERCLA and RCRA Steering Committees and Joint Defense Groups (Omega, Casmailia, BKK, OII, etc.)

Represented property developers in purchase and redevelopment of environmentally impaired parcels including numerous Superfund sites throughout California (including major ports) New York, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Oklahoma, Washington, Massachusetts, and other areas.


University of California Regent Scholar, 1983-87

Comments Editor, Santa Clara Law Review, 1989-90

Los Angeles Magazine’s Southern California Super Lawyer, 2004-present


Chair, Environmental Section of Los Angeles County Bar Association, 2000-2001

Publications & Speaking

Real Estate Transactions Involving Contaminated Properties; Finding Buried Treasures and Completing Transactions (2020-present)

Increasing Profits Through Managing Environmental Costs (2018-present)

Dirty Dealing: A Practical Guide for Environmentally-Impaired Property Transactions (2022-present) Court Decision Freezes Stormwater Permitting; Entire Program in Limbo

Electric and Natural Gas Business: 2005 EPAct Shows More Promise Than Returns For LNG

Environmental Advisor: EPA Targets OII and Omega Superfund Small Hazardous Waste Generators For Expedited Settlement

CMAC 2010 Spring Conference: The New General Permit for Construction Storm Water Discharges

LNG Development in the Pacific Northwest: Permitting a California LNG Receiving and Vehicle Fuel Terminal

Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite: State Bar of California

Primary Media Mentions

Malibu Times, October 2023, Malibu West Seeks to Exit BBGHAD

Malibu Times, April 2017, Broad Beach Sand May Not Be Same Color

Ventura County Star, February 2016: Broad Beach Project Considering Other Sand Sources to Appease Fillmore, County

Ventura County Star, November 2015: Ventura County Officials Concerned About Malibu’s Broad Beach Sand Project

Los Angeles Times, October 2015: It’s a Dune Deal

Malibu Times, October 2015: Coastal Commission OKs Broad Beach Sand Replacement

The Hollywood Reporter, May 2014: Malibu’s Broad Beach Residents Plot New $20 Million Plan to Stop Sand Erosion

Huffington Post, May 2013: Broad Beach: Malibu Homeowners Struggle With Beach-Saving Plan

The Daily Breeze, August 2011: Gambol Has Spent $700K on Lobbying and Contributions for POLA Shipyard

Long Beach Press-Telegram, 2011: Conflicting Visions of Future of Port of L.A. Could End in Court Fight

The Daily Breeze, 2011: Hahn Recuses Herself as Mediator After Shipbuilder’s Contributions Come to Light

World Entertainment News Network: Malibu’s Broad Beach

Super Lawyers: Environmental Attorneys in California

The Malibu Times: Broad Beach Sandbags a Bust, Some Say

Los Angeles Times: Malibu’s Vanishing Broad Beach a sign of rising sea levels, experts say

Los Angeles Business Journal: Attorneys in the Environmental Practice Groups at L.A.’s Largest Law Firms

Los Angeles Business Journal: WHO’S WHO IN L.A. LAW

Malibu Surfside News: Broad Beach Group and Coastal Commission Tackle Erosion