Leah Goldberg

Contact Leah

Email: lgoldberg@cwclaw.comPhone: (925) 935-0700

Leah Goldberg is a partner with Cooper White & Cooper’s Green Practice Group.  She has nearly 30 years of experience in environmental, land use, real estate, and energy law.  Her specialty is reuse and redevelopment of contaminated properties, with a particular focus on siting of renewable energy facilities on contaminated properties.  On these projects, she combines her expertise utilizing Brownfields tools to minimize liability with her land use, real estate and energy expertise.

Representing public and private clients throughout California, Ms. Goldberg assisted clients in reusing contaminated properties, many of which converted former industrial land to housing helping to address California’s housing crisis.

Additionally, she has advised clients on a broad range of matters under the federal and state environmental laws including underground storage tank cleanup, stormwater compliance, NPDES permits, Superfund site cleanup and addressing associated liability issues, hazardous waste classification and disposal, the Clean Water Act citizen suits, solid waste disposal and sustainability issues.  Her land use experience includes CEQA compliance, wetlands, and Coastal Act compliance.

After a number of years in private practice, Ms. Goldberg served in-house as counsel and General Counsel with two California Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs).  Ms. Goldberg assisted in the formation of one CCA and in the launch phases of the second.  As General Counsel she was counsel to the Board, advised all operating departments on all legal matters pertaining to the CCA’s business, including all contracts with the CCA (professional services, NDAs, real estate, power purchases and employment), she advised on conflicts of interest, the Ralph M. Brown Act and the Public Records Act, she hired and managed outside legal counsel, and managed statutory and regulatory compliance of the CCAs as load serving entities.

Ms. Goldberg serves on the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Environmental Law Section Executive Committee (chair 2010) and on the CEB Real Estate Law Advisory Group.  She served on the State Bar of California Environmental Law Section Executive Committee and currently serves as an advisor to the Environmental Law Section Executive Committee (now under the California Lawyer’s Association), where she co-chairs the Legislative Committee.  She has also held leadership positions with the CalEd and California Redevelopment Association Brownfields Committees, the Department of Toxic Substances Control Brownfields Restoration Advisory Committee and the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.

Ms. Goldberg is a frequent speaker and author on energy and environmental topics.  She has worked on several state legislative issues.  In particular, she was instrumental in drafting and passing AB 440, known informally as The Gatto Act.

Ms. Goldberg received her law degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1991 where she was a Tony Patiňo Fellow.


  • “Impacts and Issues: Assessing the Risks in the Transition to Clean Energy,”  California Lawyer’s Association Energy Conference, March 2019.
  • “Steal This Idea,”(TED-Style Talks on the Best Leadership Ideas), California Lawyer’s Association Leadership Conference, February 2019.
  • “Our Electric Future” California Lawyer’s Association Environmental Law Conference in Yosemite, October 2018.
  • “Cooperative Federalism: California’s Response to Laws and Policies that Trump the Environment,” State Bar Sections Annual Conference, August 2017.
  • “Community Choice Aggregation, A New Approach to Providing Electricity in California,” State Bar Environmental Law Section Conference on the Future of Energy in 2030, April 2017.
  • “Environmental Due Diligence for Real Estate Transactions, Managing Risk and Protecting Investments,” 36th Annual Real Property Law Section Retreat, April 2017.
  • “Conversations on How Pruitt is Expected to Trump the Environment,” Bar Association of San Francisco, March 2017.
  • “Flint:  Could it Happen in California? Is it Happening in California?”  State Bar Environmental Law Conference in Yosemite, October 2016.
  • “Take a Look Around: Conducting Environmental Due Diligence—Why, How and When,” State Bar of California Annual Conference, October 2016.
  • “Brownfields Law 2016—Law in a time of Subsiding Froth,” Bar Association of San Francisco, September 2016.
  • “Municipal Environmental Enforcement:  The Power of AB 440,” State Bar of California, Environmental Law Section Webinar, March 2015.
  • “Brownfields:  Still There, Still Roadblocks, Still Critical to Economic Development,” CalEd Webinar, February 2015.
  • “Urban Redevelopment and Assembly Bill 440-The “New” Polanco Act,”  League of California Cities Annual Conference, September 2014.
  • “Brownfields Buzz,” Bar Association of San Francisco, April, 2014.
  • “The Gatto Act, A New Tool in the Brownfields Toolbox,”  CalEd 34th Annual Training Conference, April 2014.
  • “AB 440, The Gatto Act,” League of California Cities Webinar, March, 2014.
  • “The Gatto Act,” Brownfields Update for the Cities of Burbank and Glendale, the DTSC and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, December, 2013.
  • “Who’s Liable for Your Household Hazardous Waste?” Used Oil and Household Hazardous Waste Conference and Training, CalRecycle, October, 2013.
  • “The Gatto Act, A New Tool in the Toolbox,” Orange County City Attorneys’ Association Luncheon Speaker, October, 2013.
  • “Brownfields Redevelopment after the Death of Redevelopment Agencies,” U.S. EPA Region IX Brownfields Grantee Conference, November 2012.
  • “Life of Brownfields Redevelopment after the Death of Redevelopment Agencies,” Bar Association of San Francisco, April 2012.
  • “Tools for Brownfields Remediation,” Meyers Nave Webinar, February 2012.
  • “State and Federal Voluntary Cleanup Programs,” Reclaiming the Sierra, Mining’s Toxic Legacy Conference, November 2010.
  • “Drafting and Negotiating Risk Shifting Provisions in Purchase and Sale Agreements, OPAs and DDAs,” California Redevelopment Association-Redevelopment Institute, July, 2009 and July 2010.
  • “Introduction to the Polanco Redevelopment Act,” Los Angeles Regional Quality Control Board, May 2010.
  • “The Polanco Redevelopment Act, A Special Tool in Your Agency’s Toolbox,”  California Redevelopment Agency Distance Learning Program, April 2010.
  • “Say What? Avoid Surprises with Brownfields Property Transactions,” California Redevelopment Association Annual Conference, April 2009.
  • “Innovative Approaches to Public/Private Brownfields Remediation,” Association of Environmental Professionals Annual Conference, March 2008.
  • “Stop the Bulldozers; This Dirt is Dirty—Reuse of Contaminated Properties,” Sonoma County Bar Association, September 2008.
  • “Environmental Risk Shifting – It Is All In the Wrist,” California Redevelopment Association Legal Issues Symposium, August 2008.
  • “AB 389: A Brownfields Program Worth Renewing?” Bar Association of San Francisco Environmental Law Section, July 2008.
  • “Deal Stoppers and How to Solve Them,” U.S. EPA Conference on Nuts and Bolts of Brownfields Redevelopment, April 2008.
  • “Redevelopment Teams, Partnering with Redevelopment Agencies for Brownfield’s Reuse in Southern California,” Meyers Nave Public Law Breakfast Series, March 2008.
  • “Introduction to the Polanco Redevelopment Act,” Presentation to the Truckee Redevelopment Agency and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, March 2007.
  • “Mixing and Matching Brownfields Tools on Complex Sites,” California Redevelopment Association Annual Conference, February 2007.
  • “Take a Look Around – Environmental Due Diligence, All Appropriate Inquiry,” Bay Area City Attorneys Luncheon, October 2006.
  • “Stop the Bulldozers: This Dirt is DIRTY!!” CEB Land Use Program, October 2006.
  • “Deal or No Deal,” CRA Legal Issues Symposium, August 2006.
  • “Introduction to the Polanco Redevelopment Act,” Presentation to LA Regional Board, May 2006.
  • “Environmental Due Diligence, All Appropriate Inquiry,” Meyers Nave Public Law Breakfast Series, May 2006.
  • “Hot Topics in Brownfields Reuse,” CRA Annual Conference, March 2006.
  • “Successful Teams Partnering with Redevelopment for Brownfields’ Reuse in the Central Valley?” Meyers Nave Public Law Breakfast Series, Sacramento, CA, January 2006.


  • Article, “Environmental Due Diligence & Real Property Purchases,”  The San Francisco Daily Journal, December 27, 2016 and the San Diego Daily Transcript, December 29, 2016.
  • Article, “The Gatto Act Provides Cities with New Opportunities for Environmental Cleanup,”  Western Cities, June 2014.
  • Article, “Reader Alert:  The Gatto Act (AB 440)- The Newest Tool in the Brownfields Toolbox,” California Real Property Law Journal, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2014.
  • Article, “An Ounce of Prevention Could be Worth Millions,” The Transportation Lawyer, 2003.
  • Chapter in Book, “Brownfields,” Handbook of Environmental Science, Health and Technology, First Edition, McGraw Hill, 2000.
  • Article, “Polanco Act, Can It ‘Save’ Your City?” Redevelopment Journal, 1998.
  • Article, “How Do Redevelopment Agencies Spell Relief? The Polanco Act,” Redevelopment Journal, 1997.
  • Article, “Is Re-use of Contaminated Properties a Pie-in-the-Sky Idea?” Clearwater Group Inc., 1997.
  • Article, “Public Litigation Update,” League of California Cities, City Attorney’s Department, 1996.


Northern California Superlawyer, 2006 and 2007