Kathryn L. Oehlschlager

Kathryn L. Oehlschlager


Kathryn L. Oehlschlager


With more than fifteen years of experience in environmental law, Kathryn Oehlschlager has built a robust practice spanning environmental and land use compliance counseling, state and federal enforcement defense, and major litigation.

Public and private clients turn to Kathryn for advice on compliance with all facets of environmental and land use law, including CEQA, NEPA, federal and state endangered species laws, contaminated site remediation, water quality and supply issues, and laws regulating solid and hazardous waste. She routinely represents clients in all aspects of the CEQA project review process, including preparation, review, and analysis of negative declarations, draft environmental impact reports, and final environmental impact reports. Kathryn also has substantial experience managing contaminated sites, from investigation and remediation through the entitlement process and redevelopment. 

Kathryn also has a proven track record with high-stakes litigation, having handled numerous land use and environmental cases in state and federal trial courts and through the courts of appeal. Kathryn is equally comfortable handling writs of mandamus and traditional civil litigation matters, and regularly represents clients in administrative appeals, including the second appeal ever heard by the Delta Stewardship Council. 

As a compliance counselor, Kathryn’s goal is to help her clients minimize downstream risk and avoid litigation and enforcement. As a litigator, Kathryn’s goal is to achieve the best results for her clients, deftly navigating administrative proceedings, negotiations with regulators and opposing parties, and high-stakes trials.


  • Represented a joint powers agency in defense of CEQA, Public Trust Doctrine, and real estate claims challenging environmental review and approval of a mutli-million-dollar flood control project on the San Joaquin River. The trial court found in favor of the agency on all claims, and the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed in an unpublished decision.
  • Representing a joint powers agency in defense of the second-ever appeal of a Delta Plan Consistency Certification, appearing in multiple proceedings before the Delta Stewardship Council, and in ongoing related permitting effort.
  • Represented the California Grocers Association in a successful CEQA challenge to a municipal ordinance that would have had a significant negative impact on the industry.
  • Representing a private club seeking entitlements to divert surface water from an on-site stream in order to reduce the need for municipal water supply.
  • Represented self-storage corporation in connection with obtaining site approvals for flagship development in Chino Hills.
  • Representing large municipality in defense of litigation filed under CEQA and the Coastal Act challenging a senior housing development.
  • Counseling large municipality and several special districts on legal issues related to Native American cultural resources and tribal consultation requirements under AB 52.
  • Representing a private property owners’ association in the Tahoe basin in connection with permitting and entitlements for management of aquatic invasive weeds.
  • Counseling a large aerospace company in connection with post-closure maintenance of deep injection wells at legacy sites.
  • Representing munitions testing facility in connection with CEQA review and negotiation of complex endangered species issues for remediation project on land designated as critical habitat for a variety of protected species, including negotiation of state and federal incidental take permits.
  • Representing Muslim community group in connection with CEQA compliance and litigation arising out of application to construct religious and community center in San Martin, California.
  • Represented semiconductor manufacturing company in defense of toxic tort action alleging in utero exposure to contaminants in early semiconductor “clean rooms” in Silicon Valley.
  • Represented City of Sunnyvale in CEQA trial and appellate proceedings resulting in published decision on selection of baseline for environmental impact analysis. Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Ass’n. v. City of Sunnyvale City Council, 190 Cal. App. 4th 1351 (2010).
  • Represented large industrial entity identified by EPA as a CERCLA potentially responsible party for former uranium mine site in New Mexico.
  • Defended various manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers in defense of Proposition 65 actions regarding acrylamide, phthalates, and lead.
  • Represented Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company in complex toxic tort action filed in federal court by over 2,000 plaintiffs, alleging exposure to hexavalent chromium in groundwater and dust emissions.
  • Defended large landowner in defense of contractual, common law, and statutory claims in dispute over property slated for redevelopment as major technology campus in Mountain View, California.

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Women in Environment, Board Member, 2018-present
  • Association of Environmental Professionals
  • Environmental Law Institute
  • Groundwater Resources Association
  • California Women Lawyers
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Law Section
  • American Bar Association

Honors And Rankings

  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Land Use/Zoning, 2018-2019

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