Gov. Jerry Brown is moving a top state Justice Department lawyer from Castro Valley over to run the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Matt Rodriquez, 58, has served with the state Department of Justice since 1987, currently serving both as chief deputy attorney general for legal affairs -- overseeing the department's more than 1,100 attorneys -- and as chief assistant attorney general, for the department's public rights division.
The division handles consumer, environmental, antitrust, civil rights and charitable trust cases.
That experience will mean a lot as he manages the complex tasks of developing, implementing and enforcing some of the nation's toughest environmental protection laws to ensure clean air, water and soil, safe pesticides, and waste recycling and reduction, said Annie Notthoff, the National Resources Defense Council's California advocacy director.
"He knows what he's doing, and I think it's going to be good for the state," Notthoff said. She first met Rodriquez decades ago and since has seen him represent many of the state's key environmental agencies.
As a deputy attorney general from 1987 to 1999, Rodriquez represented the attorney general's office and its Land Law Section clients including the California Coastal Commission, State Lands Commission, and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. He then oversaw the Land Law Section as a senior assistant attorney general from 1999 to 2008.
Before working for the Justice Department, Rodriquez was Hayward's deputy city attorney from 1985 to 1987; Livermore's assistant city attorney from 1983 to 1985; associate program analyst for the Governor's Office of Planning and Research from 1981 to 1983; and a graduate student assistant for the California Coastal Commission from 1979 to 1981.
Rodriquez will do an excellent job serving the state at CalEPA "because he had done such exemplary work here at the DOJ," Attorney General Kamala Harris said. "As he transitions from lawyer to client, I look forward to a continued working relationship with him as both offices endeavor to protect California's environment."
Rodriquez, a Democrat, will have to be confirmed to his new job by the state Senate; his annual salary would be $175,000.
Another Democrat, Linda Adams, 62, of Sacramento, has served as CalEPA's secretary since her May 2006 appointment by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.