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Stephen L. Kostka

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007

Perkins Coie LLP

Steve Kostka, senior counsel with the firm's Environment, Energy & Resources practice, has represented clients in a broad range of cases involving the California Environmental Quality Act, the Planning and Zoning Law, and other state and federal environmental and land use statutes. He also has extensive experience counseling public agencies and private clients on land use, CEQA and NEPA compliance issues.

Steve is a co-author of Practice Under the California Environmental Quality Act. This two-volume treatise is relied on by practitioners, planners, environmental professionals and the courts as the leading authority on the interpretation and application of CEQA. 

Case History

  • Metropolitan Water District Litigation — Successfully defended the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) in litigation contesting the district’s adoption of a water supply allocation plan to implement in the event of a water shortage. MWD supplies water to 18 million people in southern California through a consortium of 26 cities and water districts. The lawsuit, brought by one of MWD’s member districts, challenged adoption of the water supply allocation plan on various grounds, including claims that that MWD failed to comply with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act in adopting the plan.
  • Other Court Admissions
      • U.S. Supreme Court
      • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
      • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


  • Listed in Super Lawyers, Northern California 2004 - 2013; one of the top 100 Northern California lawyers, 2008 - 2009
  • Selected by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer for Energy Law, Environmental Law, Land Use Law and Real Estate Law
  • The BTI Client Service All-Stars, recognized by corporate counsel as among the leading environmental lawyers in the nation in client service excellence.

Client Comments

  • "The very best in his practice area, the California Environmental Quality Act."


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Four Embarcadero Center, Suite 2400
San Francisco, CA 94111-4131
Phone: 415-344-7006
Firm Phone: 415-344-7000

Practice Areas

  • Appellate Practice
  • Environmental Law (Administrative/Regulatory, California Environmental Quality Act, Clean Air Act, Climate Change, Counseling, Environmental Permitting, Land Use and Zoning, Litigation, National Environmental Policy Act)
  • Land Use and Zoning Law (Administrative, Development, Environmental, Land Use, Litigation)
  • Litigation - Environmental
  • Litigation - Land Use and Zoning

Lawyer of the Year


  • University of California Santa Barbara (BA) (1970)
  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law (J.D.) (1973)

Bar Admissions

  • The State Bar of California

Organizations & Affiliations

  • American Bar Association — Member
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association — Member
  • Resources Agency CEQA Advisory Group — Legal Adviser