William J. Thomas is of counsel in the Environmental Law & Natural Resources practice group of Best Best & Krieger LLP in the firm's Sacramento office. Mr. Thomas represents agriculture and agricultural business and water district interests before California governmental agencies such as the state and regional water boards, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and the Departments of Food and Agriculture, Fish & Game, and Pesticide Regulation. He also works with federal agencies such as the United States Departments of Agriculture (Forest Service) and Interior (Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management). His clients include farmers, ranchers, chemical manufacturers, agricultural, water, and other business associations. He provides counsel and advocacy regarding water, market enforcement, pesticide registration, pest control, business licenses and pesticides. He practices extensively in areas involving water quality, pesticide use, drainage and endangered species. He is an expert on state and federal environmental laws, water quality acts, Proposition 65, environmental conservation easements, and public land issues.
Mr. Thomas has represented the California Cattlemen’s Association in landmark litigation involving the Sierra Framework United States Forest Service rules when challenged by the nationwide environmental interests. He has also represented the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Public Lands Council in defending nationwide Bureau of Land Management rules involving grazing.
Mr. Thomas has served agricultural interests for over 30 years in private practice. He has represented business clients in developing regulations, administrative determinations and enforcement actions.
Mr. Thomas currently serves on the legal defense fund of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. He serves on the Board of Directors of the California Cattlemen's Association, is also on the Board of Directors of its legal defense fund, and is chair of its Water and Environmental Quality Committee. He is a leading advocate for the ranching industry.
Mr. Thomas has been appointed by the Governor and agency heads to many political, environmental and agricultural positions, such as the Uniform Environmental Statute Commission and AB 982 Advisory Group for California's Implementation of Total Maximum Daily Loads. He is a member and past chair (1986-1998) of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Market Enforcement Advisory Committee and the Department of Pesticide Regulation, Pest Management Advisory Board.
Mr. Thomas received his Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1975. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the California State University, Chico, where he was student body president, in 1968. California State University, Chico honored him as the College of Agriculture Distinguished Alumni. He served as a LT, j.g. in the U.S. Navy. He is a member of the Sacramento County Bar Association.