California State Lands Commission (SLC)

2023 EPIC Fellow: Sydney Guthrie

About the California State Lands Commission:

The Commission, comprised of California’s Lieutenant Governor, State Controller, and Governor’s Director of Finance, is an independent and dynamic public land management agency. The Commission manages over 4 million acres of tide and submerged lands and the beds of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets, and straits. These lands, often referred to as sovereign or public trust lands, stretch from the Klamath River and Goose Lake in the north to the Tijuana Estuary in the south, the Colorado River in the east, and from the Pacific Coast 3 miles offshore in the east to the world-famous Lake Tahoe in the east, and includes California’s two longest rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin. The Commission, in its capacity as a landowner, protects and enhances these lands and their underlying natural resources by issuing leases for use, development, and environmental preservation, championing public access, and resolving boundaries between public and private land. 
The Commission is organized by divisions. Below is a summary of our key divisions. 

Division of Environmental Science, Planning and Management

Our Environmental Science, Planning, and Management Division ensures compliance with CEQA and prepares Environmental Impact Reports, Mitigated Negative Declarations, and other documents for projects affecting the environment. The Division administers California’s world-leading marine invasive species prevention program. It also leads our Climate Adaptation and Special Initiatives team that supports the Commission on a range of topics, including climate change and adaptation, offshore wind planning and coordination, forestry, aquaculture, and marine protected areas.

Land Management Division

Our Land Management Division manages over 4 million acres of public lands (mainly tide and submerged lands) and a portfolio of more than 4,100 leases that authorize major renewable energy projects, piers, marinas, and utility lines, among other things. We make critical title and boundary determinations that are foundational to our work. Our Land Management Division also manages more than 500,000 acres of land, known as school lands, that are scattered throughout the desert and forested areas of Northeastern California. Our school lands generate revenue for retired teachers and are used for renewable energy generation. 

Marine Environmental Protection Division

Our Marine Environmental Protection Division inspects marine oil terminals and bulk oil transfer operations at these terminals to provide the best achievable protection of public health, safety, and the environment. Our engineering team conducts inspections daily, biennially, and annually. Our inspections include marine pipelines, review of oil spill prevention requirements, and operational personnel training. 

Mineral Resources Management Division

Our Mineral Resources Management Division is responsible for the safe and environmentally sound development, regulation, and management of energy and mineral resources. We also administer a coastal hazard and legacy oil and gas well removal and remediation program and manage, inspect, and audit California’s remaining offshore oil and gas platforms and production. This division also leads our oil and gas decommissioning projects, including Platform Holly and Rincon Island in Southern California. 

External Affairs/Executive

The Executive Office plans, organizes, manages, coordinates, and administers the Commission’s work. The Executive Office leverages the expertise of staff in each division to accomplish the Commission’s mission, vision, and strategic plan objectives while responding to emerging challenges. Our tribal and environmental justice programs are in the Executive Office. 

The External Affairs Division manages state and federal legislation, the Commission’s website, and its social media. The External Affairs Division also manages what is known as our granted lands program, which includes land legislatively granted to over 70 ports, harbors, and coastal cities and counties, and which the Commission oversees. The External Affairs Division manages communications and media relations and, together with the Executive Office and other divisions, represents the Commission on various boards and commissions, including the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the California Coastal Commission.

Position Description:

While we list potential projects below, we want to make the internship as mutually beneficial and rewarding as possible. We envision an onboarding process with the opportunity to meet and learn about each division and various projects and then, together with the intern hosts, develop a portfolio of projects that will be worthwhile and interesting. We envision a mix of smaller, day-to-day projects and one bigger, long-term project spanning the length of the internship. 

Potential Projects:

  • Assist Commission staff with issues where science and policy interface and learn how staff navigates complex and politically sensitive issues, including adaptation to climate change and sea-level rise;  equity and environmental justice in public land management; offshore wind energy development; plastic pollution reduction; transitioning to a fossil-free future; and offshore oil and gas decommissioning.
  • Conduct research, collaborate with Commission staff and sister agencies, and support efforts to implement the Commission’s Environmental Justice Policy. 
  • Learn about the legislative process and experience it firsthand. Conduct legislative research, assist with writing bill analyses, testimony for committee hearings at the State Capitol, and staff reports for the public and commissioners. Participate in legislative discussions with legislative staff and lobbyists. 
  • Assist staff in a variety of divisions with projects that may involve oil and gas decommissioning, offshore wind energy development, waterfront redevelopment. and other emerging environmental public policy.  
  • Assist with developing social media content and updating the Commission’s website. 
  • Assist with developing press/media strategies and content.

Desired Qualifications/Skills:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Enthusiasm, curiosity, and a desire to learn and contribute
  • Ability to think critically
  • Self-motivated
  • Familiarity with Outlook, Microsoft Word, and other basic office programs. 


  • Internship Location: Preferably hybrid (1 – 2 days in our Sacramento office located at 100 Howe Avenue) but will consider fully remote or fully in-person options. 
  • Preferred start date: Between 6/17 and 6/24
  • EPIC fellows have the option to work full-time (35+ hours per week) for 10 weeks (stipend: $7,500-$9,000, depending on financial need) or 12 weeks (stipend: $9,000-$10,500, depending on financial need) over the summer.

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