John focuses his practice on environmental and energy matters. John chairs Procopio’s Energy and Environment Practice Group.
John has special expertise in property acquisition, due diligence, and negotiation and drafting of environmental and insurance provisions in purchase and sale agreements in large complex cases. He has experience with soil vapor, asbestos, petroleum, pesticide, PCB, and metals investigations and clean-up in Brownfield, urban corridor, rural and waterfront sites.
He was team leader for Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich’s (now DLA Piper) environmental practice group for eight years before joining Procopio. He was appointed by the Governor to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region 9 (1992-1996) and to the State Coastal Conservancy Board (1997-2004). He has served on the California EPA Blue Ribbon Commission for a Unified Environmental Statute, the Metropolitan Water District’s Blue Ribbon Committee, and was appointed by the Mayor to the City of San Diego Solid Waste Hearing Panel.
- Universal and Hazardous Waste – Extensive experience working with all types of hazardous material and waste, including electronic devices, batteries, lamps, CRTs, and other computer products. Negotiated effective resolutions of large-dollar enforcement actions for attorney general and district attorney investigations regarding management of universal and hazardous waste. Worked in the majority of states with a variety of industries to establish environmental management programs, policies and procedures, training documents, and implementation in the field.
- Climate and Sustainability – Advised on California and Federal climate case law and legislation, including California’s first in the nation market wide cap and trade program. Developed carbon-reduction policies and programs. Lead counsel in permitting of carbon-neutral biofuels for use in commercial aviation, advocated for carbon-free sources of power in California Public Utilities Commission proceedings. Advised business association on development on climate action policies, track changes and advise clients on building energy efficiency requirements. Track myriad legislative and regulatory changes associated with the California Air Resources Board – Scoping Plan.
- Clean Air Act – Permitting, enforcement and citizen suit work with manufacturing, food processing, bulk loading, fumigation and other businesses and groups. Appearances before the South Coast AQMD, San Diego APCD, State ARB and US EPA. Clean Air Act PM-10, ozone, hazardous pollutant and other permitting and compliance matters. Negotiation of lease and purchase and sale agreements regarding liability and responsibility for mold, asbestos, vapor intrusion, and other indoor air pollution.
- California Proposition 65 – Provide regulatory guidance and analysis regarding the newly expanded Prop 65 notice obligations for consumer product, occupational, and environmental exposures arising from listed chemicals that create potential cancer or reproductive harms.
- Comprehensive Environmental Responsibility Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA/Superfund) and Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) – including Superfund litigation, removal actions, cost recovery and contribution actions, Brownfield projects, RCRA injunctive actions and facility permitting.
- Contaminated Properties – Underground storage tanks, oil and pipeline operations, landfill, gun range lumber and burn dump sites, asbestos and PCB problems, lead negotiator and project strategist in placing contaminated property back into productive use under various federal and state Brownfield redevelopment agency and Polanco Act initiatives. Experienced in structuring deals to shield clients from environmental and natural resource exposures and to maximize property reuse.
- Purchase and Sale Transactions – Legal counsel and sales agent for large parcel sale, coordinated all contact with prospective purchasers including developers, Native American tribes and environmental groups.
- Clean Water Act – Represented clients in numerous Clean Water Act Section 505 citizen suits regarding alleged violations of the CWA’s discharge prohibitions, including stormwater, by commercial and industrial operators. Through successful negotiation with environmental plaintiff groups, we reduced the amount of client involvement and saved the cost of litigation.
- Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rating
- “Top Lawyers,” San Diego Magazine, 2013-2018
- San Diego Super Lawyers®, 2007-2012 (Environmental)
- American Bar Association – Section on Environment, Energy and Resources, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee Vice Chair
- Chair of Procopio Climate Club and Environmental Breakfast Club
- La Jolla Country Club – Legal Committee
- Local Enforcement Agency Independent Hearing Panel – City of San Diego Former Member
- San Diego Local Enforcement Agency – Board Member
- San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce – Member, Board of Directors and Energy and Water Committee
- Scripps Institution of Oceanography – Directors Cabinet and Emeritus Member
Governor Appointments with California Senate Confirmation:
- California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region – Former Board Member
- California Coastal Conversancy – Former Board Member
- JD, Boston College Law School
- BA, Boston College
- Moderator and Presenter. “Meet the New Executive Officer of the Colorado River,” Regional Water Quality Control Board, Procopio Environmental Breakfast Club, Imperial Valley, September 2018.
- Presenter. "From Paris to San Diego: Bringing Global Climate Action Home," Cleantech San Diego and UC San Diego, April 22, 2016.
- Presenter. "Greenhouse Gas and Renewable Energy Update: International, National and California (SB 350)," April 5, 2016.
- Presenter and Panelist. "Implementation of SB 350," Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation's 9th Annual Renewable Energy Summit, Holtville, CA, March 10, 2016.
- Moderator. "Zero Parched Thirty - California H2O Mission," Procopio Climate Club, San Diego, CA, November 24, 2014.
- Co-presenter. “Universal Waste Compliance: Are You Prepared?” Procopio Environmental Breakfast Club, San Diego, CA, October 28, 2014.
- Panelist. “Conclusions on Energy Reform: Opportunities for U.S. Businesses,” San Diego, CA, September 19, 2014.
- Panelist. “Making Stormwater Alternative Compliance Programs Work: Opportunities in Development, Funding and Partnering,” San Diego, CA, July 17, 2014.
- Moderator. “Discussion on Environmental Risk and Liability for Real Estate Transactions,” Procopio Environmental Breakfast Club, San Diego, CA, June 12, 2014.
- Panelist. "2012 California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap-and-Trade Implementation," Procopio Environmental Breakfast Club, San Diego, CA, March 29, 2012.
- “Climate Change - Recent Climate Litigation,” California Environmental Law & Land Use Practice, Chapter 85:04, Matthew Bender, LexisNexis, December 2008-2015.