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Overview

Joe Ullo is a Shareholder in the Firm’s Tallahassee office with nearly 25 years of experience serving clients throughout Florida. Joe counsels large and small business owners, land owners, private companies, federal agencies, and county and municipal governments statewide in all aspects of federal, state, and local environmental law, regulations, and processes that govern the consideration and usage of land, management of waste and real property rights.

Prior to joining the firm, Joe served as Director of Division of Waste Management at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In this role, Joe directed the policy and the programmatic management of solid and hazardous waste generated and disposed throughout Florida. In this capacity, Joe oversaw the following:

  • State funded cleanups
  • Superfund screening, listing, and cleanup coordination;
  • Site investigations of regional contaminant sources;
  • CERCLA brownfield grant administration;
  • Florida brownfield and voluntary cleanup tax credits;
  • Brownfield agreements;
  • Memoranda of agreements;
  • Contamination notification;
  • Private funded cleanups pursuant to Florida Rule 62-780
  • DOD and FUDS assessments and rehabilitation;
  • RCRA compliance assistance and enforcement;
  • RCRA HSWA permitting and corrective actions;
  • Solid waste permitting and landfill closures;
  • Storage tank regulation and compliance;
  • Waste registrations;
  • Waste reduction and recycling;
  • Waste tire mitigation;
  • Coral reef restoration;
  • Rulemaking and adoption for rules governing solid and hazardous waste, storage tank and waste cleanup facilities and
  • All intergovernmental coordination needed to effect the Division’s mission.

Before practicing law, Joe worked as a registered professional engineer in Florida. He managed hazardous waste, petroleum and drycleaning cleanups in the southeastern United States, oversaw environmental compliance for private manufacturers, and assisted with wastewater infrastructure evaluations at federal facilities. Joe also led the environmental cleanup for various military bases, particularly in Jacksonville and Orlando, which now serve as incredible reuse examples for both industrial and residential mixed uses in Florida.

Areas of Concentration

  • Site rehabilitation utilizing risk based corrective actions and controls
  • Administrative law, permitting, registrations, rulemaking, and litigation
  • Brownfield redevelopment incentives, grants and state liability protections
  • Multiple and single party brownfield site rehabilitation agreements
  • Real estate and corporate due diligence
  • Real estate acquisition, sale and disposition of industrial or agricultural properties
  • Government owned and large facilities remediation, closure and reuse
  • Sediment remediation
  • Solid waste/landfill permitting and landfill closure
  • Waste reduction, recycling and reuse
  • RCRA and CWA/NPDES inspections, enforcement defense, compliance and corrective action
  • Negotiation of consent orders and agreements
  • CERCLA Section 104(e) information request responses
  • CERCLA screening, superfund cleanup and liability protections and defenses
  • Water use regulation and permitting
  • Stormwater management and permitting
  • Potable water systems and water treatment
  • Basin management action plans, TMDLs and water quality credit trading
  • Patent prosecution, infringement defense, and reexamination proceedings
  • Trademark prosecution
  • Trade secrets

Joe is also a registered patent attorney and assists clients on intellectual property matters. For more information on Joe’s Intellectual Property Law experience, please click here.

Representative Experience

Environmental

  • Represents clients in CERCLA cost recovery actions and toxic tort litigation involving determination and appropriation of liability.
  • Assisted in the transfer of regulatory oversight from federal to state purview for a Superfund Alternative Site to allow for a more streamlined remediation and reuse consideration.
  • Represents clients on hazardous waste management matters and general industrial regulatory compliance and advises clients in the event of regulatory enforcement.
  • Represents clients in the application for hazardous waste, solid waste, and other environmental resource permit needs, including defending permits in the event of challenge.
  • Represents clients in the negotiation of memoranda of agreement to allow for facility wide conditional closures and commercial/industrial consideration under the Department rules.
  • Represents clients in compliance assurance relating to water treatment to meet industrial pretreatment or NPDES requirements.

Land Development

  • Represents Brownfield Redevelopment clients assisting with brownfield designations, site rehabilitation agreement negotiation, brownfield tax credit applications, and other brownfield incentive and grant programs.
  • Represented governmental clients and boards in defending decisions where development rights are affected. Specific examples include rezoning, grandfathered/non-conforming uses, and architectural review board decisions affecting historic building demolition.
  • Represented church organization in a federal land use challenge raising religious land use and Section 1983 claims.
  • Represented private developer in the mixed use redevelopment of a former golf course property including the brownfield designation, rehabilitation plan development, and tax credit applications.
  • Represents clients on the recording of institutional controls or determining the sufficiency of unrecorded controls needed to achieve regulatory compliance.

Real Estate

  • Assists in the due diligence phase especially where recognized environmental conditions create challenges for the transaction.
  • Represented clients in the sale of a large manufacturing facility where environmental liability matters required reconciliation.
  • Represented clients in the sale of agricultural lands including the farming operations, equipment and business.

Government Affairs

  • Advises client on the necessary audience within the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure the right decision maker is fully apprised of critical factors.
  • Appeared before the Florida Legislature as a technical expert in the fields of waste management and brownfields and negotiated legislation which combined the state taxpayer and stakeholder business needs.
  • Possesses comprehensive experience in all facets of environmental federal, state and local governmental laws and rules and coordinated with federal and local governments on mutual benefit agreements to effect innovative environmental policies.
  • Counseled local governments on real property and environmental matters involving the government property sale, purchase or reuse, contamination cleanup and property tax collection.

Administrative Proceedings

  • Represented an intergovernmental agency in the defense of its Environmental Resource Permit which was required for the ongoing expansion construction of a state highway connecting interstate traffic with an international airport.
  • Challenged the issuance of a Site Rehabilitation Consent Order issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection when the scope of the order neglected to include key contaminants of concern identified on the client's property.
  • Challenged the Florida Department of Revenue's determination of ineligibility of a client's building materials sale tax refund application.
  • Directed the Division of Waste Management for the Department of Environmental Protection in the response to administrative challenges relating to brownfield voluntary cleanup tax credit orders and bid protests.
  • Negotiated consent orders following hazardous waste discharge discoveries, solid waste facility permit violations, and institutional control failures.
  • Analyzed and granted variances from rule requirements upon the proper demonstration of equivalent environmental protection.
  • Oversaw rulemaking for multiple sections of the Department of Environmental Protections' Chapter 62, including the latest updates to Rules 62-701, 62-711, 62-730, 62-761, 62-762, 62-780 of the Florida Administrative Code. Rule 62-701, FAC was heard before the Environmental Regulation Commission.
  • As Director of the Division of Waste Management, worked with administrators to develop the Division's annual regulatory plan for presentation to the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Bill Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, Advisory Board, 2018-2020
  • Florida Bar Grievance Committee 2A, serving the 2d Judicial Circuit, 2017-2020
  • Florida Brownfield Association
    • Board member, 2013-2015
    • Legislative Days Chairman, 2014
    • President, 2010-2011
    • Legislative Committee Co-Chair, 2007-2010 - drafted, lobbied and helped pass 2008, 2010, and 2014 Amendments to Florida's Brownfield laws
    • Conference Committee Co-Chair, 2010 - in charge of planning the 2010 FBA Conference
  • Georgia Tech Tallahassee Thomasville Alumni Network
    • President, 2012-Present
    • Northeast Florida Network, Board Member, 2010-2011
    • Presidential Scholarship Program Committee, 2010-2011
  • Tallahassee Area Association of Environmental Professionals, Board Member, 2013-2015
  • Florida Engineering Society, Northeast and Big Bend Chapters
    • Professional Development Committee, 2002-2003
    • Vice President, 2003
    • Treasurer, 2002
    • Chapter Secretary, 2001
    • Mathcounts Chairman, 2000
  • Florida Minerals and Chemistry Council
    • Ecology and Environment Inc.’s Company Representative, 2000-2003
    • Counsel to the Mining Subcommittee, 2006-2008
  • First Coast Manufacturer's Association, Professional Progress Class of 2007

Recognition

  • Florida Bar Leadership Academy, Class II
  • Florida Super Lawyers, Rising Star in Environmental Law, 2009-2015
  • Winner of the Dean Frank E. Maloney Writing Competition with “Adding Pollution Trading to Florida's Total Maximum Daily Load Program,” 2006
  • Young Engineer of the Year, Big Bend Chapter of the Florida Engineering Society, 2001

Publications & Presentations

Publications, Recent News Updates: EPA Provides Clarity on CWA Regulation of Groundwater - for Now
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|April 2019

Publications, Recent News Updates: Permit Applicants May Need to Reevaluate Strategies Following New Constitutional Amendment Prohibiting Agency Deference
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|February 2019

Publications, Recent News Updates: Major Water Policy Reform Ahead in Florida
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2019

Publications, Recent News Updates: Unanimous Property Owner Win as U.S. Supreme Court Limits the Reach of the Endangered Species Act
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2019

Publications, Recent News Updates: Calmer Waters Ahead? Environmental Protection Agency Proposes New "Waters of the United States" Regulation
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2019

Publications, Recent News Updates: New Bipartisan Federal Law Presents Opportunities for Public-Private Partnerships
Stearns Weaver Miller New Update|November 2018

Events: Selected conferences
In his former capacity as Director of Division of Waste Management at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Mr. Ullo spoke routinely on various waste policy matters and provided updates on the various programs that affected and guided waste.

Publications: Co-Author, Brownfields Site Rehabilitation
Florida Environmental & Land Use Law Treatise|June 2014

Publications: Co-Author, Brownfields Site Rehabilitation
Florida Environmental & Land Use Law Treatise|June 2013

Publications: Water Quality Credit Trading - It Could be Coming to a Waterbody Near You
American Water Works Association Journal|June 2013

Publications: Redevelopment and Water Quality Credit Trading: Square Peg in a Round Hole?
Florida Engineering Society Journal|October 2008

Publications: Water Quality Credit Trading: A Practitioner's Perspective
Florida Bar Journal|May 2007

Publications: Co-Author, Evolving Issues in Eastern Water Law: Hot Issues from the Southeast
American Bar Association|September 2005

Publications: Co-Author, Site 5 Air Sparging Pilot Test, Naval Air Station Cecil Field
Jacksonville, FL|Journal of Hazardous Materials|October 2000

Publications: A Comparison of Jet Propellant 5 Infiltration Rates and Residual Saturation Values in Different Soil Types Using Empirical and Analytical Method, Master's Thesis
Florida State University|F. Joseph Ullo|May 1998

Publications: Co-Author, Bioslurping: A Multiphase Treatment Technology for Leaking Underground Storage Tank Sites
Florida Water Resources Conference|October 1997

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