Joseph has been very responsive and pragmatic in his approach to the issues at hand.
- Chambers USA 2021
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 affect the Division’s mission
Before practicing law, Joe worked as a registered professional engineer. He managed hazardous waste, petroleum and dry cleaning 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
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.
- Represented a county airport authority in the closing and relocation of its airport facility which included the issuance of No Further Action determinations on over fifty identified sites with environmental impacts. Certain sites were closed based on background conditions relating to industrial land uses, but overall real time communications were maintained throughout the process between the Airport Authority’s consultants and counsel and the Department’s District Office and Office of General Counsel and counsel and consultants for the end user of the former airport facility.
- Represents clients, including sea ports and airports in the negotiation of memoranda of agreement to allow for facility-wide conditional closures and commercial/industrial consideration under the Department rules.
- Represented the interest of federal governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Veterans Affairs in completing institutional controls for various facilities in Florida.
- Negotiated the issuance of a Record of Decision for No Further Action for a manufactured gas plant site under current use as a city park. Responsible parties included the state and city governments.
- 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 compliance assurance relating to water treatment to meet industrial pretreatment or NPDES requirements.
- Represented an affordable housing developer in obtaining a brownfield area designation for an affordable housing project in the City of Tallahassee during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team coordinated an in-person and virtual community meeting that included a team of consultants and members of the public as well as two virtual public hearings to obtain the brownfield area designation. The designation allowed the developer to take advantage of both state environmental clean-up programs and financial incentives.
- Represents brownfield redevelopment clients assisting with brownfield designations, site rehabilitation agreement negotiation, brownfield tax credit applications, and other brownfield incentive and grant programs.
- Represents private clients in the site rehabilitation of petroleum cleanup sites where Inland Protection Trust Funds (IPTF) are available.
- Helped negotiate the use of the IPTF for projects of great public concern and interest in the state. Examples include hurricane evacuation routes being constructed by FDOT, port expansions, and positioning county-owned facilities and lands for public/private reuse.
- 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.
- 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.
- Advises clients on the necessary audience within the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure the right decision maker is fully apprised of critical factors.
- Advises clients on potential regulatory pathways to achieve end goals in the most efficient manner.
- Advises clients on potential opportunities for governmental grants or other funding that may be available under certain circumstances.
- 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 affect 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.
- 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, surface water discharges, industrial wastewater discharges, Title V permit violations, 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.
- Assisted clients holding agency contracts in bid challenges relating where agency’s failed to properly apply proposal criteria.
Professional & Community Involvement
- Tallahassee Area Association of Environmental Professionals, Board Member, 2013-2015; 2020-Present
- Urban Land Institute, Urban Plan Volunteer, Present
- Bill Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, Advisory Board, 2018-2020
- Florida Bar Grievance Committee 2A, serving the 2nd Judicial Circuit, 2017-2020
- Florida Brownfield Association
- Board member, 2013-2015
- Legislative Days Chairman, 2014
- President, 2010-2011
- Legislative Committee Co-Chair, 2007-2010, 2019 - 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
- 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
- Chambers USA, Environment (Florida), 2021
- The Best Lawyers in America®, 2020-2022
- Florida Super Lawyers, 2021
- Rising Star in Environmental Law, 2009-2015
- Dean Frank E. Maloney Writing Competition, “Adding Pollution Trading to Florida's Total Maximum Daily Load Program,” 2006
- Big Bend Chapter of the Florida Engineering Society, Young Engineer of the Year, 2001
Publications & Presentations
Brownfields – It’s History in Florida
Florida Brownfields Association|October 2021
Government & Administrative News Update, Land Development News Update, Publications:
City of Tallahassee Proposes “Glitch” Revisions to Land Development Code
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|September 2021
Waste Management Programs Overview
35th Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School|July 2021
Managing the Regulatory And Transactional Risks Of Emerging Contaminants Such As PFAS
35th Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School|July 2021
BYOD - Bring Your Own Device and Follow Along! Part I - Using Technology to Work Effectively In and Out of the Office
35th Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School|July 2021
Government Affairs News Update, Land Development News Update, Publications:
What's Developing | Spring 2021
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|May 2021
COVID News Update, Government & Administrative News Update, Government Affairs News Update, Land Development News Update, Publications:
COVID Legal Compass | Edition 25
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|March 2021
Land Development News Update, Publications:
What's Developing | Winter 2020-2021
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2021
In the Media:
TLH Briefcase: Aug. 29, 2021
Tallahassee Democrat|August 2021
Stearns Weaver Miller Lawyers Recognized in 2021 Florida Super Lawyers
29 Stearns Weaver Miller Lawyers in 12 Practice Areas Ranked In Chambers USA 2021
Jacob T. Cremer Appointed to Florida Brownfields Association Board of Directors