John Van Vlear


John Van Vlear is a partner specializing in all aspects of “contaminated sites” environmental legal work. Applying technical acumen, John focuses on investigation, strategic analysis, and remediation for site acquisitions/sales, development, regulatory interface, and related litigation in federal and state courts. Spending free time cycling extreme mountain roads in the United States and Europe, he has a keen appreciation for the interplay between the ideal of pristine landscapes and the practical realities of business operations. Because of it, and for over 25 years, John has helped clients recognize and manage environmental risks related to property.

John represents clients before a wide range of environmental agencies. His portfolio of projects includes: commercial, industrial, raw land, and residential, as well as specialty facilities such as gas stations, oil fields, airports, and landfills. These matters have involved a complex array of soil, groundwater, and vapor contamination.

John is a frequent speaker on environmental, real estate and contamination topics. He is a professional author, an expert witness, and arbitrator on environmental issues. He has been interviewed on TV twice and has testified before the California Senate subcommittee on Environmental Quality.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS (Partial List, Since 2000)
•    Presenter, "How to Use (and Abuse) Environmental Lawyers to Get Projects Done (and Make More Money Doing So)," GRA Southern California Branch Meeting, March 13, 2019. 
•    N&D 2019 Builder Update seminar, "Land Use & Environmental: Hot Topics and Builder Strategies" (Newport Beach, January 2019)
•    OC Bar Association, Environmental Law Section: “Overview, Update and Legal Implications Given Recent Events in the Orange County Water District Groundwater Cases” (Newport Beach, November 2017)
•    Strafford Webinar, “CERCLA Statute of Limitations, Preemption, and Allocation: Latest Developments in Superfund and Environmental Litigation” (October 2017)
•    OC Bar Association, Trusts and Estates Section:  “Environmental Issues – To Death and Beyond” (Orange, June 2014)
•    “Providing Enhanced Environmental Services – Legal Insights” (2013) [ERM; SCS Engineers; Tait Environmental Services; Ninyo & Moore; Kleinfelder;  Daniel B. Stephens & Associates; Environ; CAPE; AMEC; Waterstone Environmental]
•    Symposium:  “In Perpetuity and Beyond – Challenges and Cutting-Edge Solutions for the Long-Term Stewardship of Contaminated Sites” (Irvine, April 2008)
•    Appraisal Institute:  “Two Sides to Every Story – Case Study in Environmental Damages Litigation”  (Los Angeles, November 2003)
•    Entech West:  “Brownfields:  Business Issues & Untold Case Studies” (Long Beach, November 2002)
•    Air & Waste Management Association, Annual Meeting:  “Uncovering Legal ‘Hot Spots’ in Brownfield Projects” (Glendale, April 2002)
•    OC Bar Association, Real Estate Section:  “Toxic Properties – Maximizing Tax Deductions and Issues Affecting Estates and Trusts” [co-speaker]  (Orange, January 2002)
•    First American Title:  “Best Practices-Land Acquisition and Due Diligence” (Newport Beach, March 2001)
•    Cal-EPA/DTSC Workshop:  “Land Use Controls at Closing Military Bases” (Ontario, October 2000)
•    Environmental Roundtable, Moderator for Contaminated Sites Session (State Bar of California, Santa Barbara, May 2000)

•    Co-Author, "New Proposition 65 Warning Regulations For Businesses Effective August 30, 2018," Newmeyer & Dillion, August 30, 2018.
•    Co-Author, "'You're Out of Here!' -- CERCLA (Superfund) Federal Preemption of State Environmental Claims in State Courts," Newmeyer & Dillion, October 3, 2016.
•    Co-Author, "The Sky Is Falling! -- Or Is It? Impacting Lives through Addressing the Fear of Environmental Liabilities," Newmeyer & Dillion, March 24, 2016

•    AV® Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review 

•    Pepperdine University School of Law, J.D., cum laude
•    University of California, Irvine, B.A. Social Ecology, magna cum laude

•    California
•    United States District Court, all four California districts

•    Orange County Bar Association
•    Groundwater Resources Association of California