Jack Van Kley’s environmental law career spans more than 37 years as a government litigator and law firm practitioner. He started his career with the Environmental Enforcement Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in 1979, representing Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and other environmental agencies. In this role, he filed cases under the air pollution, water pollution, hazardous waste, solid waste, drinking water, natural resources, and other environmental laws for 15 years. He also defended permits, orders, regulations, and other administrative agency actions, including numerous appeals of Ohio EPA’s water quality standards.
Some of Jack’s most significant cases were six enforcement actions against the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Defense. These cases were brought to clean up and control the hazardous wastes, radioactive wastes, radioactive air emissions, and water pollutants at these plants.
During his government service, Jack held several supervisory positions in the Environmental Enforcement Section. Starting in 1989, he guided the State’s expanding Superfund practice, supervising all State cases under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and personally litigating and negotiating many of them.
Later, Jack served as the Section’s Chief Litigator, overseeing litigation strategy for all State civil and administrative cases. He concluded his government service with three years as Section Chief, supervising 75 attorneys, investigators, and staff and their work load of 1,000 cases and investigations. In this position, he also monitored all state and federal environmental legislation. For example, he assisted with legislation establishing Ohio’s voluntary action program and the Federal Facilities Compliance Act controlling hazardous waste activities at federal facilities. He also advised the Director of Ohio EPA on the State’s complex legal issues.
Since 1995, Jack has been engaged in the private practice of environmental law, formerly at Jones Day and now at Van Kley & Walker. This practice includes litigation, transactions, legislation, permitting, and compliance counseling.
Jack counsels industry, agriculture, and local government on regulatory and permit issues. His industrial and commercial clients have ranged in size from multinational corporations to small family-owned businesses. His agricultural clients have included trade associations and many large, medium, and small livestock and poultry operations. He has also advised local governments of all sizes. Examples of significant counseling representations include advice to manufacturing plants on new source review, assisting in the permit applications for many of Ohio’s largest dairies, handling permit and regulatory issues for siting a new electric power plant, helping a township set up a MS4 storm water program, and advising numerous farms and agricultural trade associations about NPDES permits and the EPA agreement for air emissions.
In his litigation practice, Jack defends clients against government and private lawsuits, as well as filing cases to protect the environmental and property interests of companies, farms, and local governments. Some of his notable cases have involved the litigation and settlement of a contentious CERCLA contribution suit on behalf of two natural gas companies, the resolution of a state NPDES lawsuit against two dairy farms, the defense of a water supply dispute against a municipal client, a water rights lawsuit to protect the water supplies of four county and municipal clients, and resolutions of several air pollution enforcement actions against industrial clients. He represents clients in permitting proceedings before the Ohio Power Siting Board. He files administrative appeals of clients’ permits to challenge unduly stringent requirements, including Title V and NPDES permits. He also defends clients’ permits against objecting neighbors.
In the transactional field, Jack has assisted industries, hospitals, banks, farms, landlords, tenants, and other clients engaged in hundreds of property transfers, mergers, joint ventures, leases, and loans. This assistance includes reviews of environmental studies, the clean up of contaminated properties, drafting and negotiating agreements, and enforcing indemnification provisions.
In the legislative arena, Jack has assisted agriculture and industry by drafting, commenting, or testifying on important legislation. Notable examples include a law transferring the Ohio EPA permit program for livestock and poultry farms to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, a statute requiring Ohio EPA to base its NPDES actions solely on credible scientific data, and a law abolishing the Ohio Hazardous Waste Facility Board and reforming the cumbersome permit procedure for siting hazardous waste facilities.