John F. Shea


Office: 20 Park Plaza, Suite 1118,
Boston, Massachusetts 02116

Direct: (617) 266-7143
LinkedIn: John Shea

John F. Shea has practiced environmental and land use law for over 35 years. He focuses on wetlands, water, wildlife and hazardous waste laws. He is recognized as a master strategist in securing approvals for complex and controversial projects, developing environmental compliance plans for pro-active and troubled companies, and successfully defending permits and enforcement actions in administrative and court appeals.

John represents developers, businesses and high net worth individuals in permitting, siting, enforcement defense and litigation. His development projects include coastal homes, subdivisions, subsidized housing, hotels, assisted living facilities, hospitals, colleges, and banks. He handles local, state and federal permitting of and litigation for coastal erosion protections measures, piers and docks, marinas, yacht and boat clubs, aquaculture farms, radio antenna arrays, solar and wind power renewable energy facilities, industrial plants, office parks, and retail complexes. He also works on Brownfields redevelopment projects.

John represents public water suppliers and wastewater treatment facilities in permitting, NPDES appeals, supervising compliance teams in enforcement cases, and developing water supply and watershed protection strategies. He is a member of the Massachusetts Water Works Association and the New England Water Works Association.

John represents potentially responsible parties (PRPs) in federal and state Superfund cases, and in related cost recovery and insurance claims. He supervised cleanups of water supplies, neighborhoods, commercial and industrial properties and Superfund sites throughout the U.S. He served as Common and Investigatory Counsel to PRPs, and represented environmental engineering and remediation companies in contract negotiations and litigation. He was founding chair of the Boston Bar Association Hazardous Waste Committee. John is the author of “Hazardous Waste Cleanup Law” in the Massachusetts Environmental Law treatise published by MCLE.

John acts as a Hearing Officer to Boards of Health on site assignment applications by solid waste and hazardous waste management facilities. He has conducted more than 30 public hearings on landfill expansions, processing and recycling facilities, and transfer stations. He was founding chair of the BBA Solid Waste Committee and the Recycling Task Force.

John is recognized yearly as a leader in environmental and land use law by Chambers USA’s America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. The 2013 edition described John as a “dean of the environmental Bar.” The 2014 edition reported “there’s nothing he hasn’t seen or done.” He was selected as the 2013 Boston Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America®, and as one of the four Best Environmental Lawyers in New England. He is designated a Massachusetts and New England SuperLawyer by Boston Magazine and Thomson Reuters. He enjoys an AV rating as a Pre-eminent Lawyer for the highest levels of professional excellence from Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Shea chairs panels and lectures to lawyers, engineers, and business groups.

From 1976 through 1981, John served as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force with responsibility for environmental compliance, litigation in federal and foreign courts, and environmental audits at military installations.

John graduated cum laude from Holy Cross College (1973), earned his J.D. from the University of Maine Law School (1976), and received a Masters in Environmental Law (1982), cum laude, from the Vermont Law School. He is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and Maine, and in many federal courts.

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