Joe Romero

Joe is a member of the firm’s Construction and Government Contracts practice group. He concentrates his practice in environmental law, including Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act remediation, hazardous waste management, regulatory compliance, permitting, enforcement matters, land use and riparian property rights, and contracts.


Before joining Vandeventer Black, Joe served as a Navy Judge Advocate for over twenty years.  Joe served in numerous Navy commands, including special warfare, overseas, and deployable units.  Through his years of military service, Joe was responsible for advising senior Navy leaders and executives, including the 4-star Fleet Commander, on myriad legal issues associated with heavy industrial processes, upland development, and activities in the maritime environment.  This included a wide range of compliance, enforcement, and litigation matters that spanned numerous federal and state regulatory programs.

After retiring from active duty, Joe worked for the Dept. of the Navy’s Office of General Counsel, where he continued his environmental practice, focusing primarily on CERCLA remediation, working closely in multi-disciplinary teams to achieve the client’s goals.  This included large remediation and redevelopment projects on current and former military facilities and ranges.  In addition, he was a principal adviser on cutting-edge legal issues associated with emerging but unregulated contaminants, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), that have become a significant concern for industrial activities, wastewater treatment facilities, publicly-owned treatment works, airports, oil facilities, landfills, disposal facilities, and local communities.

Joe is an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University, where he teaches Environmental and Occupational Health Law.  He has also presented in numerous professional and academic forum on emerging trends in the law and regulation.  In addition, Joe serves on the Board of Governors of the Virginia State Bar Environmental Law Section.



  • Strategic counsel on environmental compliance programs, including consideration of emerging regulatory trends.
  • Day-to-day advice and counsel on environmental matters for foreign and domestic businesses, including matters involving air emissions, water discharges, the management and disposal of waste, worker health and safety concerns.
  • Vigorous defense of industrial and commercial concerns in federal and state government multi-media enforcement actions and cleanup orders under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and state corollaries.
  • Defense and prosecution of cost recovery and contribution claims involving soil and groundwater contamination arising out of historical industrial operations, waste management, and disposal activities.
  • The implementation and defense of National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements, particularly those involving port and infrastructure development projects.
  • Advice on emerging climate change risks and liabilities in commercial transactions and industrial activities, including new regulatory considerations, tort liability, and citizen suit considerations.