John V. Chibbaro

Area of Focus: Environmental, Land Development & Government Relations
John V. Chibbaro

John is an environmental lawyer with the rare combination of technical fluency in federal and state environmental laws, as well as land use, zoning, and government relations regulations. This is in addition to his leadership of Bilzin Sumberg's Resilience and Sustainability Team covering climate change-related issues that are impacting wide swaths of the South Florida economy such as construction and real estate development. John has handled large-scale transit, infrastructure, retail, residential, and industrial developments and his experience includes advising public and private clients in complex regulatory matters involving the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Endangered Species Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and related state laws. He also works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Florida Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation, and local agencies such as Miami-Dade County's Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources - Division of Environmental Resources Management (DERM).

Q & A
What sets you apart from traditional environmental attorneys?
As a lawyer and registered lobbyist, my advantage is being able to bridge the gap between a client’s goal, what is permitted legally, and what is politically feasible. It takes creativity and pragmatism, as well as political common sense. It is one thing to know the statute; it’s quite another to deftly identify political issues and address those within the parameters of the law. I have worked extensively throughout California, the state with the most stringent and complex environmental and land development regulations. Between college and law school, I worked for the New York City Fire Department handling counter-terrorism preparedness, post-9/11. Though seemingly disparate, these experiences taught me how to anticipate challenges, circumvent pitfalls, and develop a clear communications strategy in order to quell vocal and well-funded opposition.
How would you describe Florida’s legal and political environmental landscape?
The pace of growth is so much faster in Florida than in California. I’ve worked on a variety of projects, from wetlands protection and urban infill to contaminated and submerged lands. Despite the pace, I've found that Florida is dynamic and proactive in their approach to environmental regulation. For example, I have been impressed with the innovative thinking and commitment to address water quality issues in Everglades National Park. The solutions adopted by both public and private entities are cutting edge.
  • University of Chicago, J.D., 2006
    Dartmouth College, B.A., 2002
  • State Bar of California
    Environmental Law Section, Member
    The Florida Bar
    Environmental and Land Use Law Section, Member
    Zoo Miami
    Board Member, 2018-Present
    Fire Department of New York
    Terrorism Preparedness Taskforce, Urban Fellow and Consultant, 2002-2003
  • California