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Riley, John A.
John A. Riley
P: +1.512.542.2108
F: +1.800.404.3970

Thao Nguyen


John Riley is a partner in the Environmental Strategies Group at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP and represents clients in permitting and enforcement matters in the air, water and waste media. He advises entities in the power generation, hydraulic fracturing, manufacturing and waste disposal sectors in matters before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He also regularly represents clients in contested case hearings in permit and enforcement matters before TCEQ at the State Office of Administrative Hearings in Texas.

John was the director of the Litigation Division (then called Litigation Support) at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (now TCEQ) from September 1994 to March 1998. While there, he was directly responsible for the development and implementation of the Texas Environmental, Health and Safety Audit Privilege Law and other legislation, rulemaking, and policy development affecting the enforcement of environmental laws in Texas. John also oversaw the development of the TCEQ environmental crimes investigation unit, which is commonly referred to as the Special Investigations Unit.

Earlier in his career John served as Deputy Commissioner for Energy Resources, Administrative Law Judge, Director of Audit Hearings: Texas General Land Office, Austin, and as Senior Trial Assistant District Attorney, Kings County District Attorney's Office, Brooklyn.

Representative Matters

Lead counsel in the successful representation of a company seeking a Prevention of Significant Deterioration air permit for a solid fuel-fired power plant.

Lead counsel in the representation of a company in connection with a federal citizen suit brought under the federal Clean Air Act New Source Review provisions, including successfully negotiating a multi-party consent decree with citizen groups and federal authorities.

Lead counsel for a company seeking Underground Injection Control and related environmental permits for a commercial waste disposal facility.

Successfully represented a client by obtaining an air permit for a facility that was opposed by a citizen group, the county government, and federal, state, and local political figures.

Successfully represented a client by obtaining several contested Municipal Solid Waste permits authorizing landfill expansions throughout Texas.

Successfully represented a client in obtaining a TCEQ emergency order authorizing air emissions from an alternative loading device following the catastrophic collapse of the permitted product loading structure.

Successfully represented a client in a time-sensitive matter by obtaining an authorization for a new air emission source through a combination of permit alterations and a permit by rule.

Successfully represented a client in resolving an investigation instigated by a civil lawsuit plaintiff's complaint to the TCEQ of illegal waste handling without any enforcement action being taken by the agency.

Routinely assists clients in the development of positions in legislative and rulemaking matters.

Publications and Speeches

Speaker for numerous environmental regulatory conferences and has testified before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the Texas, Alaska and Louisiana Legislatures.


J.D., Boston University School of Law, 1983
B.S., Cornell University, 1979

Bar Admissions

New York

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
Chambers & Partners, Chambers USA, Environment, 2012-2015
Woodward White, Inc., Best Lawyers, Administrative/Regulatory Law and Environmental Law, 2006-2015
Thomson Reuters, Texas Super Lawyers, 2003-2004, 2012-2014