Ryan Hiete

Ryan Bio Pic.jpg


JD from University of the Pacific-McGeorge School of Law


Admitted to the State Bar of California in 1999


2009 & 2012 - Super Lawyers Magazine “Southern California Rising Star” 

2008 - Named one of the Top 50 Environmental Attorneys in Los Angeles County, Los Angeles Business Journal


State Bar of California

Ryan Hiete is Of Counsel to Finney Arnold LLP. Since 1999, Ryan has represented clients in matters pertaining to the full spectrum of environmental law, representing all types of clients, including large and medium size corporations, property developers and owners, public agencies (including cities, school districts, water districts and counties), individuals family estates, health care facilities and banking and financial institutions.

During the course of his career, Ryan has handled a wide variety of environmental matters, several types of which are identified below:

  • Large property developers and corporations on numerous issues, including: (i) land survey; (ii) entitlements and zoning issues; (iii) due diligence and historical site investigation; (iv) asbestos surveys and removal; and (v) contract negotiations (purchase and sale, leases, subleases, drafting environmental provisions, access and lender reviews).

  • Industrial plating facilities on compliance and regulatory issues, including: (i) alleged violations of air permits; (ii) air permit renewals; (iii) response to civil and criminal proceedings concerning alleged unlawful air emissions and water discharge; (iv) Prop 65-related cases; (v) alleged violations of hazardous waste laws (e.g., RCRA); (vi) efforts to close facilities under oversight of governmental agencies; and (vii) purchase and sale of plating operation facilities.

  • Employees of large national and international oil/energy companies involved in federal criminal proceedings [for example, represented six employees of a company involved in a federal probe relating to alleged illegal air emissions at major port facility in California.]

  • Companies relating to emergency response situations, including oil and chemical spills, pipeline ruptures and hazardous materials releases [for example, Ryan represented the company that led the response to the cargo ship M/V Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco, California.  The matter involved the representation of the client in multiple federal, state and local investigations, including proceedings filed by the United States Department of Justice, the United States Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board and the California Department of Fish and Game Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response].

  • Companies that manufacture, sell and/or purchase after-market car and marine parts that are subject to regulatory enforcement proceedings by the California Air Resources Board. Representation of several public and private water agencies (including cities and water purveyors) on the following issues: (i) complex groundwater pollution investigations and cleanups; (ii) litigation related to soil and groundwater pollution (including chemicals such as perchlorate, petroleum hydrocarbons, MTBE, PCBs and VOCs); (iii) administrative hearings related to soil and groundwater pollution; (iv) applications for funding under California’s UST Cleanup Fund; and, (v) compliance with CERCLA’s National Contingency Plan.

  • Large school district in matters related to the district’s massive school construction program. Specifically, Ryan represents the district on a wide variety of environmental and land use-related issues, including: (i) air quality issues, including compliance with California’s global warming law AB 32; (ii) review of potential school sites and assisting in the review of environmental impact reports and other environmental planning documents; (iii) negotiating environmental provisions of purchase and sale agreements; (iv) access agreements; (v) railroad safety assessments and other health risk assessments; (vi) pipeline-related issues, including pipeline removal projects; (vii) storm water projects; (ix) analysis of issues related to diesel emissions from the district’s bus fleets; (x) condemnation of environmentally impacted properties; and, (xi) numerous groundwater pollution cases. Representation of clients on global warming/climate-change related issues, including extensive analysis of California’s AB 32.

Ryan typically handles cases involving, among others:

  • California’s new climate change-related law, AB 32

  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

  • Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA)

  • California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act

  • Proposition 65

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response

  • Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”),

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

  • California’s Hazardous Substances Account Act (HSAA)

In handling matters for his clients, Ryan frequently interfaces with many government agencies and law enforcement offices, including:

  • US Environmental Protection Agency

  • United States Department of Justice

  • California Attorney General’s Office,

  • California Environmental Protection Agency

  • California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)

  • California Air Resources Control Board (CARB)

  • State Water Resources Control Board

  • Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD)

  • Los Angeles County Fire Department

  • City of Los Angeles

In 1999, prior to beginning his environmental practice, Ryan acted as legal counsel for the Belmont Commission, a commission convened by the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education to review and consider many environmental concerns and safety issues related to the then-planned $200 million Belmont Learning Complex.  As counsel for the BLC, Ryan assisted the commissioners in reviewing all applicable laws and regulations related to the planned joint venture and also worked with the commission to conduct interviews of those involved in the approval of the school site, including interviews of regulators, school officials, private parties and other members of the public.  Ultimately, the BLC issued a report that led to safety recommendations and environmental reviews, and the school site ultimately was constructed with those safety measures in place.

While attending McGeorge Law School, Ryan attended Loyola Law School in 1999 as a visiting student, where he was on the staff of the Loyola Law Review.

Mr. Hiete is a frequent speaker on matters pertaining to environmental issues affecting California businesses.