Sean Herman

Sean G. Herman


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Environmental and Natural Resources
Environmental and Natural Resources
San Francisco

Sean is a counselor and litigator focused upon the practice of environmental law. In an effort to proactively address environmental issues, Sean assists clients in achieving regulatory compliance in hazardous waste management, water rights, consumer products, and chemical manufacturing matters. He also assists clients through environmental investigation and remediation efforts, with extensive experience working closely with regulators and consultants to effectively address potential environmental contamination in a financially viable manner.

On behalf of individuals, community groups, governments, businesses, and other stakeholders, Sean has prosecuted and defended numerous high-profile environmental, land use, and toxic tort matters, including multiple class actions, citizen suits, and Superfund sites. Sean has had success litigating matters that address water, soil, sediment, and air pollution from facilities involving dry cleaning and upstream/downstream oil processes, as well as ship building, metal plating, gasket, printing, and chemical manufacturing operations. Accordingly, Sean has extensive experience with statutes such as CERCLA, RCRA, HSAA, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Proposition 65, and Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.


"Court of Appeal Upholds State Board’s Broad Power to Regulate Riparian and Pre-1914 Appropriative Water Rights to Protect Threatened Fish," co-author, Water + Environmental Law Alert (July 2020)

"Judicial Council Revises Its Deadline for Tolling Civil Statutes of Limitations, Including for CEQA Actions," co-author, Environmental Law + Land Use Law Alert (May 2020)

"Uncertainty on Maui: How Will Functional Equivalence Work in the Real World?," co-author, Water Law Alert (April 2020)

"A Pandemic Upsets Supply Chains as Proposition 65 Enforcement Soars and New Regulations Take Effect," co-author, Environmental Law Alert (April 2020)

"U.S. EPA’s Temporary Enforcement Policy Provides Needed Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic," co-author, Environmental Law Alert (March 2020)

"New PFAS Regulations Work Dramatic Changes to California's Drinking Water Supplies — With More Changes Likely to Follow," co-author, Water Law Alert (February 2020)

"Applying for a Business License in 2020? You May Need to Consider Your Water Quality Impacts," co-author, Water Law Alert (December 2019)

"Clean Water Act Cases Head to the High Court," co-author, Daily Journal (March 2019)

"Trump Administration's Clean Water Act Proposal Will Affect Many Developer and Public Agency Projects," co-author, Water Law Alert (December 2018)

"Can Groundwater Permitting Affect the Public Trust?," co-author, Water Law Alert (September 2018)

"California Law Firm Sees Instability and Concern In Clean Water Regulation," co-author, Environmental Business Journal (September 2018)

"The Politics Of Going Green: Law Needs To Change To Save Our Globe," co-author, Lawyer Monthly (August 2018)

"Practitioner Insights: Maui Groundwater Case Shows Government Retreat Is Bad for Everyone," co-author, Bloomberg Environment (May 2018)

"Circuit Courts Extend Clean Water Act Liability to Discharging Treated Wastewater and Other Pollutants to Groundwater," co-author, Water Law Alert (April 2018)

"The Supreme Court's Clean Water Act Ruling Opens Floodgates To Future Litigation," co-author, Water Law Alert (January 2018)

"Cases provide insight into shifting environmental policy," co-author, Daily Journal (January 2018)

"Upcoming State Water Diversion Measurement and Reporting Deadlines," co-author, Water Law Alert (November 2017)

"PFC Regulation Begins in California," co-author, Environmental & Natural Resources Alert (November 2017)

"Supreme Court to Hear "Waters of the United States" Argument this Fall," co-author, Environmental & Natural Resources Law Alert (July 2017)

"EPA Proposes to Narrow “Waters of the United States” Definition," Environmental Law Alert (June 2017)

See All Publications


"Coffee and Compliance: US Supreme Court’s Ruling on Groundwater Discharges & Impact on Environmental Compliance Programs," panelist, Mapistry Webinar (May 2020)

"Groundwater Discharges, Waters of the US, and Clean Water Act," co-speaker, Mapistry's Pollution Prevention Summit (October 2019)

"Waters of the U.S." Rule After South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. Pruitt," co-presenter, Strafford Publications (November 2018)

"Diversity, Inclusion and the Bottom Line: From Pledge to Profitability," co-speaker, The Bar Association of San Francisco (September 2018) 

"Environmental Law Basics: Understanding Hazardous Waste," moderator, The Bar Association of San Francisco (November 2017)

"Environmental Basics: Practicing CEQA in California," moderator, BASF Barrister's Environmental, Land Use, and Real Estate Section (November 2016)

"Game Changer: TSCA Amendments and Chemicals in the 21st Century," moderator, BASF Environmental Law Section (July 2016)

"The BP Oil Spill and Evolution of Natural Resource Damages," moderator, BASF Barrister's Environmental, Land Use, and Real Estate Section (June 2016)

“Keeping an Eye on Emerging Contaminants,” speaker, Environmental and Emerging Claim Manager Association Annual Conference (April 2016)

"Prop 65 Basics: Intro to Chemical Regulation," moderator, BASF Barrister's Environmental, Land Use, and Real Estate Section (May 2015)

See All Presentations


"EPA Narrows States’ Veto Power Over Infrastructure Projects (4)," Bloomberg Law (June 2020)

"Clean Water Act Test 'Will be Litigated for Years to Come,'" E&E News (April 2020)

“State and Local Governments Create Alliances to Fight Climate Change as Trump Administration Rolls Back Efforts to Impact Air Regulations,”  Environmental Business Journal (Winter 2019)

“Pruitt Tries to Bulletproof Waters Rule Repeal Before Exit,” Bloomberg Environment (July 2018)

Community Involvement

Boston College Northern California Alumni Chapter, Executive Committee Member

Golden Gate Audubon Society, San Francisco Conservation Committee Member

Alvord Lake Task Force, Member

Professional Affiliations

Chair of the Barristers Club's Environmental, Land Use, and Real Property Section for the Bar Association of San Francisco

Executive Committee for the Bar Association of San Francisco Environmental Law Section

Barristers Club's Pro Bono and Community Service Committee for the Bar Association of San Francisco


J.D., Rutgers University (2011)

B.S., cum laude, Boston College (2007)

Admissions And Courts


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

New Jersey

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

New York



San Francisco

415-995-5899 Direct Phone
415-995-3429 Fax

Email Attorney