Practice Areas

Environmental

We help individuals, groups, businesses, developers, and municipalities in all areas of state and environmental law: from development and environmental quality review to litigation.

Development

We help clients who own, purchase, develop, or use contaminated property. We recommend ways to minimize potential liability for past discharges of environmental pollutants. Even someone who unwittingly buys contaminated property may be held responsible for the cost to investigate and clean up the contamination.

We know the environmental due diligence that must be performed in connection with significant business transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, and the purchase or sale of real estate. When a clients’ property has been contaminated by a previous owner, we work to recover the clean up and investigation costs and to hold the polluters (or their insurance companies) liable.

We also help clients evaluate options for tax credits and liability protection in connection with the redevelopment of contaminated properties.

Environmental Quality Review
We guide clients through the entire environmental review process. Most development projects require administrative approvals that trigger environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). These acts require all potentially significant adverse environmental impacts to be identified and mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. Environmental impacts include factors such as noise, visual impacts, traffic, aesthetic impacts, threatened or endangered species, air quality, parking areas, natural resources, historic resources, and energy use.

If the environmental review process is not done properly, the development approvals may be set aside, governmental funding may be revoked, and projects may be significantly delayed. We help ensure the environmental review process is done properly.

Litigation
We have experience in both the prosecution and defense of a variety of environmental claims under New York State and Federal law.

We represent innocent property owners in “cost recovery” actions to recover the cost to investigate and clean up contamination. Typically, cost recovery claims are made against prior owners/operators or adjacent owners/operators and likely involve properties that were once used for

  • Gas stations;
  • Auto repair and service facilities;
  • Dry cleaners;
  • Landfills;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Energy production;
  • Strip malls; or
  • Commercial agriculture.

Additionally, we represent clients whose property has been taken by a regulation that changed the property’s use or by a physical occupation, like flood waters on the property, which was caused by state or local entities without compensation.