Environmental Impact Review and Permitting
We serve as environmental counsel to private and public developers of large and small commercial and residential development projects. We have extensive experience dealing with regulators at the national, state and local levels. We work closely and cooperatively with our clients’ teams of environmental consultants, architects and zoning experts, as well as with governmental agencies, in order to realize our clients’ development goals. We also know how to facilitate and work with our clients to conduct meaningful public outreach, particularly in high-profile projects.
We understand that in any development project, a strong and defensible administrative record is critical. To make that record, we lead and collaborate with engineers, planners, architects, environmental and other professional consultants, and government agencies, in the preparation of environmental impact statements and assessments under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). When necessary, we litigate project challenges.
We are experienced in the full range of environmental permitting, including stormwater, wetlands, solid waste and air, and resolve New York City Zoning Resolution e-designations for contamination and noise. We also guide clients through the Brownfield Cleanup Program, from the initial application to issuance of certificate of completion and receipt of available tax credits.
OUR PRACTICE AREAS
Business Transactions and Environmental Remediation
We advise buyers, sellers, investors, landlords, tenants, and lenders on the legal and practical risks posed by environmental issues in real property and corporate transactions. Whether a transaction involves a portfolio of assets, single parcel, Class A or distressed assets, assessing risk starts with due diligence. The level of due diligence depends upon a number of factors, including the type of property or business that is the subject of the transaction. Once we understand the risks, we manage them by negotiating favorable allocation of potential environmental liabilities in the transaction documents and, when necessary, obtaining environmental insurance. If our clients take on environmental liabilities, we help them get through any remediation of contamination, steering them through regulatory programs and identifying tax credit opportunities, including under the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program. Throughout this process we assist with the selection of any necessary environmental consultants and then supervise them to successfully complete the work.
Our attorneys litigate matters for a wide range of clients, from large developers and corporations, to municipalities, non-profit institutions, small businesses, and individuals. We have litigated disputes in every area of environmental law, including NEPA, SEQRA and CEQR, CERCLA, New York’s Navigation Law, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Recycling Container Act (also known as the Bottle Bill) and the treatment of environmental claims under the Bankruptcy Code. Our experience allows us to develop and pursue realistic strategies for our clients that minimize costs and exposure.
Regulatory Enforcement and Compliance Counseling
We represent clients who are the subject of administrative enforcement actions by local, state, and federal regulators. We help our clients identify a fast, comprehensive, and strategic response to civil enforcement, working effectively with regulatory agencies to reach agreement on the steps needed in order to remedy the violations without unnecessary consequences. We also help our clients comply with environmental laws and regulations, including assisting our clients with self-disclosure of noncompliance when appropriate to avoid or reduce penalties.
Land Use and Zoning
Outside of New York City, in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley region, we represent owners and developers on a variety of land use matters, including zoning amendments, site plan approvals, subdivision approvals, special permits, variances, easements, and local industrial development agency financing. We also counsel clients on zoning due diligence to help them evaluate redevelopment options for properties they own, invest in, or acquire.
Within New York City, we work closely with land use and real estate counsel on environmental matters that intersect with land use and zoning issues.