Elizabeth’s practice has included most facets of environmental law under federal and New York State law, and views every matter through a multidimensional lens. Her experience in both litigation and project development provides a seasoned perspective on avoiding and managing risk.
Elizabeth has litigated various matters relating to environmental contamination and claims for recovery of associated costs involving the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the New York Navigation Law, and other statutes; toxic tort claims; the Clean Water Act; environmental permitting standards; administrative law; and contractual provisions. She has litigated at the trial court and appellate level in both state and federal courts for nearly two decades and is familiar with complex litigation involving large numbers of defendants. Much of her recent work has involved litigation concerning groundwater contamination affecting public water supplies, including by emerging contaminants such as 1,4-dioxane and PFAS. Elizabeth also regularly litigates administrative law cases, defending decision making of federal, state and municipal agencies when legal challenges are filed on environmental grounds.
Elizabeth’s practice also focuses on environmental impact assessment under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). She has advised both governmental and private clients on the environmental assessment of, and other environmental issues related to, projects ranging from major transportation projects to small affordable housing developments requiring federal or state approvals or undergoing the New York City Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). This work has included advice and litigation related to parkland alienation and federal and State historic resources consultation processes.
Elizabeth advises clients with respect to environmental permitting and enforcement actions, and negotiates on their behalf with governmental agencies. She has helped secure federal and state permits for waterfront work for a variety of development projects as well as industrial operators. She also advises with respect to management and remediation of environmental contamination to minimize exposure to liability.
Elizabeth has been an appointed citizen member of the New York City Environmental Control Board for over a decade.
Queens West Development Corporation
SPR represents Queens West Development Corporation (QWDC), a subsidiary of New York State's Empire State Development (ESD), in connection with New York's largest mixed use public-private development. During the early planning stages of this major initiative to redevelop a 74-acre area of the Long Island City waterfront, the firm provided environmental and land use counsel to the Urban Development Corporation (now d/b/a ESD) in connection with development of the General Project Plan and the environmental impact statement (EIS) process. It subsequently represented ESD in successfully defeating litigation challenging the adequacy of the EIS. The firm has handled all waterfront permitting issues for the development of parks and the waterfront esplanade, which involved obtaining permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and other agencies.The firm represented QWDC over CERCLA action for response costs and settled. The firm assists in connection with all aspects of remediation of legacy contamination from the area's long and varied industrial uses, including remedies under auspices of either the State's Voluntary Cleanup Program or the Brownfield Cleanup Program, recently representing QWDC in a case over response costs. The litigation recently settled.
New Hope Power Company
Victoria Theatre Redevelopment
2800 Hylan Blvd., LLC v. Motiva Enterprises
Muss Development – Prince’s Point
SPR represented Muss Development Corporation with respect to a proposed large-scale residential development on Prince's Point, which borders Staten Island. Shortly after Muss purchased the property, it was discovered to be seriously contaminated with hazardous wastes from historic uses, resulting in its listing as an Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site under the State Superfund Program. SPR provided legal advice pertaining to the remediation of the site, which took many years to complete, and then provided representation concerning State Tidal and Freshwater Wetlands permitting and associated environmental issues.
Bronx Terminal Market
SPR represented the Related Companies' affiliate Related Retail Corporation with respect to the proposed redevelopment of the current site of the Bronx Terminal Market on the Harlem River, as a large-scale retail facility including a hotel. SPR provided legal advice with respect to the site's participation in the Brownfield Cleanup Program, into which the project was accepted in late 2004. SPR also advised the client with respect to waterfront permitting issues and other environmental matters.
Hudson River Park
From its inception, SPR has served as environmental and litigation counsel to the Hudson River Park Trust on major proposed projects in Hudson River Park, most recently Pier 54 and Pier 57. Pier 54 will be reconstructed as “Pier 55,” a distinctive pier offering world-class recreation and performing arts events, with the support of a $200 million donation from the Diller/von Furstenberg Family Foundation – the largest gift to a public park in the history of New York State. Pier 55 was the subject of litigation in state and federal court for over two years, during which SPR successfully overcame a challenge to the Trust’s environmental review and a challenge to the permit issued by the DEC (as co-counsel with the State). SPR also helped the Trust obtain new permits after the donor terminated and then restarted the Project. Pier 55 is now in construction, as is Pier 57.
New York Yankees – Yankee Stadium
Sive, Paget & Reisel represented the New York Yankees in connection with the development of the new Yankee stadium in the Bronx. The project also included the construction of additional parking facilities, and the creation of new parkland and recreational facilities at and in the immediate vicinity of the existing stadium, as well as along the Harlem River waterfront. The firm successfully defended the New York Yankees in the lawsuit that challenged the environmental review and parkland aspect of this project.
Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program
Willets Point Development Project
Pier 57 Redevelopment
Columbia University Manhattanville Expansion
“Wetlands Regulations: Considerations for Project Developers,” co-written with Mark A. Chertok
For: Lexis Practice Advisor Practice Note
“Environmental Impact Review in New York,” co-written with Mark A. Chertok
For: Michael Gerrard, ed.; Matthew Bender, pub, Chapter 8A
“Soil Vapor Intrusion in the Workplace,” Co-Author
For: New York Law Journal; Co-Author(s): Steven C. Russo
“Defending Citizen Suits”
For: 47 Chemical Waste Litigation Reporter 708; Co-Author(s): Daniel Riesel, Elizabeth Knauer, Steven C. Russo
“Defense Perspectives on Environmental Citizen Suits,” Co-Author
For: X Widener L. Rev. 395; Co-Author(s): Steven C. Russo
“Litigating the Administrative Law Case,” Co-Author
For: 22 EPA Admin. L. Reporter 175; Co-Author(s): Dan Riesel, Elizabeth Knauer
“Views Vary on Environmental Justice – Communities Try to Use Federal Laws to Keep Out Polluting Facilities,” co-written with Steven C. Russo
For: New York Law Journal