Skip to content





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.

New York Metro Super Lawyers, Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation
Best Lawyers®, Environmental Law
Chambers and Partners USA, Ranked Band 2 Environmental Lawyer

Queens West Development Corporation

Location: Long Island City, NY | Date: 2014

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

Location: South Bay, Florida | Date: 2010

The firm represented the Company and won summary judgment in the Southern District of Florida, which enjoined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from applying rules pertaining to its regulatory jurisdiction over certain former wetlands.  The Court held that the Corps, by relying only on its own internal memoranda, had failed to properly promulgate the rules through the notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures required under the Administrative Procedure Act.  The decision has wide import, as it directly affects approximately 700,000 acres within the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), and other hydrologically-managed lands nationwide for which non-agricultural uses may be proposed.

City Point

Location: Brooklyn, NY | Date: 2013

On behalf of project developers, SPR obtained dismissal of claims in New  York County Supreme Court brought under the State Environmental Quality Review Act to challenge the mixed-use City Point project in Downtown Brooklyn by community group and labor unions on statute of limitations and standing grounds.  SPR also advised the developer with respect to subsequent environmental review of project modifications.
Environmental Impact Review/Permitting

Victoria Theatre Redevelopment

Location: New York, NY | Date: 2013

The firm advised the Empire State Development Corporation with respect to the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the redevelopment of the site of a historic theater in Harlem with cultural uses and market rate and affordable housing.

2800 Hylan Blvd., LLC v. Motiva Enterprises

Location: New York, NY | Date: 2009

With the help of the firm, the client obtained judgment after bench trial awarding lost rent and attorneys' fees under the New York Navigation Law to the owner of a property contaminated by a gasoline service station.
Environmental Impact Review/Permitting

Muss Development – Prince’s Point

Location: Staten Island, NY | Date: 2001

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.

Development And Land Use

Bronx Terminal Market

Location: Bronx, NY | Date: 2004

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.

Environmental Impact Review/Permitting

Hudson River Park

Location: New York, NY | Date: 2013

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.

Development And Land Use

New York Yankees – Yankee Stadium

Location: Bronx, NY | Date: 2009

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.

Environmental Impact Review/Permitting
Permitting and Litigation for Government-Sponsored Developments

Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program

Location: Bayonne, NJ | Date: 2014

SPR represented the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (“Port Authority”) with regard to the environmental review and permitting of this project, which will raise the vertical clearance of the Bayonne Bridge over the Kill van Kull for larger container vessels. The environmental reviews were under NEPA, SEQRA and CEQR, as well as Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”). Permits from the United States Coast Guard, NYSDEC, and NYSDOT. The Firm also represented the Port Authority in the successful defense of federal litigation under the Administrative Procedures Act challenging the Environmental Assessment for the project.
Environmental Impact Review/Permitting

Willets Point Development Project

Location: Queens, NY | Date: 2008

SPR was retained by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to serve as environmental counsel for the preparation of a Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the City of New York's proposed redevelopment of a 61 acre parcel in Willets Point Queens. The Willets Point project is a proposed redevelopment of a substandard and underutilized industrial area into a lively, mixed-use, sustainable community and regional destination. Besides the GEIS, the Firm assisted the City in other aspects of the proposed project, including hazardous waste remediation and environmental issues relating to the purchase of existing parcels within the project area and the parcels to be utilized to relocate existing businesses. The project, which required the rezoning of the area and adoption of an urban renewal plan, was approved in the Fall of 2008.
Development And Land Use

Pier 57 Redevelopment

Location: New York, NY | Date: 2014

As counsel to the Hudson River Park Trust, the firm assisted in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the redevelopment of Pier 57 in Hudson River Park, resulting in approval of the project by the New York City Planning Commission and City Council.
Development And Land Use
Environmental Impact Review/Permitting

Columbia University Manhattanville Expansion

Location: New York, NY | Date: 2010

SPR represented the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), an involved agency in the environmental review of the rezoning of a 35-acre portion of Manhattanville in West Harlem, a rezoning which facilitated Columbia University's proposed expansion on 17 of the 35 acres. The Columbia University development created a new 6.8 million square foot graduate campus in West Harlem that is to include state-of-the-art educational and academic research facilities, publicly-accessible open space, and other significant elements. SPR assisted in the preparation of the rezoning's environmental impact statement and ESDC's General Project Plan pertaining to the Columbia project, and won the litigation challenging the project through the Court of Appeals.

“Wetlands Regulations: Considerations for Project Developers,” co-written with Mark A. Chertok

For: Lexis Practice Advisor Practice Note

December 2018

“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

July 16, 2007

“Defending Citizen Suits”

For: 47 Chemical Waste Litigation Reporter 708; Co-Author(s): Daniel Riesel, Elizabeth Knauer, Steven C. Russo

April, 2004

“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

August, 2003

“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

December 17, 2001

Challenge to Rye City Planning Commission Approval of Wainwright House’s Special Permit Dismissed

On November 9, 2023, Acting Justice Robert J. Prisco of the New York State Supreme Court, Westchester County, dismissed an Article 78 petition brought by neighbors of the Wainwright House in Rye, New ...

Recent Developments in PFAS Regulation

The regulation of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continues to rapidly evolve at the New York State and federal levels. As further detailed in SPR’s prior blog post on this issue, PFAS are a family of chemical compounds with unique properties allowing ...

Waters in Flux: EPA and Army Corps Revise the Definition of “Waters of the United States”

On January 18, 2023, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) published a new final rule revising the definition of “waters of the United States” (the Rule) found in regulations implementing the Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act). The ...

Challenge to Landmarks Preservation Commission Approval of Brooklyn Development Dismissed

On January 12, 2023, Justice Ingrid Joseph, New York State Supreme Court, Kings County, dismissed a petition seeking to halt a residential development in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. In Sterling Place BK-NY Block Association Inc., et al. v. City of New York, et al. (Kings County Index No. 510458/2022), petitioners—neighbors of ...

PFAS Litigation Update: Court Denies Summary Judgment to AFFF Manufacturers

On September 16, 2022, Judge Richard M. Gergel of the U.S. District Court of South Carolina denied aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) manufacturers’ motion for summary judgment based on the government contractor indemnity defense in a multi-district litigation (MDL) currently pending against 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products LP, Chemguard Inc., National ...

Developments in Regulation of PFAS

  Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continue to emerge, so to speak, as a focus of regulatory attention on many levels: health, environmental remediation, and manufacturing. Below, we discuss some of the more recent developments affecting this ubiquitous class of chemicals. Nicknamed “forever chemicals,” PFAS are a family of chemical ...

Harvard Law School, J.D., 1999, Cum Laude

Fordham University, B.A., 1996, Summa Cum Laude

New York, 2000

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

New York City Environmental Control Board Water Specialist, 2011-present