Environmental Law

Download PDF

Environmental Law

The West Firm, PLLC is consistently recognized as having some of the top environmental attorneys in Albany, NY and New York State. Environmental law is a core practice area of The West Firm, PLLC.  With it’s offices located in the heart of downtown Albany, NY, The Firm is equipped to handle permitting, regulatory compliance, and enforcement, including negotiating alleged violations through consent orders, administrative proceedings and associated litigation, including Article 78 proceedings.  The Firm has also defended individuals and corporations in criminal enforcement matters and regularly represents clients regarding environmental contamination issues, including the redevelopment of sites under the Brownfield Cleanup Program.  The firm has also represented companies and trade associations before the New York State Legislature on environmental issues.

Often, the Firm is called upon to represent clients regarding controversial projects.  Due to its strong relationships with federal, state and local governmental agencies, the Firm is able to communicate directly with key personnel at the regulating agencies allowing for potential obstacles to be quickly identified and resolved in order to obtain successful outcomes on the client’s desired schedule.

The Firm’s environmental practice involves an in-depth knowledge of numerous state and federal environmental laws, regulations and programs relative to:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA);
  • New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA);
  • New York State Historic Preservation Act;
  • Federal and New York State Superfund programs;
  • New York State Navigation Law;
  • Clean Water Act;
  • Clean Air Act;
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA);
  • New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP);
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES);
  • New York State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES);
  • Petroleum and Chemical Bulk Storage;
  • Solid and Hazardous Waste Management;
  • New York Stream Protection, including water withdrawals and water rights;
  • State and Federal laws relating to dam safety;
  • State and Federal laws relating to pipeline development and oil and gas production.

The Firm has experience advising and representing a wide variety of clients in its environmental practice, including solid waste management facility operators, the pesticide industry, power generating facilities, solar developers, windfarm developers, manufacturers, ski area operators, real estate developers, trade associations and municipalities.  Based on its vast experience in the environmental arena, the Firm is confident that it can successfully address your environmental issues and concerns and help you develop a strategy to achieve your goals in a cost-effective manner.

Contact us to discuss your environmental law project

Representative Matters

  • Ongoing representation of a large regional solid waste disposal and recycling company involving a multitude of matters relating to obtaining permits and approvals for solid waste landfills and transfer stations. Most recently, the Firm was able to obtain solid waste and air permits following adjudicatory proceedings initiated by an opposition group with decision-making by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) in 11 months, including the adjudicatory hearing.  In another matter, the Firm was able to convince the DEC to issue permits for a significant landfill expansion over objections of an opposition group without any regulatory hearings;
  • Representation of a major interstate pipeline company in obtaining environmental approvals and land rights to construct a modern interstate pipeline across a major section of New York State. That matter involved numerous stream and wetlands crossings and involved the negotiation of land rights through the Palisades Interstate Park and New York State Reforestation areas;
  • Representation of pipeline developers and oil and gas developers before the New York State Public Service Commission and relative to water withdrawal and use issues before the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission;
  • Served as lead counsel in a successful challenge to New York’s pesticide notification regulations;
  • Developed a unique legal theory cited as leading authority for the grounds for “grandfathering” under SEQRA;
  • Obtained a judicial decision on behalf of certain New York industries nullifying New York’s inactive hazardous waste disposal site regulations on substantive grounds;
  • Litigated a hazardous materials cost recovery action, absolving the client of significant liability at the site and leading to full recovery for the client, including attorneys’ fees;
  • Provided legal services for several large power producers in connection with complex air quality and other permitting issues in the metropolitan New York City area;
  • Represented major ski areas in connection with water withdrawal and related environmental issues;
  • Ensured compliance with legal requirements for remediation of contaminated or suspected contaminated property through New York State’s BCP, State Superfund, RCRA, and other programs;
  • Developed strategy for remediation and negotiation of orders on consent or permits during representation of property owners completing cleanups of industrial properties pursuant to general enforcement matters, Superfund, RCRA, and other programs;
  • Developed strategies to ensure that environmental review pursuant to SEQRA and/or NEPA, as well as local, state and federal permitting regulations, would meet the client’s timetable and withstand legal challenges on substantive, procedural, standing or other grounds, particularly for controversial projects, including development related to the Marcellus Shale, landfills, when projects, development projects, and others;
  • Represented a municipality regarding dam safety issues in a case that began with the classification of a dam as a high hazard dam, which classification was revised to a medium hazard dam based upon a site-specific climatological evaluation;
  • Provided a full range of services, from permitting and reporting to litigation support, to industrial clients, including waste oil recyclers, hazardous and solid waste disposal companies, and chemical distributors.