Steven C. Russo

Chair, New York Environmental Practice
New York,  NY  U.S.A.

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AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • Environmental
  • Government Law & Policy
  • Litigation
  • Land Development
  • Real Estate
Contact InfoTelephone: 212.801.2155
Fax: 212.805.9455
University State University of New York at Albany, B.A., summa cum laude, 1985
Law SchoolColumbia Law School, J.D., 1989 Chief Articles Editor, Columbia Journal of Environmental Law
Admitted1989, Connecticut; 1990, New York; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
Memberships American Bar Association (Chair, Business Law Section, Environmental Litigation Committee, 2003-2007); New York City Bar Association (Member: Election Law Committee, 2004-2006; Environmental Law Committee, 1997-2000; State Legislation Committee, 1990-1991).

BornMineola, New York, January 10, 1964

Steven C. Russo chairs the firm's New York Environmental Practice. He focuses his practice on environmental law and litigation, environmental permitting, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review, toxic tort litigation, environmental crimes, Brownfields redevelopment, government, energy and the environmental aspects of land use and real estate law. Steven is equally experienced litigating in federal and state courts, as well as counseling his clients with regard to environmental liability risk and due diligence, permitting, Brownfields, and impact assessment and review. He also practices election and campaign finance law.

Prior to joining the firm, Steven was the Chief Legal Officer of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. There, he supervised approximately 90 attorneys in Albany as well as the agency's nine regional offices. He also supervised the agency's legislative affairs department and Office of Environmental Justice. At the agency, Steven initiated a reform of the state's environmental review regulations and assessment forms, completed the issuance of new power plant siting regulations pertaining to environmental justice and carbon emissions and revised the agency's environmental audit policy. He also was a key member of the executive team supervising the preparation of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement and regulations relating to unconventional natural gas drilling in New York State.

Steven has more than 15 years of experience at a New York-based environmental law firm (with ten as a principal), where, among other things, he served as either lead or co-counsel in several trials before federal and state courts, as well as state administrative agencies. He also served as election law counsel to a number of New York State and federal campaigns.

Professional & Community Involvement

· Board Member, New York City Environmental Control Board, 2003-2011

· Chair, Business Law Section, Environmental Litigation Committee, American Bar Association, 2003-2007

· Member, Election Law Committee, New York City Bar Association, 2004-2006

· Member, Environmental Law Committee, New York City Bar Association, 1997-2000

· Member, State Legislation Committee, New York City Bar Association, 1990-1991

Awards & Recognition

· Team Member, The Legal 500 United States, "Top Tier" Firm in Real Estate, 2013

· Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, New York Super Lawyers, 2009-2010

· Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2010

· Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5

Professional Experience

Significant Representations

· Represented the New York City Economic Development Corporation with regard to the Willets Point redevelopment.°

· Represented Long Island Power Authority with regard to transmission line between Southampton and Bridgehampton substations, as well as counseling as to cooling water intake issues.°

· Represented numerous public and private clients in environmental impact review and related litigation including the defense for proposed big-box development in Port Chester, New York; challenges to the approvals of the Southtown and Octagon Park developments on Roosevelt Island and the Hudson River Park in Manhattan; and the prosecution of Town Board's attempt to pocket veto a proposed travel center in Newburgh, New York.°

· Assisted in numerous due diligence reviews, including most recently representing a major wine and spirit importer in formation of joint venture and purchase of a facility in Louisville, Kentucky.°

· Represented a multinational mass media corporation in the acquisition of a television-station company.°

· Led legal team in analyzing the need for supplemental analysis of environmental impacts and justification for use of public funds in connection with JFK AirTran Project proposed by the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey.°

· Prepared permit applications in connection with proposed ferry landing on Roosevelt Island.°

· Defended a number of actions alleging diminution of property value and fear of future injury due to groundwater contamination, including action involving the Greenpoint petroleum spill and contamination of the water supply of the Village of Liberty in New York State.°

· Defended and settled the federal Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act citizens suit challenging operation of outdoor trap range and related environmental conditions.°

· Acted as lead counsel in preliminary injunction hearing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York challenging clean-up remedy determined pursuant to a Voluntary Cleanup Agreement between ground lessee and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).°

· Negotiated numerous voluntary and Brownfield Cleanup Agreements with NYSDEC in connection with Brownfield redevelopment projects, including developments in Flushing Queens, and various sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn.°

· Obtained New York City authorizations to proceed in connection with "e-designations" and NYSDEC spill closures in connection with Brownfield redevelopment projects.°

· Represented large municipality in a federal criminal investigation under the Clean Water Act.°

· Represented major company in federal criminal investigation for knowing violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.°

° The above representations were handled by Mr. Steven C. Russo prior to his joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Other Experience

· Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2011-2013

· Deputy Assistant Chief, Environmental Law Division, New York City Corporation Counsel, 1992-1995

Publications & Presentations

Articles, Lectures & Publications


· Co-Author, "Environmental Audit-New York Looks to Expand the Scope of its Policy While EPA Seeks to Target Applicability," Environmental Law in New York, Vol. 24, No. 10, October 2013

· Co-Author, "One Step Forward, One Step Back - NY Moves Forward on Its Environmental Self-Audit Policy as EPA Looks to Retreat," GT Alert, May 2013

· Co-Author, "Carbon Claustrophobia - Significant Changes Coming to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative's Cap and Trade Program," GT Alert, April 2013

· Author, "New Wine in Old Bottles: Court Rules Residents Can Bring Suit For Effects of Old Contamination Based on New Data," New York Law Journal, April 1, 2009

· Author, "Defending Citizen Suits," Chemical Waste Litigation Reporter 47, 5, April 2004

· Author, "Defense Perspectives on Environmental Citizen Suits," Widener Law Review 10, 395, 2003


· Author, Practical and Ethical Issues of Blogging on Environmental Law, ABA Natural Resources and Environment, Winter 2011


· Lecturer, New York State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section

· Lecturer, Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation Courses, American Law Institute, Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation Conferences


Documents by this lawyer on

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Recent Changes to New York Election Law and Government Ethics Laws to Affect Organizations Involved in Political Advocacy as well as Public Officials
Mark F. Glaser,Joshua L. Oppenheimer,Steven C. Russo, May 19, 2014
Continuing the recent trend, New York State has again enacted changes to New York’s election and government ethics laws in order to “restore public trust” in government. These “reforms,” which are likely to affect advocacy organizations, public officials, candidates,...

New York Governor Proposes to Extend Brownfield Tax Credit With Major Revisions
Robert Rosenthal,Steven C. Russo, February 7, 2014
The New York Governor proposed to extend the most significant tax credits associated with New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) as part of his Executive Budget. The proposal tries to take a middle ground between the cheerleaders of the program, who contend that it has been a widely...

New York City Proposes Expansion of Actions Exempt from CEQR
Steven C. Russo, November 11, 2013
The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires actions that may have a significant adverse environmental impact to undergo review. The City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) contains the City of New York’s procedures for complying with SEQRA. The State statute lists...

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Office Information

Steven C. Russo

200 Park Avenue
New YorkNY 10166


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