Former New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel, Steven Russo, to Strengthen Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental

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Former New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel, Steven Russo, to Strengthen Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental Practice

Former Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Steven Russo, joined the international law firm Greenberg Traurig as Chair of the New York Environmental Practice.

Russo supervised the NYSDEC’s Office of General Counsel, as well as the Legislative Affairs Department and Office of Environmental Justice. He completed the revision of new environmental assessment forms under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), launched the current ongoing SEQRA streamlining effort and preparation of a new environmental audit policy. Russo also spearheaded the environmental review relating to natural gas drilling using high-volume hydraulic fracturing, led the Department’s drafting of Article 10 power plant siting regulations governing environmental justice (Part 487) and carbon dioxide emissions (Part 251), and consulted with The Department of Public Service (DPS) relating to DPS’s Article 10 power plant siting regulations.

Russo joins more than 60 attorneys who comprise Greenberg Traurig’s National Environmental Practice. The team, whose members have been recognized for their leadership in the field of environmental law, is led by co-chairs Kerri Barsh in Miami, David Mandelbaum in Philadelphia, and David Weinstein in Tampa.

"Steve adds depth and new dimension to our national environmental practice. He is a national practitioner with extensive experience in Albany, in New York City, in northeast natural gas development, and in environmental impact analysis. We are excited he joined us in New York City,” said Barsh, Mandelbaum and Weinstein in a joint statement.

“We are thrilled to have a high-caliber attorney like Steve join our firm. His background at NYSDEC and his experience in the private sector will set us apart and strengthen our ability to counsel real estate clients throughout New York and around the country,” said Robert Ivanhoe, Co-Chairman of Greenberg Traurig’s New York office and Chair of the firm’s Global Real Estate Practice.

“Steve’s preeminence in environmental law complements the firm’s premier real estate, land use and government capabilities and makes Greenberg Traurig a one-stop shop for clients,” said Ed Wallace, Co-Chairman of Greenberg Traurig’s New York office and a shareholder in the New York Government Law Practice.

“I am happy to return to the private sector and work alongside the highly regarded attorneys at Greenberg Traurig,” said Russo. “The Greenberg Traurig environmental practitioners come from public, private and legislative backgrounds. Their familiarity with various businesses along with my government experience and past private firm background will allow us to serve clients efficiently and effectively.”

“We are very excited to have Steve join Greenberg Traurig,” said Harold N. Iselin, Albany Managing Shareholder and Co-Chair of the Global Insurance Regulatory & Transactions Practice. “He brings invaluable experience and knowledge from the public sector that will allow us to help our clients navigate governmental agencies and keep them abreast of regulatory trends.”

Russo has managed complex litigation in federal and state courts and has served as lead or co-counsel in several trials in federal and state court and before administrative agencies. He negotiated numerous Voluntary and Brownfield Cleanup Agreements with the NYSDEC in connection with Brownfield redevelopment projects and also advised clients with regard to environmental permitting and impact review, and supervised legal and technical due diligence reviews for assessment of environmental liability risks.

Russo served as Deputy Assistant Chief of the Environmental Law Division of the New York City Corporation Counsel’s office from 1992 to 1995, and was a member of the City’s Environmental Control Board from 2003 to 2011. At Corporation Counsel, he managed complex litigation brought by and against the City of New York involving federal and state environmental statutes, procurement law, zoning and other land use laws.

Russo’s practice is concentrated in the areas of environmental law and litigation, permitting, SEQRA, government, energy, land use, and real estate law. A diverse environmental practitioner, he will continue his work representing clients in environmental litigation, as well as advising clients on environmental liability risks, permitting, environmental impact review as well as Brownfield acquisitions and redevelopment.

Russo holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany.

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP is an international, full-service law firm with approximately 1750 attorneys serving from 35 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In the U.S., the firm has more offices than any other among the Top 10 on The National Law Journal’s 2012 NLJ 250. For additional information, please visit

Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental Practice is one of the firm’s oldest practice groups with more than 60 lawyers and five environmental professionals, many of whom have been recognized for their leadership in the field of environmental law with a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating or by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers & Partners, Florida Super Lawyers and other publications. The team’s client-focused, problem-solving approach reflects the commitment to clients that has led major national companies in a variety of industry segments, as well as municipalities, to turn to Greenberg Traurig with challenging environmental issues. The firm’s e2 environmental and energy law blog offers insights and analysis of new environmental and energy legislation, regulations, cases, policies and trends, with a focus on relevant business opportunities and risks.

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