Elizabeth
Knauer

Principal

Elizabeth
Knauer

Principal

Elizabeth graduated from Harvard Law School in 1999, joined SPR in 2000, and has been a principal since 2010. Elizabeth’s practice involves environmental impact assessment and litigation under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). She defends land use and other determinations made by municipal and state agencies when legal challenges are filed on environmental grounds. Elizabeth advises developers and other entities with respect to environmental permitting and enforcement actions, and negotiates on their behalf with governmental agencies, particularly in the areas of wetlands and marine work. Elizabeth’s broad litigation experience also includes matters relating to environmental permitting standards, environmental contamination, administrative law, and contractual provisions.

Brownfields Redevelopment

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 recently 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.
Development And Land Use

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.
Development And Land Use

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.
Brownfields Redevelopment

Families United for Racial and Economic Equality v. Bloomberg

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.
Development And Land Use

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.
Development And Land Use

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.
Brownfields Redevelopment

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.

Development And Land Use

Hudson River Park

Location: New York, NY | Date: 2013

Sive, Paget & Riesel represented the Hudson River Park Trust (and predecessor entities) in connection with the environmental review conducted in connection with the development of the Hudson River Park in Manhattan. SPR served as environmental counsel in connection with the Environmental Impact Statement required for the Park, and worked with State and local agencies in connection with the development of this exciting new park along the Hudson River waterfront.

The firm continues to serve as counsel to the Hudson River Park Trust as it implements its overall plan for the park. In a recent litigation, Sane Energy Project v. Hudson River Park Trust (New York County Supreme Court), SPR obtained dismissal, on federal preemption grounds, of SEQRA challenge to HRPT’s lease allowing the installation of a natural gas pipeline under the Park.

Development And Land Use

New York Yankees

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 Review
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Permitting and Litigation for Government-Sponsored Developments

Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program

Location: Bayonne, NJ | Date: 2014

SPR advised the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with respect to the NEPA review of the raising of the Bayonne Bridge roadway to accommodate larger ships traversing the Kill Van Kull, resulting in a Finding of No Significant Impact and the issuance of a Bridge Permit Amendment by the U.S. Coast Guard. The firm also assisted with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permitting. The matter is now in litigation.
Development And Land Use

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.

“Soil Vapor Intrusion in the Workplace,” co-written with Steven C. Russo

For: New York Law Journal

July 16, 2007

“Defending Citizen Suits,” co-written with Daniel Riesel and Steven C. Russo

For: 47 Chemical Waste Litigation Reporter 708

April, 2004

“Defense Perspectives on Environmental Citizen Suits,” co-written with Steven C. Russo

For: X Widener L. Rev. 395

2004

“Litigating the Administrative Law Case,” co-written with Daniel Riesel

For: 22 EPA Admin. L. Reporter 175

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

Empire State Development Sells Former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility for Redevelopment as Film Studio

On August 7, 2017, Empire State Development (ESD) consummated the sale of State-owned surplus property on Staten Island formerly housing the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility to Broadway Stages, an owner and operator of film and television studios.  SPR principal Elizabeth Knauer advised ...

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

Member, Executive Board, Maple Street School

Secretary, New York City Bar Association Environmental Law Committee, 2005-2008

Admitted to practice in New York State and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York