Katherine
Ghilain

Associate

Katherine
Ghilain

Associate

Katie’s practice focuses on environmental litigation, the environmental review of development projects, regulatory compliance counseling, and the environmental aspects of corporate transactions.  She represents clients in a wide variety of matters arising under both federal and state laws and regulations. Katie’s experience includes challenging and defending projects under the National Environmental Policy Act, the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.  It also includes advising clients on property acquisitions across the United States and guiding projects through the environmental review process in New York.  Katie has negotiated settlements in contaminated site cleanups under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and helped clients address issues concerning the import and export of ivory and species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Endangered Species Act, and the Lacey Act.  In addition, while at Arnold & Porter LLP, Katie’s matters included representing a fertilizer manufacturer in a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act enforcement action, representing a rodenticide manufacturer in a cancellation action under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, and representing an oil company in an oil spill response and related litigation under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

Katie maintains an active pro bono practice focused on the international natural resources trade. In addition to representing environmental organizations that address these issues, Katie has submitted statements for the record in two congressional hearings regarding the Lacey Act, the United States’ oldest wildlife conservation law. She currently helps develop and present training workshops in Africa to help improve the implementation and enforcement of poaching and wildlife trafficking laws.

Prior to joining SPR in 2015, Katie worked in the Environmental and General Litigation practice groups at Arnold & Porter LLP.  During her five years at Arnold & Porter, Katie’s practice focused on complex product liability litigation, regulatory compliance, and environmental litigation.

Katie is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she served as a notes editor of the New York University Environmental Law Journal and was the Co-Chair of the Environmental Law Society.  She participated in the law school’s Environmental Law Clinic, in conjunction with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Neighborhood Institutions Clinic, in conjunction with the Urban Justice Center.  Katie earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Vassar College, graduating with general and departmental honors.  During college, she interned with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY, BRIEFINGS, AND SUBMISSIONS
  • Statement for the Record regarding two proposed Lacey Act amendments, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, February 27, 2014 (co-author Marcus A. Asner)
  • Lacey Act Overview, Congressional Briefing, Dec. 4, 2013 (with Marcus A. Asner)
  • Statement for the Record Regarding the Lacey Act and Purported “Over-Criminalization,” U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Over-Criminalization Task Force, Nov. 14, 2013 (with Marcus A. Asner)

“Environmental Law: Developments in the Law of SEQRA”

For: Syracuse Law Review

2010-2017

“Recent Pa. Fracking Charges May Set a New Trend,” co-author Jeremy Peterson

For: Environmental Law 360, Energy Law 360 and Pennsylvania Law 360

October 15, 2013

“The 2008 Lacey Act Amendments and the Fight Against Illegal Logging,” co-author Marcus A. Asner

For: Bloomberg BNA’s International Trade Reporter

July 11, 2013

“TSCA, FIFRA, and Perhaps EPCRA Likely to Play Featured Roles in the Piecemeal Development of Federal Fracking Regulation, 14 Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know,” co-author Shailesh R. Sahay

For: Committee Newsletter, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, American Bar Association

Feb. 2013

“The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Overseas Environmental Crimes: Analyzing the Intersection of Two Risk Areas”

For: Bloomberg BNA, with Marcus A. Asner and Samuel M. Witten

October 23, 2012

“With Gibson Settlement, ‘Due Care’ is Slightly More Clear,” co-authors Marcus A. Asner and Samuel M. Witten

For: Hardwood Floors

Oct./Nov. 2012

“Gibson Guitar, Forfeiture, and the Lacey Act Strike a Dissonant Chord,” co-authors Marcus A. Asner and Maxwell C. Preston

For: Bloomberg BNA Daily Environmental Report, Daily Report for Executives, White Collar Crime, Report, and International Environment Reporter

September 4, 2012

“Improving Community Character Analysis in the SEQRA Environmental Impact Review Process: A Cultural Landscape Approach to Defining the Elusive “Community Character”

For: 17 New York University Environmental Law Journal 1194

2009

New York Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to CEQR Technical Manual and Bedford Union Armory Redevelopment

In a decision dated July 11, 2018, Hon. Carmen Victoria St. George of the New York Supreme Court, New York County, dismissed in its entirety litigation challenging the legality of the City Environmental Quality Review (“CEQR”) Technical Manual and the environmental review of the Bedford Union Armory Redevelopment project (the “Project”).

NY Supreme Court Dismisses ULURP/SEQR Challenge to American Museum of Natural History’s Gilder Center Project

In a decision dated December 10, 2018, Hon. Lynn Kotler of the New York Supreme Court, New York County, dismissed in its entirety litigation challenging the legality of the American Museum of Natural ...

New York Moves Closer to Offshore Wind Energy Procurement

On July 12, 2018, the New York State Public Service Commission (“PSC”) issued an Order directing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”) to begin soliciting bids for approximately 800 MW of offshore wind capacity in the fourth quarter of 2018, taking the State closer to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ...

Recent Accolades: Who’s Who Legal Names SPR “Environment Firm of the Year” and Chambers & Partners Awards SPR Top Ranking for New York Environmental Law Firms

Who’s Who Legal awarded Sive, Paget & Riesel (“SPR”) the “Environment Firm of the Year Award” in recognition of the exceptional caliber of the firm’s work. SPR was selected based on the nominations made by clients and fellow professionals, as well as the number of SPR ...

New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan is Released  

Today, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan: Charting a Course to 2,400 Megawatts of Offshore Wind Energy.  On behalf of the State, the New York State Energy Research and ...

DEC Challenges FERC’s Decision to Undercut Its Water Quality Certification Denial for Millennium Pipeline Project

In an October 13, 2017 letter, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) challenged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) decision that, by failing to act, DEC had waived its authority to issue a Clean ...

Executive Order Begins the Formidable Process of Dismantling Federal Efforts to Address Climate Change

On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order, titled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” that is designed to roll back several of President Barack Obama’s efforts to address climate change.  While some of the Executive Order’s provisions are ...

Albany Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to State Permit for Pier 55 in Hudson River Park

In a decision dated January 20, 2017, Hon. Lisa M. Fisher of the New York Supreme Court, Albany County, dismissed in its entirety litigation challenging the legality of the permit that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) ...

SPR Solidifies Its Position at the Forefront of Efforts to Bring Offshore Wind Energy to New York State

In February 2019, SPR closed a deal in which port developer Atlantic Offshore Terminals LLC acquired the future epicenter of offshore wind development in New York State. The offshore wind energy industry is emerging rapidly in the northeastern United States, and a critical component of its success is the establishment of ...

Appellate Division Affirms Dismissal of Challenge to the American Museum of Natural History’s Gilder Center Project

In a decision dated April 18, 2019, the Appellate Division, First Department unanimously and emphatically affirmed a lower court ruling dismissing the lawsuit challenging the legality of the American Museum of Natural History’s Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. The Gilder ...

New York University School of Law, J.D., 2009

Vassar College, B.A., 2006

New York, 2009

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

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

American Bar Association, Member

Bar Association of the City of New York, Member

New York City Environmental Law and Leadership Institute, Graduate

New York League of Conservation Voters Emerging Leaders Steering Committee, Member

Oratorio Society of New York, Member

New York Botanical Garden, Member