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Kathy Robb’s practice focuses on environmental litigation before federal district and appellate courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court. She also counsels on environmental issues in complex transactions from the bid process through closing, advising clients on corporate structuring to best manage environmental risk.  Kathy represents water districts, developers, investors, lenders, energy companies, industrial and paper companies, and chemical manufacturers on water-related disputes, endangered species issues, environmental impact reviews, river sites with contaminated sediments, solid and hazardous waste issues, and sites with contaminated groundwater. Chambers says that Kathy “has an excellent reputation for her water law [experience]’ and “excels in ‘taking the lead—she’s great at setting the agenda, and pulling everybody together.”

Kathy has represented companies in many of the large Superfund sites across the United States, in CERCLA investigations, cleanups, and litigation, including the San Gabriel Valley; Kalamazoo River, where she served as liaison to the lead agency for the PRP group; and Shore Realty, where she chaired the PRP trial management committee. She has represented water districts in litigation about the Colorado River in the All-American Canal lining and Glen Canyon Dam cases; about the Rio Grande in the silvery minnow case; and about the Guadalupe and San Antonio Rivers in the whooping crane case. Those cases involved claims under NEPA, the Clean Water Act, the ESA, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Grand Canyon Protection Act, among other statutes and common law claims. Kathy developed the structure for, and filed with FERC, the market design and rules for a resource-adequacy market for an independent system operator. She also advised energy companies on the CWA’s implications when permitting cooling water intake structures, and litigated the licensing of a nuclear power plant. She routinely advises buyers, sellers, and lenders on environmental risk in complex business transactions that include mergers and acquisitions, loans, investments, project finance, leveraged-leases, LBOs, and purchases and sales of properties and facilities, including issues arising in bankruptcy.

Kathy serves as an adjunct professor at the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University; is vice-chair of the Waterfront Alliance in New York City; is the president of the Leadership Council of the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC; and is elected to the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar. She was inducted into the American College of Environmental Lawyers in 2016.

Chambers USA, Leader in Environmental Law, 2008-2016
Super Lawyers, Environmental Law, 2008-2016
International Who’s Who Legal, Leading Lawyer, Environmental Law
Who’s Who Legal, Environmental Law
Best Lawyers in America
American Bar Association, Fellow, elected 1997
American College of Environmental Lawyers, inducted 2016

“Clean Water Act Issues and Environmental Impact Review”

For: PLI’s Environmental Regulation, New York, NY

June 2016

Sixth Circuit rules in two cases that discharges to groundwater from coal ash ponds do not require a Clean Water Act Permit

The Sixth Circuit’s recent decisions in Kentucky Waterways Alliance et al v. Kentucky Utilities Co., (“Kentucky Utilities”) No. 18-5115 (6th Cir. Sept. 24, 2018), and Tennessee Clean Water Network v. Tennessee Valley Authority (“TVA”) No. 17-6155 (6th Cir. Sept. 24, 2018), have further widened an existing circuit split regarding ...

Are Indirect Discharges from Groundwater to “Waters of the United States” Regulated Under the Clean Water Act? Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui

WOTUS Rule Litigation Abounds — New York State and Others Sue EPA and Army Corps over Delayed Implementation of Obama-Era WOTUS Rule

On February 6, 2018, New York State filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (together, “the agencies”) for the suspension of a 2015 regulation seeking to clarify the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), dubbed ...

EPA and the Corps Launch Effort to Rescind and Replace the 2015 “Clean Water Rule”

Also by: Zachary Berliner On June 27, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) released a joint proposal to rescind and ultimately replace the Obama administration’...

Trump Executive Order Directs EPA and the Corps to Reconsider the 2015 “Clean Water Rule”

On February 28, 2017, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order (the “Order”) directing the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) to begin the process of “revising or revoking” the Obama administration’s 2015 “ Read More

EPA Proposes Updates to Clean Water Act’s Water Quality Certification Requirements

On August 8, 2019, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published a set of proposed amendments (the “Proposed Rule”) to the regulations governing the issuance of Water Quality Certifications by states pursuant to Section 401 (“Section 401 Water Quality Certification”) of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). Under the Section 401 Water Quality Certification process, ...

Clean Water Act Update: EPA Repeals WOTUS Rule in Favor of Pre-2015 Rule

On September 12, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) (together, the “Agencies”)  announced a final rule (the “Repeal Rule”) rescinding the 2015 Clean Water Rule (the “2015 Rule”) that defined “waters of the United States” (“WOTUS”) under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). This Repeal ...

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Maui Injection Wells Case

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA or Act) requires a permit for “any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source.” 33 U.S.C. 1362 (12) (A). On November 6, 2019, the US Supreme Court (Supreme Court) heard oral argument in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, ...

University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.

University of Texas at Austin, Plan II Honors Program

New York


U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits

Numerous U.S. District Courts

Hon. Glen M. Williams, U.S. District Court, W.D. Virginia

Adjunct Professor, Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, “International Environmental Law and Human Rights”, 2010-2017

Environmental Law Institute, Washington D.C.: 2006-2013, Board member, Executive Committee, CEO Search Committee; 2013-15, Vice-President, Leadership Council; 2016-present, President, Leadership Council

New York City Bar: Chair, Environmental Law Committee, June 2009-June 2012; Executive Committee, elected 2012-present

Bloomberg BNA’s Environmental Due Diligence Guide Advisory Board member from founding to present

Bloomberg BNA’s Water Law Advisory Board member from founding to present

Waterfront Alliance, New York City, Board member, 2010- present, and Vice-chair, 2015 to present

Water Resources Action Project (WRAP), Board member 2013 to present

Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future (WNSF), co-founder, 2001, and Board chair, 2006-present

New York State Bar Association House of Delegates, elected 2012-2016

Member of the Legal Advisory Committee for Mayor Bloomberg’s “PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York”, 2008-2009