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
Representative Experience
  • Represented defendant former owner of contaminated lithium facility with low-level radioactive wastes in Pennsylvania against suit in federal district court alleging contribution for clean-up costs under a purchase agreement and common law theories
  • Represented intervenor-defendant water districts in federal district court in a two-week bench trial and on appeal to the federal circuit court, prevailing on theory that defendants must show proximate cause to establish a “take” under the ESA when alleging that sale of water under an approved, state-regulated water rights program had caused “take” of endangered whooping crane during a drought
  • Successfully argued in federal district court, affirmed by the court of appeals, that certain defendants lacked standing to challenge the lining of the All-American Canal
  • Advised developer on wetlands and ESA issues on 6,000-acre development in Florida involving the Florida panther
  • Filed amici brief in S.D. Warren v. Maine BEP before the U. S. Supreme Court on the meaning of an “addition” of pollution under the CWA
  • Filed amici brief in Nat’l Ass’n of Homebuilders v. Defenders of Wildlife on state and federal roles under the CWA
  • Advised real estate developer on wetlands permitting issues on redevelopment of the Meadowlands in New Jersey
  • Represented individual clients at NPL-listed Superfund site in Michigan involving 100 miles of river and an estimated $600 million cleanup of PCB-contaminated sediment, on regulatory issues and in litigation
  • Represented individual clients at 250 square mile contaminated groundwater, NPL-listed Superfund site in California on contaminated groundwater issues
  • 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
Recent Presentations
  • Arizona Water Law Conference, “Water Transfer Rule and Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule Litigation”, Phoenix, AZ, August 2017
  • PLI’s Environmental Regulation 2017, “Hot Topics in Environmental Law”, New York, NY, June 2017
  • LawLine Live Webinar, “Lead in Drinking Water”, April 2017
  • ELI Eastern Boot Camp on Environmental Law, “The Clean Water Act”, Washington, DC, November 2016
  • PLI’s Environmental Regulation 2016, “Clean Water Act Issues and Environmental Impact Review”, New York, NY, June 2016
  • National Water Law Forum, “CWA Issues for Water Users and Providers: Effect of TMDLs on Water Supply, Water Quality Trading, WOTUS Final Rule”, Portland, OR, May 2016
  • ELI, “CWA: TMDLs and Trading Issues/Wetlands Mitigation Banking”, Washington, DC, March 2016
  • LawLine Live Webinar, “Legal Issues Related to Water Supply Shortages”, February 2016
  • ALI-CLE Advanced Environmental Law Course, “Latest Developments on Water Resources, Quality, and Wetlands”, Washington, DC, February 2016
  • New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting, “ Waters of the United States Rules Challenges”, New York, NY, January 2016
  • ABA Live Webinar: “Joint Liability at CERCLA Mega-Sites: Technical and Legal Strategies for Addressing the New Paradigm”, December 2015
  • CLE’s 21st Annual Conference on Western Water Law, “EPA Proposed Rule on Waters of the United States”, San Diego, CA, February 2015
  • American Law Institute’s Advanced Environmental Law Course, “Texas v. New Mexico and Florida v. Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court: Latest Developments in Water Resources”, Washington, DC, February 2015
  • American Bar Association 31st Annual Water Law Conference, Program Chair of Conference, “Water for the Future: Coping with Scarcity”, Las Vegas, NV, June 2013
Recent Publications
  • “Cooperative Federalism on Water Issues”, Q & A interview, WaterWire, February 17, 2017
  • “Navigating Demands on Water”, The Environmental Forum, September/October 2016
  • “The 2015 ‘Waters of the United States Rule’ Under the Clean Water Act”, Environmental Law in New York, May 2016
  • “Cleaner Waters—but a Murky, Uncertain Future”, The Environmental Forum, Sept./Oct. 2014
  • “Water Wars: Disputes Run Deep in Recent and Pending Litigation”, New York Law Journal, May 5, 2014
  • “9th Circuit’s Take on a Recent Trend of Enviro Groups” (co-author), Law360, December 10, 2012
  • “Collaboration, Cost-Effectiveness and Innovation”, The Environmental Forum, September/October 2011
  • “The Endangered Species Act, Take, and Water: The Aransas Project v. Shaw, et al., The Water Reporter, March 15, 2011
  • “Climate Change Adaptation: Fostering Progress Through Law and Regulation” (co-author), New York University Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 18, November 1, 2010
  • Hon. Glen M. Williams, U.S. District Court, W.D. Virginia