Mark Chertok has been active in environmental and land use counseling, permitting, enforcement and litigation for more than thirty years. His experience spans a broad spectrum of substantive areas, including environmental impact statement (EIS) counseling and litigation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), wetlands and water quality permitting, particularly for waterfront projects, under the Clean Water Act and State counterparts,  major transportation projects, air quality and climate change issues under the Clean Air Act, hazardous substances remediation and litigation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), remediation under the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program, oil spill remediation under the New York State Navigation Law, compliance review of Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments, land use and zoning, coastal zone management and historic preservation. A testament to his wetlands experience, Mark served as an expert in freshwater wetland permitting in a condemnation trial in 2012.

Mark handles matters before numerous Federal, State and City agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of the Interior, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of State, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the New York City Department of City Planning. He has represented numerous government agencies, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York State Empire State Development, the New York State Thruway Authority, the New York State Department of Health, the New York City Industrial Development Agency, the New York City School Construction Authority, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. He has represented numerous municipalities with respect to development and SEQRA-related issues and has served as special environmental counsel to many school districts with regard to compliance with SEQRA for new schools or expansions. His clients have also included private industrial, commercial and financial entities and national environmental and civic organizations.

Mark has represented either the sponsoring or reviewing agencies, or private applicants, in major projects, including the Queens West Development Project, Columbia University’s expansion in northern Manhattan, the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance program, the Willet’s Point (Queens, NY) development, the Goethals Bridge Replacement project, the Gateway at Bronx Terminal Market, the IAC Headquarters building, the Gowanus Green redevelopment project (Brooklyn, NY), the New NY (Tappan Zee) Bridge, the J.F.K. Airport Light Rail System, the Newark Liberty International Airport Monorail Project, the Essex County Resource Recovery Facility (Newark, NJ), the Selkirk (NY) GE Cogeneration Project, the Town of Smithtown (NY) Landfill Expansion Project, the Niagara Resource Recovery Facility (Niagara Falls, NY), the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center Medical Waste Incinerator (New York City), the River Walk residential development (Detroit), the Prince’s Point development (Staten Island, NY), the Laurel Hill (Phelps Dodge) site (Queens, NY) and the Brooklyn Commons redevelopment.

Chambers USA, Band 1 Environmental Lawyer, 2007-2013
New York Metro Area Superlawyer, Environmental Law, 2006-2013
“Lawyer of the Year” in 2013, Best Lawyers for New York City environmental law
Best Lawyers for environmental law, environmental litigation and land use and zoning law
Who’s Who International 2012, Who’s Who Legal 2013
Brownfields Redevelopment

Georgetown Company

Location: New York, NY | Date: 2007

Change SPR represented the Georgetown Company, the developer of IAC Corporation's new corporate headquarters building -- the first building in New York designed by Frank Gehry -- which was built on a portion of the former Con Edison 18th Street Gas Works. The firm's representation on this project included negotiating an allocation of responsibility among all stake-holders for the environmental remediation of residual contamination from decades of manufactured gas production and assorted waterfront industrial uses. SPR negotiated a Voluntary Cleanup Agreement with the State of New York, and subsequently assisted Georgetown in becoming one of the first Volunteers to participate in and receive a Certificate of Completion of the then newly enacted Brownfield Cleanup Program. SPR also negotiated a transfer of risk with the contractor conducting the site cleanup, backed by environmental insurance.
Environmental Review
Permitting and Litigation for Government-Sponsored Developments

Chappaqua Central School District

Location: Chappaqua, NY | Date: 2003

SPR served as environmental counsel to the Chappaqua Central School District with respect to its construction of a new 750-student middle school, as well as additions and renovations to two existing District schools. SPR represented the District throughout the environmental review process, including retention of consultants, preparation of environmental documentation, including an EIS and SEQRA Findings, and presentations at public hearings. In addition, SPR assisted the District in obtaining approvals from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection required for construction within the New York City watershed. The Firm also successfully defended the District in litigation challenging its approval of the new middle school. The new school opened in October 2003.
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.
Brownfields Redevelopment

Phelps Dodge Brownfield Project

Location: Maspeth, NY | Date: 2014

SPR represents the purchaser of this one-time copper smelter property and listed Class-2 Inactive Hazardous Waste Site who is redeveloping its approximately 39-acres for commercial and light industrial use. Working closely with the prior owner, the developer and the regulators, SPR helped secure the Record of Decision and other regulatory approvals that have cleaned up this long-contaminated waterfront parcel and brought much needed development and jobs to this area after years of decline.

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.
Indian Law

Stockbridge-Munsee Community and Band of Mohican Indians of Wisconsin

Location: Shawano County, Wisconsin | Date: 2011

The firm represented the Stockbridge-Munsee Community and Band of Mohican Indians of Wisconsin in litigation against the U.S. Department of the Interior challenging the denial of an application to place land into trust for a casino. The government reversed its denial of the application.
Development And Land Use

River East Project

Location: New York, NY | Date: 2006

The firm represents the developer of the River East project, a 1.2-million-square-foot residential and commercial project in Long Island City. SPR helped to secure the necessary tidal wetlands permits, contaminated soil remediation plan and other regulatory approvals that authorize the construction of two planned 30-story glass towers, four 8-story buildings and a waterfront public park that local residents say will greatly enhance their community.
Environmental Impact Review/Permitting

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.

Brownfields Redevelopment

Lighthouse Landing

Location: Sleepy Hollow, NY | Date: 2007

SPR represents Roseland/Sleepy Hollow, LLC, as an affiliate of Roseland Properties, the developer of the former General Motors Assembly site in Sleepy Hollow. The proposed Lighthouse Landing development is a mixed-use project, including residential, commercial and open space uses on a 97-acre site former industrial property bordering the Hudson River. The Firm has advised Roseland with respect to its participation in the Brownfield Cleanup Program and its proposed investigation and remediation of this former industrial site. In addition to the Brownfield work SPR is also assisting with environmental permitting issues, especially those pertinent to shoreline development, as well as preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.

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

City Island Estates

Location: City Island, NY | Date: 2009

SPR represented the developer of a proposed townhouse development in City Island on the shores of the Long Island Sound. The firm represented the developer with regard to environmental permitting and hazardous materials issues.

Development And Land Use

Greater Jamaica Development Corporation

Location: Queens, NY | Date: 2010

Sive, Paget & Riesel has represented the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a private entity that acts to foster and facilitate development in Jamaica. The firm advised the Corporation in terms of environmental permitting and approvals necessary for its proposed redevelopment projects.

Development And Land Use

JFK Airtrain

Location: Queens, NY | Date: 2003

Sive, Paget & Riesel advised the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with regard to the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the construction of the JFK Airtrain, which runs from Jamaica Queens (where it connects with the LIRR and NYC Subway) to the main terminals at JFK airport. The EIS was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Airtrain was constructed.

Brownfields Redevelopment

Muss Development Corporation – SkyViewParc

Location: Queens, NY | Date: 2011

Sive, Paget & Riesel represents the Muss Development Corporation with respect to the development of SkyViewParc, a mixed-use development located on the former Flushing Industrial Park site. SPR assisted with all aspects of the client's application to the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program, including preparation of the initial application, revisions, submission of reports and all other aspects of the State-supervised cleanup of the property. SPR has also assisted the developer in seeking cost recovery from the former owner of the property responsible for the contamination.

Development And Land Use
Environmental Review
Permitting and Litigation for Government-Sponsored Developments

The Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge

Location: Westchester, NY | Date: 2014

Sive, Paget & Riesel represented the New York State Thruway Authority, which together with the Metro North Railroad, a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, undertook the Tappan Zee Bridge/I287 Corridor environmental review. This process addressed the possible replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge. The Firm advised the Project Sponsors with regard to the environmental review of the proposal pursuant to both NEPA and SEQRA, as well as to environmental permitting and related requirements.

Environmental Review
Permitting and Litigation for Private Commercial Developments

Redevelopment of Former Domino Sugar Factory

Location: Brooklyn, NY | Date: 2014

The firm represents The Refinery, LLC, the developer of the former Domino Sugar facility on the East River in Brooklyn, with regard to waterfront permitting. The proposed development involves construction of new buildings that will include up to 120,000 gross square feet (gsf) of retail/commercial space, up to 100,000 gsf of community facility use, and up to 2,400 residential units (2.64 million gsf). Thirty percent of the units will be offered as affordable housing. In addition, the project includes development of approximately 4.1 acres of public open space including an approximately 1-acre lawn at the center of the site and a waterfront esplanade along the East River.

Environmental Review
Permitting and Litigation for Government-Sponsored Developments

Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program

Location: Bayonne, NJ | Date: 2014

SPR represented the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (“Port Authority”) with regard to the environmental review and permitting of this project, which will raise the vertical clearance of the Bayonne Bridge over the Kill van Kull for larger container vessels. The environmental reviews were under NEPA, SEQRA and CEQR, as well as Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”). Permits from the United States Coast Guard, NYSDEC, and NYSDOT. The Firm also represented the Port Authority in the successful defense of federal litigation under the Administrative Procedures Act challenging the Environmental Assessment for the project.
Wetlands and Stormwater

Whole Foods Supermarket – Gowanus, Brooklyn

Location: Brooklyn, NY | Date: 2014

The firm helped complete federal and state tidal wetlands permitting and the State Environmental Quality Review Act natural resources and hazardous material review, and obtained United State Environmental Protection Agency sign-off and State Brownfield Cleanup Program Certificate of Completion for the new Whole Foods site on 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue.
Environmental Impact Review/Permitting

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.
Municipal Law

Long Island Power Authority – Southampton to Bridgehampton Transmission Line Project

Location: Bridgehampton, NY | Date: 2008

SPR is environmental counsel to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and represented LIPA in connection with the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the construction of a transmission line between the LIPA substations located in Southampton and Bridgehampton on the East End of Long Island. The project, which also included an expansion of the Bridgehampton substation, was controversial because of the proposal to install part of the line above ground on poles installed along the route of existing overhead distribution lines. SPR led the EIS project team and defended LIPA when its project approval was challenged in New York State Supreme Court. The matter was successfully resolved when LIPA and the Town of Southampton entered into an agreement on a funding mechanism to permit the entire installation of the line underground without burdening LIPA ratepayers as a whole with the expense for that additional work.
Municipal Law

Roosevelt Union Free School District

Location: Roosevelt, NY | Date: 2009

SPR served as environmental counsel to the Roosevelt Union Free School District with respect to its District-Wide Improvement Program, which is designed to relieve severe overcrowding, degraded physical conditions and inadequate and deficient equipment in the District's schools and to provide District students with equal educational opportunities. The Program includes the construction of three new elementary schools and a separate middle school, and the renovation and expansion of the existing junior-senior high school to a high school-only facility, as well as the introduction of a pre-kindergarten program into each of the elementary schools. SPR represented the District throughout the environmental review process for the Program, which included assistance in the retention of consultants, preparation of environmental documentation for the SEQRA process, including the preparation of an EIS and SEQRA Findings, and presentations at public hearings. The environmental review process culminated with the District's voters approving the Program through a bond referendum held in April 2004. A number of the proposed schools have been completed and the entire Program was completed in 2009.

“Environmental Impact Review in New York,” Contributing Author

For: Matthew Bender Elite Products


“Environmental Law: Developments in the Law of SEQRA”

For: Syracuse Law Review


“NEPA and Little NEPAs and Environmental Litigation”



“The National Environmental Policy Act”

For: Boot Camp Course on Environmental Law, ELI Boot Camp


Harvard Law School, J.D., 1970, Cum Laude

State University of New York at Buffalo, A.B., 1967, Magna Cum Laude

New York, 1971

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

Member, Board of directors of the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute