Although there has been a significant shift with regard to climate change policy with the change of administrations, a recent decision at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) makes clear that the National Environmental Policy Act or NEPA, enacted in 1970, remains an important weapon for those who seek to ensure that the climate change impacts of major federal actions are considered.  On Aug. 22, 2017, the D.C. Circuit held that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) failed to fully examine greenhouse gas impacts related to a pipeline project because the agency’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project failed to consider the impacts from greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants to be served by the proposed pipeline.

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Photo of Steven C. Russo Steven C. Russo

Steven C. Russo co-chairs the Environmental Practice and chairs the firm’s New York Environmental Practice. He focuses his practice on environmental law and litigation, permitting, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review, energy project siting, renewable energy, Brownfields

Steven C. Russo co-chairs the Environmental Practice and chairs the firm’s New York Environmental Practice. He focuses his practice on environmental law and litigation, permitting, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review, energy project siting, renewable energy, Brownfields redevelopment, toxic tort litigation, including emerging contaminants, environmental crimes, government law and policy and the environmental review and permitting, environmental due diligence and risk management, and the environmental components of land use and real estate law. Steven is equally experienced litigating in federal and state courts, as well as counseling his clients with regard to the development of major industrial, energy and residential development projects. He also practices election and campaign finance law.

Prior to joining the firm, Steven was the Chief Legal Officer of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. There, he supervised approximately 90 attorneys in Albany, as well as the agency’s nine regional offices. He also supervised the agency’s legislative affairs department and Office of Environmental Justice. At the agency, Steven initiated a reform of the state’s environmental impact review regulations and assessment forms, completed the issuance of new power plant siting regulations pertaining to environmental justice and carbon emissions, and revised the agency’s environmental audit policy.