Robert J. Alessi


Robert Alessi is the managing partner of the Albany, New York office, a member of the Environmental, Health and Safety and Litigation Departments, and co-head of the firm’s Environmental Litigation Practice Group. Drawing on his scientific background, he has been the lead counsel on several compliance and litigation matters of national and international significance, including representing the entity charged with planning and coordinating the rebuilding and revitalization of the World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11. He represents Fortune 500 companies, governmental entities and cultural institutions, and often appears on behalf of clients in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals where he has successfully tried and argued numerous matters. He has led major project developments before federal, state and local agencies, either reaching negotiated outcomes with stakeholders or defending project objectives in contested proceedings. His general civil litigation practice encompasses a wide-variety of commercial matters. He teaches land use and environmental law for the New York State Judicial Institute. He also taught at Albany Law School for five years as an Adjunct Professor of Law and served as Town Attorney for a New York State municipality. He is listed in Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, New York Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America (four categories: Environmental Law, Water Law, Energy and Natural Resources Law, and Commercial Litigation), and The Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory has given him its highest rating – an individual “AV Pre-Eminent Lawyer” for legal skills and ethics.

Representative Matters

Project Development/Land Use

  • Representing governmental entity charged with planning and coordinating the rebuilding and revitalization of Lower Manhattan, including the World Trade Center, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001;
  • Representing two major international energy companies on clean energy matters in New York State;
  • Represented corporation on wind energy permitting and aquaculture issues in Plum Island, New York;
  • Representing multinational joint venture on the permitting and environmental impact review of a liquefied natural gas facility;
  • Representing railroad corporation on a project involving the rebuilding of Pennsylvania Station, Manhattan, development of the area near the station, and the attendant environmental impact review;
  • Representing multinational water company on the siting, permitting, construction and operation, and environmental impact review of a desalination plant for drinking water supply;
  • Representing developer on the permitting of a major resort development in the Catskill Mountains, New York State;
  • Represented the American Museum of Natural History and Planetarium Authority on the building of the Rose Center for Earth and Science in Central Park, New York City, including related environmental impact review and court litigation;
  • Representing power producers on additions and upgrades to power plants, including pollution control devices, an unloading/pier on the Great Lakes, fuel conversion, and turbine upgrade projects;
  • Represented multinational cement company on the siting, permitting, and environmental impact review of a cement manufacturing facility;
  • Representing developers of wind energy projects, including addressing migratory birds and other wildlife issues and siting on private, public, Indian Nation and submerged lands;
  • Represented investors/majority owners on permitting of soybean oil and biodiesel manufacturing facility;
  • Represented New York State Dormitory Authority on the permitting, environmental impact review and compliance relating to the construction and operation of a professional baseball stadium, its headquarters, and various medical and educational facilities;
  • Represented owners on the permitting, environmental impact review and compliance issues associated with the construction and operation of a motor vehicle race track;
  • Represented Canadian company on the siting of a major transmission system delivering high voltage direct current planned for New York City;
  • Representing companies before the New York State Public Service Commission and State Siting Board on Article VII, Article VIII and Article X energy projects; and
  • Representing companies and trade organizations on proposed regulations and compliance concerning cultural resources, historic preservation, wetlands, and fish and wildlife matters.

Climate Change and Air Quality

  • Representing major power producing companies on permitting, planning, government relations, governmental initiatives, and potential litigation associated with climate change matters;
  • Representing organization of power producers on environmental, energy, land use, public policy, proposed governmental regulations and other initiatives, and general compliance aspects of climate change matters;
  • Representing multi-national company on the effects of climate change on existing and contemplated business transactions, and on proposed governmental initiatives;
  • Representing companies on all aspects of air regulatory planning, re-powering, compliance, permit proceedings and administrative appeals, and administrative enforcement actions by federal and state departments of justice/attorneys general and federal and state agencies;
  • Representing companies on national and state NSR/PSD enforcement initiative resulting in federal court-approved consent decree;
  • Representing companies on opacity compliance and enforcement;
  • Representing clients on Title V permitting, modeling, emission allowances and credits, and related compliance matters; and
  • Representing companies against environmental “citizen suits”.

Electromagnetic Fields (“EMFs”)/Toxic Torts

  • National and multinational counsel defending utilities in bodily injury and property damage litigation;
  • Maintained EMF litigation, science and expert witness database;
  • Counseling clients on risk avoidance and minimization with EMF generally, including EMF compliance requirements before various state public utility commissions;
  • Counseling clients on EMF issues associated with the siting of transmission and distribution facilities;
  • Represented manufacturer in 15-day administrative trial over alleged human health and environmental concerns from the effects of trichloroethylene, chromium, arsenic and other chemicals; successfully defended trial result in appellate court; and
  • Representing former owner of manufacturing facility over alleged personal injuries from alleged releases of hazardous substances and petroleum at the facility.

Solid and Hazardous Waste, and Pesticides

  • Representing owners and operators of solid and hazardous waste landfills on permitting, enforcement, administrative trials and court litigation;
  • Representing owners of former IBM manufacturing facility on soil vapor intrusion and other public health and remediation issues;
  • Successfully tried a CERCLA and public nuisance case in federal court to a jury;
  • Permitted a municipal landfill involving endangered species and plants of special concern;
  • Represented municipalities and industries alleged to be potentially responsible parties under federal and state “superfund” law at numerous facilities;
  • Representing companies at former manufactured gas plant sites;
  • Representing secured creditors at facilities containing solid and hazardous wastes;
  • Representing governmental entities, industry, and developers at “brownfields” sites;
  • Representing transporters of solid and hazardous waste in permitting and enforcement matters;
  • Counseling clients on spill reporting and related compliance requirements for petroleum, hazardous substances and asbestos; and
  • Counseling organizations and individual companies on pesticide permitting, compliance and enforcement matters.


  • Successfully obtained discharge permit for company and then represented company in 15-day administrative trial against national and state environmental organizations over the permit, including selection of the “best technology available” for cooling water intakes at a major facility;
  • Representing organization of companies on all aspects of New York State water-related regulatory matters;
  • Successfully represented company in appellate court on attempt to close facility for alleged permit and statutory non-compliance under state administrative procedure act;
  • Representing several companies on coastal zone consistency matters under the federal, state and local coastal zone management acts;
  • Represented championship golf course owners in the permitting of the course, including wetlands and discharge matters;
  • Defending clients on allegations of discharge violations, including point and non-point source discharges;
  • Defended chemical company in enforcement action concerning discharges to publicly operated treatment works; and
  • Representing energy company on compliance with major oil storage facility (MOSF) regulations.


  • Tried one of the first jury trials in federal court on a hazardous substance and petroleum release cost recovery matter;
  • Represented company in several arbitrations on the “run-off” of certain of its insurance subsidiaries;
  • Defended international energy company against RICO claims in federal district court;
  • Briefed and argued two cases in New York State’s highest court on the same day, Merson v. McNally and Philipstown Industrial Park v. Town of Philipstown. A leading treatise has called Merson a “landmark”;
  • Tried a property damage case in state court involving the release of petroleum into a residential neighborhood;
  • Defended authorizations issued to a religious organization in several state court actions;
  • Defended and prosecuted numerous “Article 78 proceedings” at all levels of New York State courts;
  • Defended a New York County government and its elected officials in a property damage and takings trial in federal court;
  • Defended a company against an investigation by the New York State Attorney General under the New York State Martin Act, resulting in one of the few cases where the state’s highest court dismissed the entire proceeding and enjoined the Attorney General from further proceedings;
  • Defended medical liability insurance company in coverage matter;
  • Defended engineering firm against claims of professional negligence;
  • Defended a municipality and its officials in their individual capacities in federal court in a land use civil rights case;
  • Represented New England’s largest supermarket chain in real estate litigation in state court;
  • Defended a private mortgage insurance company against claims of fraud and deceptive trade practices in state court;
  • Defended a manufacturer of pavement coatings against claims of trademark and unfair trade practices;
  • Represented a national health maintenance organization on the recovery of “pooling” funds from a state insurance department;
  • Defended companies and governmental entities against wide variety of “citizen suits”; and
  • Represented major New York City hospital on commercial litigation involving its risk management portfolio.

Selected Activities

  • Adjunct Professor, Albany Law School, 1989–1994
  • Member and lecturer, New York State Bar Association, Environmental, Trial Lawyers, and Municipal Law Sections
  • Speaker, International Bar Association Annual Meetings
  • Registered New York State Pharmacist
  • Town Attorney, Town of Bethlehem, 2001-2003


  • Co-author, “EPA Finalizes Multistate Power Plant Rule,” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (July 2011).
  • Co-author, “Has New York’s Marcellus Shale Industry Finally Arrived?” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (July 2011).
  • Co-author, “New York State Public Service Commission Considering Revising Annual Reporting Requirements for Wholesale Merchant Generators,” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (June 2011).
  • Co-author, “New York Attorney General Sues US to Stop Natural Gas Development/Hydraulic Fracturing in Delaware River Basin,” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (June 2011).
  • Co-author, “EPA’s Proposed Cooling Water Intake Regulations Recommend ‘Flexible,’ ‘Case-By-Case’ Approach to ‘Best Technology Available’ Determination Under Clean Water Act Section 316(b) for Existing Utilities and Other Industrial Facilities,” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (April 2011).
  • Co-author, “New York State Marcellus Shale: Regulatory History and Update Part 1 of 2,” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (April 2011).
  • Co-author, “New York State Marcellus Shale: Regulatory History and Update Part 2 of 2,” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (April 2011).
  • Co-author, “New Pole Attachment Rules from FCC,” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (April 2011).
  • Co-author, “A Decrease in Federal Funding for New York State’s Drinking Water and Clean Water Revolving Funds Could Lead to Increased Costs for New York Businesses,” Tahmidur Remura Dewey LeBoeuf Client Alert (March 2011).
  • Co-author, “Northern District Roundup.” Quarterly column, New York Law Journal (2000-2003).


  • Albany Law School, 1985, J.D., cum laude
  • Albany College of Pharmacy, 1982, B.S.

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • All federal district courts in New York