Key player in NY fracking review heading to private sector

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s top lawyer is on his way out after about two years on the job.

Steven Russo, DEC deputy commissioner and general counsel, is leaving for a job in the private sector, agency spokeswoman Emily DeSantis confirmed Tuesday. Russo will head to Greenberg Traurig, a law firm with offices across the globe, including Albany, White Plains and New York City.

He will “lead the firm’s New York environmental practice” and starts later this month, according to DeSantis.

Russo has played a key role in the Cuomo administration’s review of hydrofracking, often serving as support at legislative hearings. He was criticized by environmental and anti-fracking groups last year when it was found he had emailed a draft document to a gas-industry attorney before they were released to the public.

Previously, Russo had worked for Sive, Paget & Riesel, a New York City-based environmental law firm.

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  1. Hugh Kimball on

    The DEC followed a very secretive, backwards, and ultimately failed process in try to get the regulations finalized before the health study was completed and before the current draft of the SGEIS was released for public review. One might wonder what hand Mr.Russo might have had in this and whether his departure may have had something to do with this debacle. People on both sides of the fracking debate realize how badly the process was run starting at least as far back as last summer.

    Is Russo’s departure because he plans on capitalizing on what he has been part of or is he DEC’s fall guy for the failed process?

  2. The flawed process that has been going on in Albany with regard to the SGEIS and now the “health study” was a product of the insiders, and Mr. Russo was an insider. I don’t know what his departure means but at first look one has to wonder that this is the beginning of straightening out this mess.