Alan J. Knauf, Partner
Alan J. Knauf concentrates his law practice in environmental, municipal, land use and real estate law, and civil litigation and appeals. He represents businesses, developers, municipalities, landowners and citizens on issues including hazardous waste and petroleum spill cleanup, brownfield development, environmental impact review, water pollution and wetlands, zoning and planning, project siting, alternative energy, municipal law, and commercial real estate.
Awards and Recognition
Mr. Knauf is designated by Best Lawyers in America® as the Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year” for 2020 in Rochester, NY (his fifth “Lawyer of the Year” designation). Mr. Knauf is listed in Best Lawyers in America® for Environmental Law, Environmental Litigation, Land Use and Zoning Law, and Land Use and Zoning Litigation. He is also listed with Super Lawyers in the areas of Environmental Law, Environmental Litigation, Land Use/Zoning Law and Real Estate Law. Mr. Knauf was also recognized as a Leader in Law by the Daily Record.
Mr. Knauf has been counsel on over 200 reported decisions. Some of the notable precedents he helped establish include:
Casino Free Tyre v. Town Bd. of Town of Tyre, 140 A.D.3d 1711, 31 N.Y.S.3d 906 (4th Dep’t 2016), upholding a Negative Declaration made under SEQRA for the Lago Casino, a Type I action.
One Flint St., LLC v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 112 A.D.3d 1353, 1354, 977 N.Y.S.2d 531, 532 (4th Dep’t 2013), granting summary judgment finding Exxon Mobil liable for remediation of a former refinery.
Preserve Scenic Perinton Alliance, Inc. v. Porter, 32 Misc.3d 1216(A), 934 N.Y.S.2d 36 (Sup. Ct. Monroe Co. 2010), annulling approval by NYSDEC for the vertical expansion of the Waste Management High Acres Landfill.
Lighthouse Pointe Property Associates LLC v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 14 N.Y.3d 161, 897 N.Y.S.2d 693 (2010), where the Court of Appeals overruled NYSDEC's interpretation of the definition of "brownfield site," allowing contaminated sites to enter the Brownfield Cleanup Program, and opening up the program to voluntary remediation of sites across the state.
Norse Energy Corp. USA v. Town of Dryden, 108 A.D.3d 25, 964 N.Y.S.2d 714 (3d Dep't 2013), aff’d 23 N.Y.3d 728, 992 N.Y.S.2d 710 (2010) where he represented Dryden Resources Awareness Coalition, and the Third Department upheld local zoning legislation banning hydrofracking.
Concerned Area Residents of the Environment v. Southview Farm, 34 F.3d 114 (2d Cir. 1994), cert den'd 514 U.S. 1082, 115 S.Ct. 1793 (1995), establishing that concentrated animal feeding operations required permits for manure discharges under the Clean Water Act, resulting in widespread implementation of comprehensive nutrient management plans at farms across America, and reduced water pollution.
Snyder v. Newcomb, 194 A.D.2d 53, 603 N.Y.S.2d 1010 (4th Dep't 1993), which established a private right of action to bring a direct action against the insurer of a petroleum discharger under the New York Oil Spill Act.
Mr. Knauf is a former Chair of the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, is currently Co-Chair of the Committee on Land Use and Environment of the Real Property Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, and is a member of the Section on Environment, Energy and Resources of the American Bar Association. He was founding Chairperson of the Environmental Law Committee of the Monroe County Bar Association. He has also served as Chairman of the Real Estate Council of the Monroe County Bar Association, and Chairman of the Center for Environmental Information, Inc. Mr. Knauf has taught Environmental Law at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester, and is a frequent lecturer at continuing education programs.
Mr. Knauf received a B.S.C.E. in Environmental Engineering from M.I.T. and a J.D. from the University of Michigan, where he was the President of the Law School Student Senate. He is admitted to the bars of New York, Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court, and various other federal courts.