Nelson D. Johnson

Nelson D. Johnson

Senior Counsel

Nelson Johnson's practice includes litigation, administrative hearings, regulatory counseling, land use, and transactional matters, with special focus on complex questions about the regulation of hazardous waste and the use of scientific information in law. 

Prior to his current position, Mr. Johnson worked as both in-house and outside counsel representing major manufacturers of industrial products and specialty chemicals in environmental, Food and Drug Administration, and Drug Enforcement Administration matters. He also served as a law clerk to Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise in the District of New Jersey.

Before studying law, Mr. Johnson obtained his PhD and Bachelor of Science with honors in molecular biology from the California Institute of Technology. He also worked as a post-doctoral associate at Stanford University, and as a research assistant professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


  • National Grid as environmental counsel in repowering and siting hearings for its Long Island electric generating stations under Article 10 of the New York State Public Service Law, and as counsel in Clean Water Act permit proceedings for its Long Island generating stations. 
  • Environmental counsel for construction of the new Kosciuszko Bridge on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the principal north-south thoroughfare along western Long Island.
  • Environmental counsel for a new 600-home community in New York state, including land use litigation and environmental impact proceedings.
  • Silverstein Properties as environmental counsel for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in New York.


Revisiting RCRA Endangerment Claims: A New Way to Regulate Point Source Discharges (pdf)
Environmental Law In New York, Volume 29, No. 01
RCRA Endangerment Claims: A New Way to Regulate Point Resource Discharges? (pdf)
Environmental Law in New York, Volume 28, No. 05
RCRA Citizen Suits and the Clean Water Act
Environmental Law In New York, Volume 27, No. 3


New York Super Lawyers
Environmental, Environmental Litigation (2007, 2014-2017, 2019)
The Legal 500 US
Litigation: Environment (2008-2009, 2011-2012)
PLC Which lawyer? Yearbook
Life Environment: Regulatory/Planning (2009, 2012)


  • JD, Columbia Law School, 1992
  • PhD, California Institute of Technology, 1981,

    with honors

  • BS, California Institute of Technology, 1974, with honors
  • New York
  • US District Court, District of New Jersey, The Honorable Dickinson R. Debevoise

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