ELI Primary Menu

Skip to main content

David Sive

Board dates

1970 - 1977
1977 - 1980
1981 - 1983
1986 - 1989
1990 - 1992

David quickly became an authority in the field of environmental law with myriad precedent-setting cases. He was one of the first lawyers to bring litigation effectuating the “forever wild” provisions of the New York State Constitution, and litigated a number of cases protecting the environment in his beloved Adirondack and Catskill Mountains.

In the 1960s, David played a leading role in the administrative and judicial proceedings that prevented the construction of a power plant on Storm King Mountain along the Hudson River, and helped to establish aesthetics as a recognized environmental value. He prevented the construction of the proposed Hudson River Expressway (a precursor of the ill-fated Westway Project). He challenged up to the U.S. Supreme Court the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s testing of atomic weapons off Alaska’s Amchitka Island, and litigated the principal case establishing that the military is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act. In a landmark case decided by the New York Court of Appeals, David established that the preservation of wilderness areas for the benefit of the public serves charitable, educational, and moral purposes and entitles nature preserves to the tax-exempt status that is essential to their survival. David was previously a member of the adjunct faculty of Columbia and Pace Law Schools and the founder of several continuing legal education courses for the Environmental Law Institute and the American Law Institute-American Bar Association. David’s lectures and written scholarship, including an environmental column in the National Law Journal and articles in numerous law reviews, further helped to shape the field of environmental law.

David also played a critical role in the creation of the Environmental Law Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other prominent national environmental organizations, as well as scores of regional and local entities.