Telisport W. Putsavage


Telisport W. Putsavage has more than 30 years of experience in environmental law and regulation, with a major focus on pesticides. He has held significant public sector environmental positions, serving as an Assistant Counsel of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Maryland Department of the Environment. In addition, Mr. Putsavage previously was a partner at Keller & Heckman and Carter, Ledyard and Milburn, and Of Counsel to Sullivan & Worcester in their Washington, D.C. Offices.

Presently, Mr. Putsavage counsels pesticide producers, distributors, retailers and trade associations on federal and state pesticide regulatory and business matters including product registration and cancellation, federal and state enforcement, and data compensation. He has counseled clients on a broad scope of issues, including such matters as treated article exemptions, companion animal repellents, insect-repellent apparel, minimum risk pesticides exempt from Federal registration, Internet and social media pesticide claims and import/export labeling issues.

Mr Putsavage has become actively involved in issues related to cannabis, whether medical marijuana, recreational marijuana and hemp.  He has written and spoken on pesticide and broader environmental issues related to cannabis cultivation. 

In addition to his environmental work, Mr. Putsavage has both represented and been a participant in Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Through his client the American Horse Council, he represented the interests of horse racing before the Federal Gambling Impact Study Commission. He also served as Counsel to the New York Olympic Task Force for the XIII Lake Placid Winter Games. Upon graduating from law school he was a VISTA Volunteer staff attorney with the Food Law Project, a Legal Services Corporation law reform project in New York.

Significant Private Client Representation

  • Represented numerous clients, both data owners and parties citing data, in multi-million dollar negotiations and arbitrations addressing the compensation due for reliance upon pesticide data previously filed with EPA.
  • Represented clients in federal and state pesticide enforcement matters, including
    • negotiation of state consent order providing for a significantly reduced penalty of $1 million and establishing a precedential environmental benefit project to underwrite the collection and environmentally sound disposal of waste pesticides and
    • resolution without penalty of a threatened six figure enforcement matter with state agency over allegedly unauthorized claims appearing on website.
  • Designed and supervised audit of pesticide compliance for client holding in excess of 100 pesticide registrations.
  • Represented pesticide registrants and device manufacturers clients on import and export regulatory and enforcement matters
  • Represented a client in securing the first registration of insect-repellent fabric for use in commercially-available outdoor activity apparel.
  • Persuaded EPA that plant vitamin-hormone mixture that functions as a plant growth regulator is naturally occurring, thereby qualifying for exemption from pesticide registration.
  • Counseled clients producing various products qualifying for EPA classification as antimicrobial-treated articles.
  • Represented data compensation client in appeal to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service which overturned a decision of American Arbitration Association on the procedural provisions of an arbitration.
  • Obtained for an off-shore client the first U.S. generic registration of the herbicide paraquat, overcoming fierce resistance from the pioneer registrant, including discredited claims that its proprietary formulation presented less risk than the generic formulation.

 Significant Public Client Representation

  • For the Maryland Department of the Environment:
    • Assisted in drafting multi-state amicus brief supporting EPA in Whitman as Administrator of the EPA v. American Trucking Company v. EPA  531 U.S. 457 (2001) which upheld ambient air quality standards under the Clean Air Act.
    • Counseled the decision maker for In the Matter of the Fairfax County Water Authority, a Potomac River withdrawal permit application that was granted but ultimately lead to the decision in Virginia v. Maryland, 124 S. Ct. 598 (2003).
  • For the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:
    • Developed and advocated for legislative positions sponsored by the Governor: major amendments to Environmental Conservation Law Article 33 [Pesticides] Article 23 [Mineral Resources]; and the enactment of the New York Conservation Easements Law [Environmental Conservation Law Article 49 Title 3] and the establishment of the Olympic Regional Development Authority [Public Authorities Law Article 8]
    • developed strategy and supervised litigation resulting in precedent-setting decisions in New York Court of Appeals [CSMA v. Jorling, 85 NY 2d 382 1995] upholding state authority to regulate pesticide ingredients through legislative-type rulemaking and U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit [New York State Pesticide Coalition v. Jorling, 874 F.2d 115 1989] upholding state authority to require distribution of pesticide labels prior to commercial applications in occupied structures
    • Represented the Pesticide Management Program in twenty-five day, ten party aquatic permit adjudicatory hearing concerning a proposed herbicide application to Lake George

Recent Speaking Engagements 

  • Implementing the New York Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act: Environmental and Local Government Issues [Presentation to the New York State Bar Association Environment & Energy Section Fall Conference, October 23, 2021]
  • The Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act Approach to Environmental and Sustainability Issues [Presentation to the New York State Cannabis Expo & Conference, Albany NY October 17, 2021]
  • Environmental Issues Related to Cannabis Cultivation [Presentation to the New York State Bar Association Environment & Energy Section Fall Conference, October 22, 2018]
  • New York’s Industrial Hemp Program [Moderated Panel for New York State Bar Association Cannabis Law Committee Continuing Education Event, May 22, 2018]
  • Pesticide Issues Related to Cannabis Cultivation [Presentation to the New York State Bar Association Environment & Energy Section Annual Meeting, January 27, 2017]

Recent Publications 

  • New York Legalization of Adult-Use Cannabis Presents Environmental Challenges and Opportunities [Environmental Law in New York, November 2021]
  • Local Government Role in New York Adult Use Cannabis [New York Planning Federation Planning News, Summer 2021]
  • Pot Industry Bugged By Lack of Pesticide Guidance [The New York Environmental Lawyer; Fall 2017] 
  • Legal Pot Industry Bugged By Lack of Pesticide Guidance [LAW 360 February 21, 2017] 

Bar & Court Admissions

  • New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • J.D., Boston University School of Law
  • B.A., Muhlenberg College

Awards & Honors

  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers [Sullivan & Worcester Environment and Natural Resources Practice Group 2013]

Professional Activities

  • New York State Bar Association
    • Environment and Energy Section Executive Committee Member; Co-Chair, Pesticides Committee.
    • Cannabis Law Section Executive Committee Member; Chair, Environment Committee.
  • American Bar Association
    • Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section Member; member Pesticides, Toxics and Right to Know Committee.