NYSDEC Proposes Amendments to SEQR

New York's State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) requirements ensure that consideration is given to the environmental factors in the existing planning, review and decision making processes in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).  SEQR is a requirement for each New York State governmental agency; however, the NYSDEC is charged with issuing regulations regarding the SEQR process.

In an attempt to streamline the SEQR process, NYSDEC is proposing modifications to the SEQR regulations.  The proposed revisions to Title 6 New York Conservation Chapter (NYCRR) Part 617 are intended to:

  • Improve the scoping process and consistency of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) required by the SEQR process, and
  • Reduce the review requirements for certain projects that are more likely to require the preparation of an EIS than other projects (i.e. Type I actions), and expand the list of actions which do not require a detailed EIS be conducted (i.e. Type II actions).

Several minor changes to the requirements for project scoping and public participation aim to focus scoping activities on relevant factors for a given action.  From a practical standpoint, the changes also resulted in lower thresholds for full EIS preparation for residential developments and incorporation by reference of Federal National Park Service regulations.  In addition to including additional residential and commercial development allowances encouraging brownfield redevelopment in the list of Type II actions, the change also incorporates exceptions for full EIS preparation related to green infrastructure and installation of small solar arrays.

More information can be found on NYSDEC's website announcing the proposed.  The NYSDEC is accepting comments regarding the amendments until May 19, 2017 and a public hearing is scheduled in Albany, New York on March 31, 2017.

Trinity Consultants, Inc. recently opened an office in Albany, New York and is prepared to assist your team with evaluating the potential impact of this proposed guidance and supporting your submittal of comments to NYSDEC.  Contact Brian Noel, Trinity's Albany Office Manager.