Purpose of SEQR: A NYS requirement in which a government agency (Town/Village Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeal, etc) considers the possible environmental impacts of an action that may affect the environment.
The review board must determine whether the proposed action is subject to SEQRA and must classify the action as either Type I, Type II or Unlisted. Unlisted actions are those that are neither Type I nor Type II. Most actions are Unlisted.
~A NYS statute that became law 8/1/1975.
~SEQR information is found in Article 8 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law.
~SEQR regulations provide a guideline for local officials to ensure compliance with SEQR.
~Regulations are found in Part 617 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations.
UPDATED SEQRA REGULATIONS BECAME EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2019:
*NYS DEC adopted revised regulations on 6/27/18--the first comprehensive revision since 1995.
Revised regulations changed:
→how certain projects and actions will be classified under SEQRA
→made scoping of environmental impact statements (EIS) mandatory in most cases
→added procedures for preparing EISs
CLASSIFYING ACTION: TYPE I, TYPE II or UNLISTED.
→Updated regulations changed several of the listed categories for Type I and Type II actions. Some actions will be subject to more extensive SEQRA requirements and other actions will be exempt from SEQRA entirely.
→Updated regulations reduced several of the numeric thresholds for actions to qualify as Type I. (Ex. Previously, a project which involved construction of 250 new residential units in municipality with less than 150,000 people qualified as Type I NOW qualifies as Type I if it involves 200 units.)
→Updated regulations contain new Type II categories. (Ex. Retrofitting structures to incorporate green infrastructure practices; installing telecommunication cables in existing highway or utility rights of way utilizing trenchless burial or aerial placement on existing poles; installation of solar energy arrays on certain site; certain actions involving reuse of residential or commercial structures.)
→Updated regulations revised several existing Type II actions. (Ex. Upgrades to buildings to meet fire code standards was expanded to meet energy code standards.)
→Scoping is now mandatory for all EISs (except Supplemental EISs, which remains discretionary). The change was focused on encouraging preparation of concise EISs targeted only at studying, avoiding or reducing potentially significant adverse environmental impacts.
PREPARATION AND CONTENT OF THE EIS
→Updated regulations define what it means for a draft EIS to be "adequate" for public review and direct how the agency must determine the adequacy of a re-submitted draft EIS that was previously deemed deficient.
→New requirement that all draft and final scopes/EISs must be published on a publicly available website.
→New requirement that all draft and final scopes must be posted in NYS DEC Environmental News Bulletin (ENB).
→Updated regulations must consider climate change impacts as part of the SEQRA process.
→Upon request, Lead Agencies conducting SEQRA reviews must provide applicants with copies of invoices for consultants utilized to prepare or review an EIS.