Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") proposed amendments to the regulations implementing the State Environmental Quality Review Act ("SEQRA”), currently codified in 6 NYCRR Part 617. The proposed amendments aim to streamline the environmental review process, while also updating the regulations to reflect the changes, both technological and otherwise, that have occurred since the last major overhaul of Part 617 in 1995. This will be the first in a series of posts examining the proposed amendments.
Examples of the changes to be discussed in forthcoming posts include: (1) modifying certain thresholds in the Type I list of actions, i.e. those deemed more likely to require an environmental impact statement; (2) expanding the Type II list of activities, i.e. those DEC has categorically deemed to not have a significant adverse impact on the environment (this will be the subject of multiple posts); (3) provisions encouraging the electronic filing of environmental impact statements; (4) transparency measures relating to the use of consulting firms by lead agencies; and (5) making scoping of environmental impact statements mandatory (it is currently optional).
DEC will hold a public hearing on the regulations on March 31, 2017, and be accept comments on the proposed amendments until May 19, 2017. Drafts of the proposed amendments and additional information on submitting comments is available on the DEC website.