October 24, 2018

On June 27, 2018, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) adopted a Findings Statement and certain amendments to the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) regulations. The amendments become effective January 1, 2019 and these changes are the first major amendments to the SEQR regulations that DEC made since 1996.

The amendments are intended to streamline and improve the SEQR process without sacrificing meaningful environmental review.

The major streamlining amendments to Part 617 are those adding to the statewide list of Type II actions (actions that the Commissioner has determined to not require further review under SEQR, in addition to actions that the Legislature has previously excluded or made exempt from SEQR), and mandatory scoping.

The amended Type II list now includes the “Installation of solar energy arrays where such installation involves 25 acres or less of physical alteration” on certain enumerate sites such as closed landfills and Brownfield sites, inactive hazardous waste disposal sites, industrially zoned properties and parking garages.

DEC also modified the statewide Type I list of actions to establish a threshold for designating Unlisted actions as Type I actions because of proximity to historic resources.

A copy of the Findings Statement can be accessed here on the DEC’s website.

A copy of the amended SEQRA regulations including redlined text to show the changes from the old rule can be accessed here on the DEC’s website.

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