Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 23, 2011

NYS DEC Publishes Proposed Changes to Environmental Assessment Forms

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing substantive changes to the Environmental Assessment Forms (both long form and short form).  The Short Form has not been updated since 1987 and the Long Form has not significantly changed since 1978. The model forms promulgated by DEC are appended to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) regulations as required by statute. The EAFs are used by agencies and boards involved in the SEQR process to assess the environmental significance of actions they may be undertaking, funding or approving. DEC explains in the proposed rulemaking, “In the years since the EAFs were first created, DEC and other SEQR practitioners have gathered a great deal of experience with environmental analyses under SEQR. DEC has brought this experience to bear by preparing modern full and short EAFs. DEC has also proposed modifications to the forms to include consideration of emerging environmental issues such as climate change and energy conservation, environmental justice (EJ), smart growth, and pollution prevention. The revised EAFs have been changed to better address planning, policy and local legislative actions, which can have greater impacts on the environment than individual physical changes.” In addition to substantive changes, the structure of the forms has been updated in an effort to make them more straightforward for lead agencies and sponsors to use as well as readily compatible with electronic media. DEC also proposes to merge the substance of the Visual EAF Addendum (6 NYCRR 617.20, Appendix B) into the full EAF and then eliminate the Visual EAF Addendum.

More detailed information on the proposed changes can be found on the DEC website:  

Comments on the proposed changes are being accepted through close of business, February 18, 2011. 

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