The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced the first major update to State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations in more than two decades.

When will the SEQR updates take effect?

On January 1, 2019, the updates to the SEQR will take effect.

What is the intent of the SEQR updates?

The intent is to streamline the SEQR process while making sure the required environmental reviews continue to effectively assess the potential impacts of proposed projects.

The update increases the list of Type II actions which are defined by SEQR and do not require further environmental review. The updated regulations also consider recent developments such as climate change, sea level rise, and flooding. Examples of Type II actions to be added include:

  • Green infrastructure upgrades or retrofits;
  • Installation of solar arrays on closed landfills, cleaned-up brownfield sites,
    wastewater treatment facilities, sites zoned for industrial use, or solar canopies on residential and commercial parking facilities;
  • Installation of solar arrays on an existing structure not listed on the National or State Register of Historic Places;
  • Reuse of a residential or commercial structure, or structure containing mixed residential and commercial uses;
  • Acquisition and dedication of parkland;
  • Land transfers in connection with one, two or three family housing; and
  • Construction and operation of certain anaerobic digesters at operating publicly owned landfills.

List taken from

SEQR regulations

After the proposed regulations were released in 2017, meetings and informational sessions were conducted and public comments were submitted by parties that would be impacted by the proposed changes. The DEC considered all of the comments and feedback when finalizing the SEQR updates.

Walden Environmental Engineering will post further updates as the new SEQR regulations are implemented. The final rules will be available July 18th on DEC’s website. In addition, DEC will provide workshops to inform lead agencies on the new regulatory changes that take effect on January 1, 2019.

For more information, call Walden at 516-624-7200.