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G. History

The SEQR statute was worded to allow a phased implementation schedule (Table 1, below). This was done to give government officials time to adjust their administrative procedures for different types of actions. The details of the SEQR process and dates for the phasing in of categories of actions were developed by DEC and filed as regulations. The statewide regulations that implement SEQR are known as Part 617 of 6 NYCRR.

As years passed (after SEQR was completely phased in and in full application), DEC realized that changes to Part 617 were needed to improve the process and clarify sections that engendered multiple questions from agencies subject to SEQR. Several amendments to the regulation have occurred. Table 2, below, chronicles the history of SEQR regulatory changes.

Table 1
ECL ARTICLE 8 - STATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY REVIEW ACT
Effective Date Changes or Applications
September 1, 1976 Phase 1
Direct actions by state agencies (Type I and Unlisted) became subject to SEQR.
June 1, 1977 Phase 2
Direct Type I actions by local governments and Type I actions funded by state agencies.
September 1,1977 Phase 3
Type I actions funded by local governments and approvals to act for Type I actions by state agencies and local governments.
November 1, 1978 Phase 4 All remaining actions subject to SEQR (that is, all Unlisted actions for local governments and all Unlisted actions and approvals to act for Unlisted actions funded by state agencies).
Table 2
SEQR Regulations - 6 NYCRR Part 617
Chronology of Regulatory Changes
Effective Date Amendments
March 22, 1976 Original SEQR regulations adopted
January 24, 1978 Repealed and readopted with a phased implementation schedule, changes in organization, amended Type I and Type II lists and identified and provided procedures for "Excluded" (grandfathered) actions.
November 1, 1978 Procedures were provided for the "Unlisted" category or actions subject of SEQR. The amendment also totally revised the Type I list of actions likely to require an EIS so that it could be more easily used by non-technical agency decision-makers. Also provided was a practical (model) EAF to assist the lead agency in determining significance for Type I actions, and a model short EAF to assist in determinations for Unlisted actions.
December 12, 1978 A minor revision reinstated one of the Type II actions regarding extension of utility service to certain types of residential development. This item had been accidentally omitted in the November 1, 1978 amendment.
October 8, 1982 Requirement were added that EISs and Findings Statements for state agency actions in coastal areas must be consistent with the applicable requirements of the Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources Act of 1981, Article 42 and Section 916(a) of the Executive Law, implemented by 19 NYCRR Section 600.5.
June 1, 1987 This was a substantial revision that:
  • added a number of procedural changes such as scoping, conditioned negative declarations; supplementing draft and final EISs, rescission of negative declarations, and redesignation of lead agency;
  • clarified what is a reasonable alternative;
  • added new definitions; and
  • provided guidance on legally sufficient negative declarations, the substantive nature of SEQR, and the documentation requirements for Unlisted actions.
September 2, 1987 Minor amendment to correct two typographical errors found in the filing of March 6, 1987.
January 1, 1996 amendment Major revisions to the regulations were made including:
  • Sections of the regulations rearranged for greater clarity and to better mirror the SEQR process;
  • Guidance on the elements of scoping and requirements for public participation in scoping were added;
  • Actions were added to the Type II list, and Exempt and Excluded actions were lumped under Type II;
  • Changes were made to the format of EISs;
  • Changes were made to the way actions involving Critical Environmental Areas are assessed.
June 30, 2001 amendment Addresses for the DEC Central Office were updated.
July 3, 2001 amendment Address for submissions to the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB) was corrected, and the address for the on-line ENB website was provided.
February, 2005 amendment Requires every Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (Draft EIS (DEIS) and Final EIS (FEIS)) to be posted on a publicly accessible Internet Web site.

For those who were most familiar with the SEQR regulation before the 1996 amendments, a roadmap of which sections moved where, is included in section H, which follows.



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