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H. Lead Agency Disputes

In This Section You Will Learn:

  • about lead agency disputes
  • the lead agency resolution process.

1. What is a lead agency dispute?

A lead agency dispute occurs when, at the end of the 30-calendar day period allotted for lead agency establishment, there is failure among involved agencies to agree on which one should conduct the SEQR process for a particular action. Lead agency disputes may only occur over the selection of the lead agency, prior to a determination of significance.

2. Who may request resolution of a lead agency dispute, and how is this done?

Any involved agency, or the applicant may request, in accord with 617.6(b)(5) (link leaves DEC website), that the Commissioner designate a lead agency when a dispute exists.

3. What is the process for requesting resolution of a lead agency dispute?

The request to the Commissioner must be in writing and copies must be sent to all involved agencies and the applicant, noting that within ten days of the date of the request, any involved agency or the applicant may submit to the Commissioner its comments on the dispute. Certified mail or other form of receipted delivery must be used in submitting the request and in circulating copies. The request, and any comments from other involved agencies, must identify each agency's jurisdiction over the action and all information relevant to the Commissioner's consideration of the criteria for determining lead agency noted in #6 below. The Commissioner may also require supplemental information to make the decision.

4. If an involved agency raises a lead agency dispute, is it a candidate to be lead agency?

Yes, any agency raising a dispute must be ready to assume the lead agency functions if such agency is designated by the Commissioner.

5. Can an applicant or interested agency raise a lead agency dispute if dissatisfied with the established lead agency?

No. An applicant or interested agency may not dispute a lead agency that was established by mutual agreement of the involved agencies.

6. What steps does the Commissioner take in resolving a lead agency dispute?

The Commissioner will confirm the jurisdiction of the involved agencies and that a dispute actually exists. The Commissioner will then apply the three criteria specified in 617.(5)(v), in order of importance, for resolution of lead agency disputes. The criteria are:

the primary location of an action's impacts, i.e. statewide, regional or local (If the impacts are of primarily local significance, all other considerations being equal, the local agency involved will be lead agency);
the agency that has the broadest governmental powers for investigating the impacts; and
the agency that has the greatest capability for the most thorough environmental assessment of the action.

7. How much time is required for a lead agency dispute to be resolved?

From the time of receipt of all pertinent information, the Commissioner of DEC has 20 calendar days to resolve a lead agency dispute.

8. How can I get a copy of the Commissioner's decisions on past lead agency disputes?

All of the Commissioner's decisions on lead agency disputes are available online.

E-mail us if you wish to submit comments. Please be sure to indicate which section or item you are commenting on, and include your name.

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