F. Project Sponsor/Applicant
In This Section You Will Learn:
- the responsibilities of the project sponsor/applicant.
Note: For purposes of SEQR, the term "project sponsor" and the term "applicant" are the same.
1. What steps in the SEQR process are the responsibility of the project sponsor?
Project sponsors are responsible for:
- Completing Part 1 of the appropriate EAF when an action is first proposed or an application is submitted. (Parts 2 and 3 are the responsibility of the lead agency.) A proposed draft EIS may be submitted by an applicant in lieu of an EAF Part 1, but it may be treated as an expanded EAF;
- Identifying the other involved agencies;
(Optional) Requesting the Commissioner of DEC to designate a lead agency if two or more involved agencies have not agreed on lead agency after 30 days;
- Providing additional information if requested to assist the lead agency in making its determination of significance;
(Optional) If the lead agency has issued a positive declaration, requesting formal scoping of the draft EIS and participating in scoping process;
- Preparing a draft EIS; alternatively, the applicant may:
Request the lead agency, at the expense of the applicant, to prepare the draft EIS (but the lead agency has no obligation to do so); or
Withdraw the application. (If the applicant does not withdraw, the lead agency may consider the project abandoned.)
Submitting and revising, as needed, a draft EIS for acceptance by the lead agency for public review;
- Providing additional information during public review if required by the lead agency. (This may, in limited circumstances, require preparation of a supplemental EIS)
- Participating, as appropriate, in a SEQR hearing on the draft EIS, if one is held;
- Assisting the lead agency in answering substantive questions raised during the public review period which must be responded to in the final EIS;
- Preparing additional elements of the final EIS, as may be required by the lead agency; and
- Paying all SEQR fees properly charged by the lead agency in accord with Section 617.13 (link leaves DEC website.)
2. Can an applicant require a lead agency to prepare the draft EIS for a proposed action?
3. Can a lead agency insist on preparing a draft EIS?
No. In accord with subdivision 617.9(a) (link leaves DEC website), the applicant or the lead agency, at the applicant's option, must prepare the draft EIS. If the applicant does not exercise the option to prepare the draft EIS, the lead agency can prepare it, cause it to be prepared, or pursuant to Article 8 of the Environmental Law (the SEQR statute), terminate the agency's review of the action.
4. What is meant in 617.9(a) by "...terminating the review of the action"?
Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law (the SEQR statute) requires agencies to review the environmental consequences of a proposed action before making a final decision. Agency decisions cannot be made on action that have been given positive determinations of significance until an EIS is produced and the SEQR process can proceed to a conclusion. If neither the project sponsor nor the agency chooses to prepare the EIS, then all applications before the lead and involved agencies for the overall action remain incomplete. Further review of these applications is suspended until completion of the SEQR process. If it is clear that no draft EIS will be produced, the project itself as well as the review is terminated. Although not required, a notice of such termination from the lead agency to the project sponsor and involved agencies is good practice.
5. Who is responsible for the completeness, authenticity and accuracy of an applicant's statements in both EAFs and EISs?
Project sponsors are responsible for the accuracy of the information they provide for EAFs and EISs. Presentation of misleading or knowingly false information by an applicant may lead to rejection of his proposal, or to subsequent litigation. Presentation of a misleading or knowingly false statement on such a document could also result in criminal prosecution of the person making the statement. This action would be considered "Filing a false instrument," a "D" felony in New York.
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