D. Lead Agency Responsibilities
In This Section You Will Learn:
- lead agency responsibilities.
1. What are the responsibilities of a lead agency?
In conducting the SEQR process, the lead agency must coordinate review by doing the following:
- Asking all other involved agencies about their concerns for the proposed action, and consider these concerns in making its determination of significance;
- Completing the environmental assessment form by reviewing the submitted Part 1 and other relevant information, and by preparing Part 2 and, if necessary, Part 3;
- Determining whether any aspect of the overall action may have or will not have a significant adverse impact upon the environment. (In its consideration of a proposal's impacts, the lead agency should not limit its review only to those impacts affecting its own jurisdiction.);
- Preparing a legally sufficient determination of significance (positive or negative declaration) that meets the standards of 617.7 (link leaves DEC website;)
- If an applicant has chosen not to prepare the draft EIS, deciding whether to prepare the document itself, hire a consultant to prepare it, or terminate review;
- If scoping is used, determining the scope and content of the draft EIS, including considering the relevant concerns of the involved agencies and the public;
- Determining the adequacy of a submitted draft EIS; if inadequate, providing a written identification of all deficiencies or, if adequate, commencing public review in accordance with 617.11(a); (link leaves DEC website)
- Deciding whether or not to hold a SEQR public hearing concerning the draft EIS;
- Preparing, or causing to be prepared, the final EIS, including response to all substantive questions and comments;
- As one of the involved agencies, preparing its own SEQR findings prior to making its final decisions on the action; and
- Submitting all appropriate notices and filings of the SEQR process, as required in 617.12 (link leaves DEC website.)
2. Can a lead agency delegate its responsibilities to any other agency?
No. A lead agency cannot delegate its lead agency determinations to another agency. However, it may delegate activities such as the gathering of data or the review of material prepared for determinations of significance or EISs to other involved or interested agencies or staffs or consultants. The lead agency may rely on the specific expertise of another involved or interested agency.
3. Why should agencies compete for lead agency?
The ability to decide whether an EIS will be required and to decide the scope and acceptability of an EIS can be very important to agencies. Even though a lead agency has an obligation to consider the concerns of the other involved agencies, some involved agencies may feel strongly that they are best qualified to do so themselves. Lead agencies have the authority under SEQR to impose mitigation measures on actions through a CND or in Findings that are otherwise outside its jurisdiction, or the jurisdiction of any other agency. Involved agencies do not have this authority.
4. Is the lead agency required to provide a copy of its negative declaration to other involved agencies when review has been coordinated for an Unlisted Action?
Although the regulations do not require this, it is a good practice and it ensures that the involved agencies know when they may proceed with their final decisions.
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