618: Implementation Of State Environmental Quality Review Act
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§618.1 Fees and Costs
(a) Preparing EIS's for actions involving applicants. The department shall prepare an EIS for an action involving an applicant only where practicable considering existing staff and resources and when the public interest will be thereby served. In such cases, the department may charge a fee to the applicant for the cost of such preparation. The fee shall be calculated according to the following schedule, but in no event shall it exceed the fee caps established in section 617.17 of this Title:
X[(A) + (A)(B) + (C)] = Fee
A =personal service rate per hour
B =fringe benefits at the rate set annually by the Comptroller
C =overhead at a rate of 35 percent of (A)(B)
X =time expressed in hours
The department preparation of an EIS shall include such items as in-office evaluations and field inspections, materials testing, field testing, laboratory analyses, research and original data collection.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section, the department shall charge a fee to an applicant in order to recover the actual costs incurred by the department for the review or preparation of an EIS by employees whose salary and expenses are paid in whole or in part from the conservation fund as established pursuant to section 83(a) of the State Finance Law, for any action for which the department is an involved agency as defined in section 617.2(t) of this Title.
(1) The department is not required to recover such costs where the administrative expense would exceed the costs.
(2) The department shall provide the applicant, upon request, with an estimate of the cost for the review or preparation of an EIS by department employees whose salary and expenses are paid in whole or in part from the conservation fund.
(3) The department may require security to ensure payment of fees and may withhold, suspend or revoke a permit if the fees required under this subdivision are not paid.
(4) All costs, consistent with this subdivision, incurred on or after the effective date of this amendment must be reimbursed to the conservation fund.
(c) Public hearings and notices thereof. The department may charge a fee to an applicant for the cost of publishing a notice of hearing on a draft EIS and for costs incurred in the conducting of a public hearing.
§618.2 Lists of Actions 1
(1) The purpose of this section is to simplify the task of determining whether or not a proposed action may have a significant effect on the environment by identifying actions or classes of actions that are likely to have a significant effect and those which will not have a significant effect. Because of the complex and varied nature of department actions, the lists in this section are not all inclusive. The omission from the lists of an action does not mean that it is exempt from this Part, nor does it mean that it is automatically an action requiring environmental impact statement preparation. The criteria set forth in section 617.9 of this Title shall be used to determine significance with respect to actions not listed in this section. The following classification system is used in this section:
(2) Type II. Actions or classes of actions which have been determined not to have a significant effect on the environment and which do not require environmental impact statements under this Part.
(b) Lists. (Note: The following list is intended to cover only actions directly undertaken by the department consistent with the phased implementation of article 8 of the ECL.)
Type II actions or classes of actions have been determined by the department not to have a significant effect on the environment and do not require environmental impact statements, unless the particular action may have a significant impact on a critical area designated in item (a)(22), Type I, of section 617.12 of this Title (6 NYCRR 617.12) or in a geographical area of particular concern designated pursuant to the State coastal zone management program. No individual action shall be considered a Type II action if it would be located in a particularly sensitive environmental area where an otherwise insignificant impact could become significant as determined by the department. The following are Type II actions or classes of actions:
(a) Class 1. The operation or minor alteration of tile following existing structures,buildings, facilities, mechanical equipment or topographical features involving negligible or no expansion of use beyond that previously existing. This class shall also include all levels of routine office and clerical activities and the replacement of equipment with substantially identical equipment except where less environmentally harmful equipment of similar performance has become available. This class exemption shall not apply to situations where the section of substantial quantities of a source or type of material used in a project may have a significant environmental effect. It shall include, but not be limited to, the following department actions:
(2) Research stations.
(3) Campsites and day-use areas.
(4) Docks and piers, canoe carries, boat launching sites, hunting and fishing access areas, trailheads and related structures.
(5) Seawalls and other shore protection facilities and structures, fences, guardrails and barriers.
(6) Fish hatcheries, game farms and associated buildings and facilities.
(7) Park areas and associated facilities.
(8) Garages, service buildings and residences.
(9) Skating rinks and service buildings.
(10) Beaches and playgrounds.
(11) Ski facilities.
(13) Headquarter and field offices.
(14) Animal maintenance facilities.
(15) Forest fire detection and prevention stations, towers and systems.
(16) Fish screens, fish ladders, stream improvement structures, fish barrier dams, fishing piers, fish spawning and incubator facilities, wildlife habitat areas, artificial wildlife waterway devices, streamflow, springs and waterholes, stream channels (clearing of debris) to protect fish and wildlife resources.
(17) Roads, trails and paths, excluding the application of salts and other chemicals for snow and ice removal and betterments and safety type projects, where the limits of the project are within the existing right-of-way, including parking lots, bridges, walkways, traffic signals and signs, lights and road drainage systems.
(18) Dams and docks not involving significant construction activity or any material change in height, hydraulics or operating schedules.
(19) Streams, stream beds and existing ditches, including the cleaning of debris, silt, plant and tree roots and other obstructions from streams and ditches.
(20) Aqueducts, levees and diversion facilities.
(21) Water supply reservoirs.
(22) Water pumping stations, water mains, water meters, water tunnels and appurtenances thereto.
(23) Water treatment works.
(24) Gasoline-powered generating works.
(25) Watercourses and water bodies.
(26) Sewers and subsurface disposal areas.
(27) Sewage treatment works and associated facilities, including sewer interceptors, relief mains, outfalls, gatehouses, tidegates and other diversion structures, screens and combined sewer overfall treatment facilities.
(28) Interior and exterior alterations involving such things as interior partitions, plumbing and electrical conveyances.
(29) Addition of safety or health protection devices for use during construction of or in conjunction with existing structures, facilities or mechanical equipment, or topographical features including navigational devices.
(30) The operation, alteration or replacement-in-kind of vehicles and equipment to be used at or in conjunction with the above items.
(b) Class 2. The replacement, restoration, rehabilitation, reconstruction, renovation or demolition (and removal) of a small existing structure or facility, where the structure or facility to be modified or replaced will have substantially the same purpose and capacity as that replaced. Structures and facilities include but are not limited to those itemized under Class 1, above. The activities described above in this class shall be limited to those having a cost of $500,000 or less, or which will have an interior area of not more than 10,000 square feet and not involve a total land area of more than two acres. Actions within this class are categorically exempt as noted in Class 1, except where less harmful equipment is available or where substantial noise, air, water or other pollution or the release of substantial waste products is likely to result from the reconstruction or replacement project. It shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) The replacement or reconstruction of existing ditches, ocean outfalls, structures, equipment, tools and vehicles used in connection with the operation of insect and aquatic weed control programs.
(c) Class 3. The construction and location or the allotment of State funds the therefor) of single, small, new facilities or structures where the total area of the structure does not exceed 10,000 square feet or have a cost exceeding $500,000 and the surroundings are returned to their original condition after the construction/installation of the structure or facility. It shall also include additions of no more than 2,500 square feet to existing small structures or facilities. Actions within this class are exempt except where construction activity may be viewed as a part of a whole, larger action not otherwise exempt, or series of actions, all of which are interrelated and logically form the component parts of a single larger action. It shall also include the installation of minor new equipment and facilities, such as air quality and other environmental monitoring facilities.
(d) Class 4. Minor alterations in the condition of land, water, vegetation, and/or fish and wildlife resources. This exemption shall not apply, for example, to the stockpiling on such lands of quantities of salt, corrosive chemicals, poisonous substances, fertilizer, etc. in quantities which may cause damage to the environment. The degree to which any alteration is minor or not dangerous shall be determined on the basis of its actual and potential effect. This exemption shall include such actions as planting and landscaping to improve the general vegetation quality and similar projects. This exemption shall not include any substantial change in the authorized use for land where such change may have a significant environmental effect. It shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) Landscaping, groundkeeping and similar activities that may alter or temporarily disturb the surface of land, but which ultimately will return the land to substantially the same or better condition, such as minor soil grading, seeding, planting, etc.
(2) Soil and ground water borings and tests, minor land cuts and brush clearing for survey purposes.
(3) The following silvicultural activities shall be considered "minor": Tree pruning, tree seeding and planting, weeding and releasing, noncommercial thinning, the improvement of cuttings and demonstration plot, the cutting of not more than 10 trees per acre in the saw timber class, which class shall include softwood trees of 9 inches diameter or more and hardwood trees of 11 inches diameter or more at breast height.
(4) Forest management practices, including construction, maintenance and repair of facilities or structures and silvicultural activities consistent with the Forest Road Construction Handbook (1973) 2 and the Timber Harvesting Guidelines for New York (1975).2
(5) The following site specific and individual fish and wildlife activities shall be considered "minor" if they do not involve significant departures from established and accepted practices and if such actions are described in and are a part of general fish and wildlife management programs for which an EIS has been prepared: fish and wildlife habitat improvement, planting of native or naturalized fish and wildlife, harvesting or thinning of fish or wildlife surpluses, setting of hunting, trapping and fishing seasons, weeding of competing or parasitic species and species incompatible with man's interests, improvement or rehabilitation of fish or wildlife resources, fish barrier dams, small rock or log dams, fish passage structures, minor diking, cribbing, bank stabilization and stream deflectors and other structures or improvements designed solely for fishery management purposes which do not materially alter the natural character of the waterway, anti other alterations which are relatively short-lived and where followed by prompt replacement of fish or wildlife resources with tile intention of providing equivalent or greater values.
(6) Minor trenching and backfilling where tile surface is restored.
(7) Eradication of alternate host plants of parasitic tree diseases using registered herbicides applied on an individual plant basis.
(8) Ground application of registered pesticides on an individual tree basis for the suppression of forest pests on State lands.
(9) Sanitation to control forest pests that vector tree diseases or threaten residual trees.
(10) Parasite and predator invertebrate releases for forest pest suppression.
2 Not filed with the Department of State.
(e) Class 5. Information collection consisting of basic data gathering for possible future actions of the department; short-range planning activities, research, experimental management and resource evaluation activities which do not result in a serious or major disturbance to an environmental resource and which are not preliminary steps leading to a given action or project already identified. If an action is not otherwise exempt, this exemption shall not apply solely because of an information gathering aspect of a particular action. This class includes: water quality and pollution studies; traffic counts; engineering studies; boring studies; soil surveys and other materials sampling; feasibility studies; mineral and oceanographic surveys and research projects not involving the removal of more than 100 cubic yards of material in any one location; the sampling of fish and wildlife populations by netting, trapping, and other acceptable scientific means; and inventory surveys conducted by department personnel in the field for game management, fish management, forestry, fire control, environmental protection, etc.
(f) Class 6. Inspections to check for performance of an operation, or the quality, health or safety of an action, activity or project. It shall extend only to the act of inspection and not to the establishment of any new or different criteria or standards for judging the qualification or non qualification during the inspection where it can be reasonably argued that such a change in criteria or standards may have a significant effect on the environment.
(g) Class 7. Administrative and service functions of the department.
(1) Department provision of technical assistance to other government agencies.
(2) Department comments on legislation and regulations proposed by other agencies.
(3) Training and educational services of the department.
(4) Routine contracts for printing, equipment maintenance, etc.
(5) Review of applications for State aid to municipalities not involving major federally funded capital construction projects.
1 Type I list was deleted effective January 2, 1979.