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Guidance and Policy Documents

Guidance documents provide interpretations of rules and regulations. Most guidance documents offer details about how to comply, helping both the regulated community and DEC staff work toward compliance. DEC's Guidance provides a uniform basis for compliance and enforcement across the state.

DEC makes guidance documents available to the public to inform both the regulated community and interested citizens of the best methods for compliance, and of the interpretations that form the basis of DEC enforcement.

Types of Guidance Documents

DEC issues a variety of guidance documents, nearly all of which can be accessed through this page. They include:

Statements of Policy that Apply to the Entire Department, such as Freedom of Information; Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity; Privacy Policy; Website Copyright and Service Mark Policy, and Web Access for Persons with Disabilities

Guidance Documents Used by Individual Divisions and Programs, including technical guidance series (such as TAGMS, STARS and Air Guides) and statements of policy that staff of the division or program will apply in administering a regulation. When technical guidance is referenced in regulation, the regulated community is obliged to follow its provisions. Such guidance is usually subject to review and comment by the public and the regulated community before it is implemented.

Guidance manuals and other informational material, which usually is developed when many people must act to meet the goals of a regulation. Examples include lists of compliance resources (such as vendors who supply necessary equipment or services) or step-by-step directions for specific processes.

DEC Guidance and Policy Documents

  • Commissioner's Policies - Policies that have department-level implications and warrants department-level attention.

Environmental Quality Guidance and Policies

  • Air Guidance and Policy Documents - These documents provide information on the application of the air quality program's regulations and requirements.
  • Bulk Storage Guidance Documents - Information on the regulatory programs and requirements for bulk storage of petroleum and chemicals. They provide facility/tank owners and operators answers to commonly asked questions.
  • Climate Change Guidance Documents - Instructions to DEC staff for reviewing an environmental impact statement (EIS) when the EIS includes a discussion of energy use or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Environmental Permits Guidance Documents - Information for permit applicants and tips to help reduce the environmental impact.
  • Hazardous Waste Guidance - Policy documents and TAGMs (technical and administrative guidance memorandums) provide guidance and clarify program issues to facilitate compliance with hazardous waste regulations.
  • Pesticide Statutes, Regulations, and Policies - Compliance assistance for the distribution, sale, use and transportation of pesticides.
  • Radioactive Materials Guidance Document - This Policy provides guidance to Department staff on such cleanups for soils contaminated with radioactive materials.
  • Remediation Guidance and Policy Documents - Regulations and guidance for New York's brownfield program, superfund & hazardous waste site remediation, voluntary cleanups, and petroleum & chemical spill prevention & response.
  • Solid Waste Guidance - Policy documents, technical and administrative guidance memorandums (TAGMs)s, and regulations for guidance and clarification on solid waste issues.
  • Spill Response and Remediation Guidance Documents - Documents providing information on proper response and remediation for spills including petroleum and most hazardous substances.
  • Water Guidance Documents - Documents providing guidance information for a variety of water related issues such as flood, dam, storm water and wastewater.

Natural Resources Guidance and Policies

General Legal Policies

  • Declaratory Rulings - Declaratory rulings of petitions from the public or regulated entities on the applicability of any regulation or statute which the Department enforces.
  • Enforcement Policies - Policies that establish and embody the Department's enforcement strategy for violations of the Environmental Conservation Law, the implementing regulations, and Orders and Permits.
  • Office of General Counsel Program Policies - Program Policies that provide guidance to Department staff and the public on specific procedures and reporting requirements that are associated with law and regulation.
  • Hearing Office Guidance Documents - Guidance Document to help the public understand DEC permit project review and environmental law enforcement hearings.
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