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Rural Area Flexibility Analysis NYCRR 360 & 750

Revised Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

  1. 1. 'Types and Estimated Numbers of Rural Areas.' This rule applies to the entire State and impacts all rural areas of the State.
  2. 'Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements; and Professional Services.' The rule will reduce reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements. No professional services will be needed in rural areas to comply with the rule.
  3. 'Costs.' There are no initial capital costs or annual costs to comply with the rule.
  4. 'Minimizing Adverse Impact.' The rule is expected to have a positive economic impact on rural areas by encouraging the expansion of Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) since the threshold at which non-discharging Medium Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are required to obtain an ECL SPDES Permit is being increased from 200 to 300 mature dairy cows. As these dairy farms increase the size of their herds, milk production will increase, creating new on farm jobs and increasing employment in the agricultural services industry, dairy processing industry, and food processing service industry. In terms of adverse environmental impacts on rural areas, dairy farms with less than 300 mature dairy cows are still required to fully comply with other environmental laws and regulations. There is an increased risk, however, that removing the requirement of permit coverage for Medium CAFOs with 200-299 mature dairy cows could lead dairy farms already in this size range (and smaller CAFOs expanding to this size) to relax, discontinue, or fail to implement structural and non-structural Best Management Practices. This could result in discharges causing adverse impacts to ground and surface water, including fish and aquatic habitats. Medium CAFOs that are no longer required to maintain permit coverage may still voluntarily maintain permit coverage or voluntarily participate in the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program administered by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. In addition, the Department would have the ability to designate an AFO as a Small CAFO thereby subjecting it to the Department's SPDES permit program.
  5. 'Rural Area Participation.' The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has complied with SAPA §202-bb(7) by assuring that public and private interests in rural areas have been given an opportunity to participate in the rule making process. This participation has occurred through publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking in the State Register and through meeting and interaction with a CAFO Work Group composed of individuals from the following organizations:
    • New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
    • New York State Department of Health
    • Cornell University
    • Environmental Advocates of New York
    • Citizens Campaign for the Environment
    • New York Farm Bureau
    • Northeast Dairy Producers Association
    • Certified Planners
    • CAFO farmers
    • NYSDEC central office and regional staff

The NYSDEC also met with the Sierra Club, Riverkeeper, and the National Resource Defense Council with respect to the proposed rulemaking. The Department offered to meet with the New York League of Conservation Voters, but the invitation was not accepted. Furthermore, the NYSDEC accepted public comments to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and is providing responses to the comments that were received. A public hearing was also held. Finally, the following documents required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) were published in the Environmental Notice Bulletin: Environmental Assessment Form, Positive Declaration, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, and Final Environmental Impact Statement.

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