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State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR )

ARTICLE 8, ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW; IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS 6NYCRR PART 617 (leaves DEC's website); reflects 2018 amendments (effective Jan. 1, 2019)

SEQR requires all local, regional, and state government agencies to equally examine the environmental impacts along with the social and economic considerations for a certain project, or action, during their discretionary review. Agencies must follow the multi-step SEQR Decision Process, which requires them to assess the environmental significance of all actions they have the power to approve, fund, or directly assume. If an action consists of multiple phases, sets of activities, or if separate agencies are involved, SEQR requires agencies jointly consider these cumulative impacts during their review. Segmentation of an action into smaller components for an individual review contradicts the intent of the law and may result in legal action. Please see additional guidance and related SEQR forms below.

Who Enforces SEQR?

Each agency is independently responsible to follow the law. NYSDEC holds authority for issuing statewide regulations for the SEQR process and other duties, such as providing informal guidance and resolution of lead agency disputes. However, NYSDEC does not enforce or review the SEQR process by other agencies and cannot provide formal legal opinions about the conduct of SEQR by other agencies. State and local agencies and other interested parties should consult with their own legal counsel for formal interpretations of SEQR law and regulations.

If an agency has made an improper decision or does not follow SEQR, members of the public may take legal action against the deciding agency under Article 78 of the New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules. The NYS court system has a long history of ruling in favor of SEQR compliance and may cancel project approvals and require a new environmental review.

Environmental Impact Assessment

The following actions do not require an environmental impact assessment:

  • A proposed action that does not require a discretionary decision from an agency is not subject to SEQR.
  • ​Actions that are classified as Type II under SEQR regulations have already been determined to not significantly impact the environment and do not need further review. See more about Classifying the Action.

The following actions are subject to further review under SEQR and require an environmental impact assessment:

  • Type I
  • Unlisted

To help a lead agency determine significance, environmental impact assessments have been standardized through the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF). Agencies must use these recently updated forms to comply with the amended SEQR regulations (effective January 1, 2019) - previous versions will no longer be accepted.

SEQR Determination and Public Participation

The Environmental Assessment Form helps a lead agency to make their SEQR Determination, which will inform their decision to require or prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and whether to hold a public hearing on the proposed action. See more about Determining Significance.

After reviewing the EAF, agencies must prepare either of the following SEQR Determinations:

Negative Declaration
If an action is determined to not significantly impact the environment.

Conditioned Negative Declaration
If an action is determined to impact the environment, but enforceable conditions can reduce impacts.

Positive Declaration
If an action is determined to have potential impacts to the environment, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared for public review. Under the SEQR process, the EIS is used to analyze reasonable alternatives to the proposed action and to identify ways to avoid or reduce adverse impacts. See more about Preparing a Draft EIS.

Additionally, SEQR encourages agencies to establish a clear and indisputable record of their decision-making process, including public participation. Under SEQR, the public may take part in:

EAF Part 1 for Applicants/ Project Sponsors

Agencies must use these updated forms to comply with the amended SEQR regulations -- previous versions will no longer be accepted.

Complete Part 1 of the Environmental Assessment Form; please see more about Classifying the Action to determine which version below is correct for the proposed project.

  • Short EAF Part 1 (PDF)
    For Unlisted actions, except large-scale projects that fall just below Type I thresholds.
  • Full EAF Part 1 (PDF)
    For all Type I actions; may need the help of a consultant depending on the size and nature of the proposed project.

The EAF Mapper can also generate a partially completed EAF for applicants/ project sponsors -- once a project location is defined, this GIS application will auto-populate several questions on Part 1.

If you have questions about the using the mapper or completing the forms, please view the EAF Workbooks, which provides guidance for applicants, project sponsors, and reviewing agencies.

EAF Part 2 & 3 For Lead Agencies

Part 2 & 3 of the EAF must be completed by the lead agency to document the environmental impact assessment and SEQR determination for a proposed action. For help, please see more about the SEQR process and review the EAF Workbooks.

Public Notices & other SEQR forms:

Guidance and Publications

The SEQR Handbook (PDF) has been a standard reference for state, county, and local government officials; environmental consultants; attorneys; applicants; and the general public since it first appeared in March 1982. This 4th edition incorporates feedback received since the 3rd edition was published in 2010 and it also reflects the 2018 Amendments to the SEQR regulations, which became effective January 1, 2019. NYSDEC continually accepts comments on the SEQR Handbook and welcomes any input, please email or send your feedback to the Division of Environmental Permits.

Additionally, a reproduction (PDF) of the SEQR regulations (6 NYCRR Part 617) as it appears in the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of New York has been prepared for ease of use. The official version of regulations published by the Department of State should be consulted for the correct and officially adopted text.

Climate Change Guidance is also available to assist in preparing and reviewing an environmental impact statement (EIS) that includes a discussion of energy use or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Review the Division of Environmental Permits policies for help in assessing and mitigating impacts related to noise and aesthetic resources:

Other helpful publications; *brochure, print two-sided

SEQR Regulatory Documents for the EAF

For the complete text of State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) documents related to the revision of the environmental assessment forms see the February 15, 2012 and November 24, 2010 editions of the New York State Register (leaves DEC's website).

Amended Certificate of Adoption dated 9/5/2013

Environmental Assessment Forms, as amended on 9/5/2013

[Short EAF, Full EAF Part 1, Full EAF Part 2, Full EAF Part 3]

Certificate of Adoption (PDF)

Introduction to Public Comments and Responses (PDF)

Response to Short EAF Comments (PDF)

Response to Full EAF Comments (PDF)

List of Commentators (PDF)

2018 Adopted Amendments

The new regulations 6 NYCRR Part 617 State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) adopted by the commissioner on June 27, 2018, are now in effect. A summary table showing the substantive changes to the SEQR regulations may be downloaded

Among other changes, DEC has adopted amendments to the Type I and Type II lists of actions, as well as the scoping and acceptance procedures for draft environmental impact statements. DEC has also modernized the regulations related to web publication of documents. These changes are the first major amendments to the SEQR regulations that DEC made since 1996.

DEC initially noticed its proposal along with the availability of a combined Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement and SAPA statement in the February 8, 2017 editions of both the State Register and Environmental Notice Bulletin. The comment period continued through May 19, 2017. In response to the many comments received, DEC modified the proposal and noticed a revised proposal along with the availability of a Revised Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement in the April 4, 2018 editions of both the State Register and Environmental Notice Bulletin. The comment period continued through May 11, 2018, during which the Department received approximately 31 comments in response to the revised proposal. Comments were assessed and responded to in the FGEIS which the Department accepted on June 13, 2018. On June 27, 2018, DEC issued a Findings Statement and formally adopted the rule, which became effective January 1, 2019.

The Final Express Terms of the revisions, along with the Findings Statement, FGEIS and other key regulatory documents leading up to the FGEIS may be downloaded from the links set out below.

These documents are also available at the NYSDEC Central Office, located at 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233. Contact: James Elred; E-mail:; Phone (518) 402-9167.

Summary of Changes to 6 NYCRR Part 617 (SEQR) (PDF) regulations effective January 1, 2019

Findings Statement 2018 Amendments to 6NYCRR Part 617 (PDF)

Final Express Terms 2018 Amendments to 6NYCRR Part 617 (PDF)

Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) (PDF)

Proposed Amendments to 6NYCRR Part 617,Revised Draft Express Terms (PDF)

Revised Draft GEIS and SAPA Impact Statements (PDF)

Proposed Amendments, Revised Full EAF Part 1 (PDF)

Proposed Amendments, Revised Full EAF Part 2 (PDF)

Proposed Amendments, Revised Short EAF Part 1 (PDF)

Public Hearing Transcript 3/31/17 Albany (PDF)

Public Hearing Transcript 4/6/17 New Paltz (PDF)

Public Hearing Transcript 4/13/17 Hauppauge (PDF)

Public Hearing Transcript 4/18/17 Rochester (PDF)

SEQR 2017 Proposed Amendments Fact Sheet (PDF)

SEQR 2017 Proposed Amendments Presentation (PDF)

Proposed Amendments to 6 NYCRR Part 617, Draft Express Terms (PDF)

Draft GEIS and SAPA Impact Statements (PDF)

Final Scope (PDF) for the GEIS on the 2012 Proposed Amendments to SEQR

Draft Scope (PDF) for the GEIS on the 2012 Proposed Amendments to SEQR

Notice of Intent (PDF)

More about State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR ):

  • Stepping Through the SEQR Process - A step-by-step guide to the SEQR process
  • Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) Workbooks - Instructions, background information, links to maps and illustrations, and additional guidance for completing the EAF forms
  • "EIS on the Web" Requirement - A 2005 amendment to SEQR requires every EIS , Draft EIS and Final EIS to be posted on a publicly accessible internet Web site
  • Critical Environmental Areas - Local agencies may designate specific geographic areas within their boundaries as Critical Environmental Areas (CEAs). State agencies may also designate geographic areas they own, manage or regulate.
  • Commissioner Decisions on Lead Agency Disputes - In a coordinated review under SEQR, there are times when the involved agencies are not able to agree which one of them will become the lead agency. When this happens, any of the involved agencies or the project sponsor can request the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation to designate a lead agency.