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Emergency Authorizations and Declarations

Emergency Authorizations

Emergencies are events that immediately threaten life, health, property, general welfare or natural resources, and require a prompt response. ECL §70-0116, as implemented by 6 NYCRR §621.12 (leaves DEC website), allows DEC to waive the procedural requirements of the Uniform Procedures Act (UPA); ECL Article 70, as implemented by 6NYCRR Part 621 (leaves DEC website), to issue emergency authorizations for regulated actions that are immediately necessary to respond to emergencies.

How to Request an Emergency Authorization

Prior to commencing any action or project, you must notify DEC's Regional Permit Administrator and provide:

  1. A description of the proposed action;
  2. A location map and plan of the proposed action;
  3. Reasons why the situation is an emergency based on the immediate protection of life, health, general welfare, property or natural resources;
  4. Actions to be taken to minimize environmental impacts; and
  5. Any additional information requested by DEC.

If prior notice is not possible, a state or local government agency may take immediate action, but must notify the DEC's Regional Permit Administrator within 24 hours of taking action. The notification must provide DEC a basis on which to issue an Emergency Authorization.

DEC will issue a decision to grant or deny the Emergency Authorization within two business days of receipt of the required information. The Department must:

  • Make a "Finding of Emergency" stating why immediate action is needed (generally speaking an emergency declaration by New York State or a local government fulfills this criteria although DEC can make its own finding); and
  • Determine that the project will be carried out in a manner which causes the least change, modification or adverse impact to life, health, property or natural resources. Conditions may be placed in the Emergency Authorization and enforced to assure compliance with the Emergency Authorization and other regulatory standards that normally apply.

Duration of Emergency Authorizations

Emergency Authorizations can only be issued for a period of up to 30 days and renewed for up to an additional 30 day period. Projects that continue beyond the 60-day period require a full and complete application for permit and will be subject to all procedural requirements for review.

Emergency Declarations and General Permits

In response to widespread natural disasters or storm events, DEC may issue emergency declarations and general permits to expedite the permitting process for individuals in the affected area. When emergency declarations and general permits are issued in response to such an event, they provide an alternative to the individual emergency authorization procedures described above. Information is provided below for emergency declarations and related general permits that may be in effect.

Current Emergency Declarations

In response to storms July 9-10, 2023 the Commissioner has issued an emergency declaration (PDF) covering all or portions of DEC Regions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

General Permits for Storm Recovery

When they are necessary, general permits for storm recovery include storm response activities that provide authorization for projects that are emergencies and non-emergencies. Therefore, authorization under a storm response general permit may be preferred if the project qualifies for coverage under the general permit and includes non-emergency work or may take longer than 60 days to complete. If your activity qualifies for a general permit, the application and review process is expedited. Visit the General Permits for Storm Recovery page for current information on available storm recovery general permits, including guidance materials and application instructions.

Where DEC determines that specific storm response work being proposed requires a DEC permit and it is not a bona fide emergency and does not qualify for coverage under any available general permit, an individual permit subject to the normal permitting procedures would be required.

More about Emergency Authorizations and Declarations:

  • General Permits for Storm Recovery - Information to determine whether your project may be covered by a general permit for storm recovery; additional guidance materials and the necessary forms.
  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-9167.
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  • Division of Environmental Permits
    4th Floor
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1750
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