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Emergency Declarations and Authorizations

Emergency Declarations

COVID-19 Emergency Construction

An Emergency Declaration was issued for all counties to support New York State's response to the COVID-19 public health crisis and to help expedite any necessary authorizations for construction of hospitals or other infrastructure or operational changes necessitated by the crisis. The COVID-19 emergency declaration (PDF) will expire on Sept. 23, 2020, unless extended.

Lake Ontario

An Emergency Declaration was issued for Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, and Wayne counties for damage caused by continued high Lake Ontario water levels in late April and early May, 2019. Emergency Declaration (PDF, 38 KB) signed by Commissioner Basil Seggos on April 29, 2019.

Emergency Authorizations

Emergencies are events that immediately threaten life, health, property, general welfare or natural resources, and require a prompt response. For the Department's major environmental regulatory permit programs, the Uniform Procedures Regulations (leaves DEC website) provide for expedited project review and issuance of an Emergency Authorization.

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.


More about Emergency Declarations and Authorizations:

  • 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.
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