Department of Environmental Conservation

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Guidance and Policy Documents

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

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

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 DEC'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 DEC 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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