The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making. Permitting agencies must assess the environmental significance of all actions they have discretion to approve, fund or directly undertake. Environmental Review is performed for private development projects (subdivisions, site plans) and municipal projects within the County. SEQRA requires agencies to balance the environmental impacts with social and economic factors when deciding to approve or undertake an action. On behalf of the Department of Health, the Office of Ecology conducts all SEQRA project reviews, field inspections and prepares commentary for all coordinated actions within the County. Project reviews include a comprehensive evaluation of environmental conditions, potential impacts and compliance with SCSC requirements.
In most actions, the SCDHS is an “involved agency” under SEQRA (NYSECL Article 8). As an involved agency, the SCDHS provides relative comments to the lead agency, usually the local municipality. An involved agency cannot approve or deny an action prior to the lead agency’s “Determination of Significance”. If a lead agency issues a “Positive Declaration” an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared. After the lead agency has finalized and adopted the EIS, all involved agencies must prepare a “Findings Statement” that incorporates several considerations provided by 6NYSRr Part 617. When actions consist of several steps or sets of activities, the entire set must be considered the action, even if several separate agencies are involved. Segmentation of an action into components for individual review is contrary to the intent of SEQRA.
For more information, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) web page on SEQRA at the link below:
NYSDEC Introduction to SEQRA