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An introduction to New York’s Environmental Quality Review Act

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2023 | Environmental Law |

The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, also known as SEQR or SEQRA, lays out the process for government agencies to consider the environmental impacts of proposed projects or actions that have a potential environmental impact.

These agencies include local city councils and New York agencies like the New York Department of Transportation. The covered projects and actions include laying oil or gas pipelines, acquiring land or passing certain types of laws.

SEQR basics outline

The SEQR process follows prescribed steps and must be completed to be in compliance with New York state law. There are special requirements for public hearings, inter-agency cooperation and naming a lead agency. The outcome of a SEQR review could mean changes to a proposed plan or even losing the ability to execute the proposed project action.

Potential complications

SEQR steps can be complicated and often spark expensive litigation. It is a good idea for businesses to follow all prescribed steps as written in the law and remember that the goal of the law is to balance the environmental impact with potential benefits.

Always be compliant

SEQRA is an example of a state-level administrative process and an important reminder than when undertaking any project or action covered by SEQRA to remain in compliance with local, state and federal policies and procedures.

For example, if your business operates in Pennsylvania, you would still be subject to the same federal processes as a comparable New York business, but SEQRA is a uniquely, New York state process.