New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making. This means these agencies must assess the environmental significance of all actions they have discretion to approve, fund or directly undertake. SEQR requires the agencies to balance the environmental impacts with social and economic factors when deciding to approve or undertake an "Action."
How does SEQR work?
If an action is determined not to have significant adverse environmental impacts, a determination of nonsignificance (Negative Declaration) is prepared. If an action is determined to have potentially significant adverse environmental impacts, an "Environmental Impact Statement" is required.
The SEQR process uses the EIS to examine ways to avoid or reduce adverse environmental impacts related to a proposed action. This includes an analysis of all reasonable alternatives to the action. The SEQR "decision making process" encourages communication among government agencies, project sponsors and the general public.
The law was implemented by regulations which were fully effective on November 1, 1978 and revised effective June 1, 1987, January 1, 1996, and January 1, 2019.
To whom does SEQR apply?
SEQR applies to all state or local government agencies including districts and special boards and authorities whenever they must approve or fund a privately or publicly sponsored action. It also applies whenever an agency directly undertakes an action. Applicants who seek project approval or funding may be responsible for preparing an EIS.
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 SEQR. No agency involved in the overall action can make a final decision until the SEQR process is completed.
For more information, contact:
Erin M. Tobin
Vice President for Policy and Preservation
518-462-5658 ext. 12
SEQRA Adopted Amendments 2018
View the League's memo identifying changes to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) that effect Historic Preservation.
All SEQRA amendment language can be found on the DEC website.
(revised regulations effective January 1, 2019)
League, regional preservation leaders call for review of 2017 SEQRA amendments - 05.19.17
The League and Preservation Colleagues from around the state urged the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation to eliminate a proposed 25% threshold requirement for Type I classification of historic resources.This type of review is especially important when developers propose to site small convenience stores in or adjacent to National Register Historic Districts. The new threshold will eliminate meaningful review for these projects and lead to the loss of historic resources.