6 CRR-NY 617.9NY-CRR
6 CRR-NY 617.9
6 CRR-NY 617.9
617.9 Preparation and content of environmental impact statements.
(a) Environmental impact statement procedures.
(1) The project sponsor or the lead agency, at the project sponsor's option, will prepare the draft EIS. If the project sponsor does not exercise the option to prepare the draft EIS, the lead agency will prepare it, cause it to be prepared or terminate its review of the action. A fee may be charged by the lead agency for preparation or review of an EIS pursuant to section 617.13 of this Part.
(2) The lead agency will use the final written scope and the standards contained in this section to determine whether to accept the draft EIS as adequate with respect to its scope and content for the purpose of commencing public review. This determination must be made in accordance with the standards in this section within 45 days of receipt of the draft EIS. A draft EIS is adequate with respect to scope and content for the purpose of commencing public review if it meets the requirements of the final written scope, sections 617.8(g) of this Part and subdivision (b) of this section, and provides the public and involved agencies with the necessary information to evaluate project impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures.
(i) If the draft EIS is determined to be inadequate, the lead agency must identify in writing the deficiencies and provide this information to the project sponsor.
(ii) The lead agency must determine whether to accept the resubmitted draft EIS within 30 days of its receipt. The determination of adequacy of a resubmitted draft EIS must be based solely on the written list of deficiencies provided by the lead agency following the previous review, unless changes are proposed for the project, there is newly discovered information, or there is a change in circumstances related to the project.
(3) When the lead agency has completed a draft EIS or when it has determined that a draft EIS prepared by a project sponsor is adequate for public review, the lead agency must prepare, file and publish a notice of completion of the draft EIS and file copies of the draft EIS in accordance with the requirements set forth in section 617.12 of this Part. The minimum public comment period on the draft EIS is 30 days. The comment period begins with the first filing and circulation of the notice of completion.
(4) When the lead agency has completed a draft EIS or when it has determined that a draft EIS prepared by a project sponsor is adequate for public review, the lead agency will determine whether or not to conduct a public hearing concerning the action. In determining whether or not to hold a SEQR hearing, the lead agency will consider: the degree of interest in the action shown by the public or involved agencies; whether substantive or significant adverse environmental impacts have been identified; the adequacy of the mitigation measures and alternatives proposed; and the extent to which a public hearing can aid the agency decision-making processes by providing a forum for, or an efficient mechanism for the collection of, public comment. If a hearing is to be held:
(i) the lead agency must prepare and file a notice of hearing in accordance with section 617.12(a) and (b) of this Part. Such notice may be contained in the notice of completion of the draft EIS. The notice of hearing must be published, at least 14 calendar days in advance of the public hearing, in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the potential impacts of the action. For State agency actions that apply statewide this requirement can be satisfied by publishing the hearing notice in the ENB and the State Register;
(ii) the hearing will commence no less than 15 calendar days or no more than 60 calendar days after the filing of the notice of completion of the draft EIS by the lead agency pursuant to section 617.12(b) of this Part. When a SEQR hearing is to be held, it should be conducted with other public hearings on the proposed action, whenever practicable; and
(iii) comments will be received and considered by the lead agency for no less than 30 calendar days from the first filing and circulation of the notice of completion, or no less than 10 calendar days following a public hearing at which the environmental impacts of the proposed action are considered, whichever is later.
(5) Except as provided in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, the lead agency must prepare or cause to be prepared, and must file a final EIS, within 45 calendar days after the close of any hearing or within 60 calendar days after the filing of the draft EIS, whichever occurs later.
(i) No final EIS need be prepared if:
(a) the proposed action has been withdrawn or;
(b) on the basis of the draft EIS, and comments made thereon, the lead agency has determined that the action will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment. A negative declaration must then be prepared, filed and published in accordance with section 617.12 of this Part.
(ii) The last date for preparation and filing of the final EIS may be extended under the following circumstances:
(a) if it is determined that additional time is necessary to prepare the statement adequately; or
(b) if problems with the proposed action requiring material reconsideration or modification have been identified.
(6) When the lead agency has completed a final EIS, it must prepare, file and publish a notice of completion of the final EIS and file copies of the final EIS in accordance with section 617.12 of this Part.
(7) Supplemental EISs.
(i) The lead agency may require a supplemental EIS, limited to the specific significant adverse environmental impacts not addressed or inadequately addressed in the EIS that arise from:
(a) changes proposed for the project;
(b) newly discovered information; or
(c) a change in circumstances related to the project.
(ii) The decision to require preparation of a supplemental EIS, in the case of newly discovered information, must be based upon the following criteria:
(a) the importance and relevance of the information; and
(b) the present state of the information in the EIS.
(iii) If a supplement is required, it will be subject to the full procedural requirements of this subdivision except that scoping is not required.
(b) Environmental impact statement content.
(1) An EIS must assemble relevant and material facts upon which an agency's decision is to be made. It must analyze the significant adverse impacts and evaluate all reasonable alternatives. EISs must be analytical and not encyclopedic. The lead agency and other involved agencies must cooperate with project sponsors who are preparing EISs by making available to them information contained in their files relevant to the EIS.
(2) EISs must be clearly and concisely written in plain language that can be read and understood by the public. Within the framework presented in paragraph (5) of this subdivision, EISs should address only those potential significant adverse environmental impacts that can be reasonably anticipated and that have been identified in the scoping process. EISs should not contain more detail than is appropriate considering the nature and magnitude of the proposed action and the significance of its potential impacts. Highly technical material should be summarized and, if it must be included in its entirety, should be referenced in the statement and included in an appendix.
(3) All draft and final EISs must be preceded by a cover sheet stating:
(i) whether it is a draft or final EIS;
(ii) the name or descriptive title of the action;
(iii) the location (county and town, village or city) and street address, if applicable, of the action;
(iv) the name and address of the lead agency and the contact information of a person at the agency who can provide further information;
(v) the names of individuals or organizations that prepared any portion of the statement;
(vi) the date of its acceptance by the lead agency; and
(vii) in the case of a draft EIS, the date by which comments must be submitted.
(4) A draft or final EIS must have a table of contents following the cover sheet and a precise summary which adequately and accurately summarizes the statement.
(5) The format of the draft EIS may be flexible; however, all draft EISs must include the following elements:
(i) a concise description of the proposed action, its purpose, public need and benefits, including social and economic considerations;
(ii) a concise description of the environmental setting of the areas to be affected, sufficient to understand the impacts of the proposed action and alternatives;
(iii) a statement and evaluation of the potential significant adverse environmental impacts at a level of detail that reflects the severity of the impacts and the reasonable likelihood of their occurrence. The draft EIS should identify and discuss the following impacts only where they are relevant and significant:
(a) reasonably related short-term and long-term impacts, cumulative impacts and other associated environmental impacts;
(b) those adverse environmental impacts that cannot be avoided or adequately mitigated if the proposed action is implemented;
(c) any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of environmental resources that would be associated with the proposed action should it be implemented;
(d) any growth-inducing aspects of the proposed action;
(e) impacts of the proposed action on the use and conservation of energy (for an electric generating facility, the statement must include a demonstration that the facility will satisfy electric generating capacity needs or other electric systems needs in a manner reasonably consistent with the most recent State energy plan);
(f) impacts of the proposed action on solid waste management and its consistency with the State or locally adopted solid waste management plan;
(g) impacts of public acquisitions of land or interests in land or funding for non-farm development on lands used in agricultural production and unique and irreplaceable agricultural lands within agricultural districts pursuant to subdivision (4) of section 305 of article 25-AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law;
(h) if the proposed action is in or involves resources in Nassau or Suffolk Counties, impacts of the proposed action on, and its consistency with, the comprehensive management plan for the special groundwater protection area program as implemented pursuant to article 55 or any plan subsequently ratified and adopted pursuant to article 57 of the Environmental Conservation Law for Nassau and Suffolk counties; and
(i) measures to avoid or reduce both an action's impacts on climate change and associated impacts due to the effects of climate change such as sea level rise and flooding.
(iv) a description of the mitigation measures;
(v) a description and evaluation of the range of reasonable alternatives to the action that are feasible, considering the objectives and capabilities of the project sponsor. The description and evaluation of each alternative should be at a level of detail sufficient to permit a comparative assessment of the alternatives discussed. The range of alternatives must include the no action alternative. The no action alternative discussion should evaluate the adverse or beneficial site changes that are likely to occur in the reasonably foreseeable future, in the absence of the proposed action. The range of alternatives may also include, as appropriate, alternative:
(c) scale or magnitude;
(f) use; and
(g) types of action.
For private project sponsors, any alternative for which no discretionary approvals are needed may be described. Site alternatives may be limited to parcels owned by, or under option to, a private project sponsor;
(vi) for a State agency action in the coastal area the action's consistency: with the applicable coastal policies contained in section 600.5 of Title 19 NYCRR; or when the action is in an approved local waterfront revitalization program area, with the local program policies;
(vii) for a State agency action within a heritage area or urban cultural park, the action's consistency with the approved heritage area management plan or the approved urban cultural park management plan;
(viii) a list of any underlying studies, reports, EISs and other information obtained and considered in preparing the statement including the final written scope.
(6) In addition to the analysis of significant adverse impacts required in subparagraph (b)(5)(iii) of this section, if information about reasonably foreseeable catastrophic impacts to the environment is unavailable because the cost to obtain it is exorbitant, or the means to obtain it are unknown, or there is uncertainty about its validity, and such information is essential to an agency's SEQR findings, the EIS must:
(i) identify the nature and relevance of unavailable or uncertain information;
(ii) provide a summary of existing credible scientific evidence, if available; and
(iii) assess the likelihood of occurrence, even if the probability of occurrence is low, and the consequences of the potential impact, using theoretical approaches or research methods generally accepted in the scientific community.
This analysis would likely occur in the review of such actions as an oil supertanker port, a liquid propane gas/liquid natural gas facility, or the siting of a hazardous waste treatment facility. It does not apply in the review of such actions as shopping malls, residential subdivisions or office facilities.
(7) A draft or final EIS may incorporate by reference all or portions of other documents, including EISs that contain information relevant to the statement. The referenced documents must be made available for inspection by the public within the time period for public comment in the same places where the agency makes available copies of the EIS. When an EIS incorporates by reference, the referenced document must be briefly described, its applicable findings summarized, and the date of its preparation provided.
(8) A final EIS must consist of the following: the draft EIS, including any revisions or supplements to it; copies or a summary of the substantive comments received and their source (whether or not the comments were received in the context of a hearing); and the lead agency's responses to all substantive comments. The draft EIS may be directly incorporated into the final EIS or may be incorporated by reference. The lead agency is responsible for the adequacy and accuracy of the final EIS, regardless of who prepares it. All substantive revisions and supplements to the draft EIS must be specifically indicated and identified as such in the final EIS.
6 CRR-NY 617.9
Current through August 31, 2020
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