DEC Issues Final Rule Creating Model Forms for Conducting Environmental Assessments Under SEQRA
On September 5, 2012, DEC published a final rule that creates two model forms for conducting environmental assessments under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
The new forms, which take effect April 1, 2013, will be used by state agencies in assessing the environmental significance of their actions under SEQRA. The rule establishes a new short form and a new full environmental assessment form (EAF) for projects with a significant environmental impact.
According to DEC, the full form has not been revised since 1978, while the short form has not been revised since 1987.
The forms now include consideration of emerging environmental issues such as climate change, and have been changed to better address planning, policy, and local legislative actions, which can have greater impacts on the environment than individual physical changes.
The questions on the new forms have been simplified and streamlined to eliminate redundancies and unnecessary complexity. In addition, the short form and the full form have been made more consistent so both forms use the same method of analysis.
According to the final rule, if an impact is judged to be not present or small, no further analysis is required. If the lead agency determines that an impact may be moderate to large, then it must explain the impact as being not significant or significant.