New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)

AuthorRaymond S. DiRaddo
1 This chapter was prepared in part by Arthur Lentilucci, a municipal official in Upstate New York and a SEQRA practitioner for the
past 20 years.
Chapter 14
New York State
Environmental Quality Review
New York Fire District Officers’ Guide
§14:10 14-2
§14:10 PURPOSE
The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) was enacted in 1975. NYS ECL §§3-03301(1)(b);
3-0301(2)m & 8-0113; 6 NYCRR Part 617. The intent of the legislature was that all state and local agencies
should conduct their affairs with an awareness that they are caretakers of the environment and as such are obliged
to protect it for the use and enjoyment of this and future generations. 6 NYCRR §617.1(b).
In accordance with this intent, the purpose of SEQRA is to ensure that environmental factors are considered
and incorporated into an agency’s decision-making process at the earliest possible time. This should result in
those factors being given appropriate weight with social and economic considerations in decision making. 6
NYCRR §617.1(d).
§14:20 AGENCY
Boards of Fire Commissioners are agencies under SEQRA. A SEQRA agency may be either an Involved
Agency, Lead Agency or Interested Agency.
An Involved Agency is a public entity that has jurisdiction by law to fund, approve, or directly undertake
an action. If an agency will ultimately make a discretionary decision to fund, approve, or directly undertake an
action, then it is an Involved Agency. 6 NYCRR §617.2(s).
A Lead Agency has the jurisdiction of an Involved Agency, and is also responsible for determining whether
an Environmental Impact Statement will be required. 6 NYCRR §617.2(u).
An Interested Agency is one that lacks jurisdiction of an Involved Agency but wishes to participate in the
review process because of its specific expertise or concern about an action. An Interested Agency has the same
ability to participate in the process as any member of the public. 6 NYCRR §617.2(t).
§14:30 ACTIONS
Typical actions under SEQRA include:
(1) The undertaking or approving of projects or physical activities, such as the construction of new district
(2) Actions that involve funding by a Fire District or require one or more approvals from the Board of Fire
Commissioners or other agencies, such as the town.
(3) Fire District planning or policy making activities that may affect the environment and that commit the
fire district to a definite course of future decisions.
(4) The adoption of district rules, regulations and procedures that may affect the environment. 6 NYCRR
Actions under SEQRA may be classified as Type I, Type II, or Unlisted:
Type I actions are those that are more likely to have a significant environmental impact and to require the
preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An extensive list of Type I actions is included in
the regulations. 6 NYCRR §617.4(b).

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