ADIRONDACK PARK AGENCY REPORTER
Susan Allen, Publisher and Editor
P. O. Box 718  
Keene Valley, New York 12943
Telephone: (518) 576-9861     E-Mail: APAReport@aol.com


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New York State Consolidated Laws

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Article 8
Environmental Quality Review

( NOTE: FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY !!! )

Section 8-0101 Purpose.
Section 8-0103 Legislative findings and declaration.
Section 8-0105 Definitions.
Section 8-0107 Agency implementation.
Section 8-0109 Preparation of environmental impact statement.
Section 8-0111 Coordination of reporting; limitations; lead agency.
Section 8-0113 Rules and regulations.
Section 8-0115 Severability.
Section 8-0117 Phased implementation.

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Section
  8-0101  Purpose.
   
It is the purpose of this act to declare a state policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and enhance human and community resources; and to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems, natural, human and community resources important to the people of the state.

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Section
  8-0103  Legislative findings and declaration.

 
    The legislature finds and declares that:  1. The maintenance of a quality environment for the people of this state that at all times is healthful and pleasing to  the senses  and intellect of man now and in the future is a matter of statewide concern.  2. Every citizen has a responsibility to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the environment.  3. There is a need to understand the relationship between the maintenance  of  high-quality ecological  systems  and  the general  welfare  of  the  people  of  the state, including their enjoyment of the natural resources of the state.  4. Enhancement of human and community resources depends on a quality physical environment.  5. The capacity of the environment is limited, and it is the intent of the legislature that the government of the state take immediate steps to identify any critical thresholds for the health and safety of  the  people of  the  state  and take all coordinated actions necessary to prevent such thresholds from being reached.  6. It is the intent of the legislature that to the fullest extent possible the policies, statutes, regulations, and ordinances of the state and its political subdivisions should be interpreted and administered in accordance with the policies set forth in this article.  However, the provisions of this article do not change the jurisdiction between or among state agencies and public corporations.  7. It is the intent of the legislature that the protection and enhancement of the environment, human and community resources shall be given appropriate weight with social and economic considerations in public policy. Social, economic, and environmental factors shall be considered together in reaching decisions on proposed activities.  8. It is the intent of the legislature that all agencies conduct their affairs with an awareness that they are stewards of the air, water, land, and living resources, and that they have an obligation to protect the environment for the use and enjoyment of this and all future generations.  9. It is the intent of the legislature that all agencies which regulate activities of individuals, corporations, and public agencies which are found to affect the quality of the environment shall regulate such activities so that due consideration is given to preventing environmental damage.

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Section
8-0105  Definitions.
   
Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions in this section shall govern the construction of the following terms as used in this article: 1.  "State agency" means any state department, agency, board, public benefit corporation, public authority or commission. 2.  "Local agency" means any local agency, board, district, commission or governing body, including any city, county, and other political subdivision of the state. 3.  "Agency" means any state or local agency. 4.  "Actions" include:
  (i) projects  or  activities  directly  undertaken  by  any agency; or projects or activities  supported  in  whole  or  part through  contracts,  grants,  subsidies, loans, or other forms of funding assistance from one or  more  agencies;  or  projects  or activities involving the issuance to a person of a lease, permit, license, certificate or other entitlement for use  or  permission to act by one or more agencies; (ii) policy, regulations, and procedure-making.  5.  "Actions" do not include:  (i) enforcement proceedings or the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in  determining  whether  or  not  to  institute  such proceedings; (ii) official  acts  of  a ministerial nature, involving no exercise of discretion; (iii) maintenance or repair involving no substantial changes in existing structure or facility.  6.  "Environment" means the physical conditions which will be affected by a proposed action, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, objects of historic or aesthetic significance, existing patterns of population concentration, distribution, or growth, and existing community or neighborhood character.  7.  "Environmental impact statement"  means  a  detailed statement setting forth the matters specified in  section  8-0109 of   this   article. It includes  any  comments  on  a  draft environmental statement which are received  pursuant  to  section 8-0109  of  this  article,  and  the  agency`s  response  to such comments, to the extent  that  such  comments  raise  issues  not adequately resolved in the draft environmental statement.  8.  "Draft   environmental   impact   statement" means a preliminary statement prepared pursuant to section 8-0109 of this article.

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Section
  8-0107  Agency implementation.
   
  All agencies shall review their present statutory authority, administrative regulations, and current policies  and  procedures for the purpose of determining whether there are any deficiencies or inconsistencies therein which prohibit  full  compliance  with the  purposes and provisions of this article, and shall recommend or effect such measures  as  may  be  necessary to bring  their authority and policies into conformity with the intent, purposes, and procedures set forth in this article.  They shall carry out its terms with minimum procedural and administrative delay, shall avoid   unnecessary   duplication   of   reporting   and   review requirements by providing, where feasible, for combined or consolidated proceedings, and shall expedite all proceedings hereunder in the interests of prompt review.

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Section
  8-0109  Preparation of environmental impact statement.

     
1. Agencies shall use all practicable means to realize the policies and goals set forth in this article, and shall act and choose alternatives which, consistent with social, economic and other essential considerations, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects,  including effects revealed in the environmental impact statement process.
   
  2. All agencies  (or applicant as hereinafter provided) shall prepare, or cause to be prepared by contract or   otherwise   an environmental impact statement on any action they propose or approve which may have a significant effect on the environment.   Such a statement shall include a detailed statement setting forth the following: (a) a description of the  proposed  action and its environmental setting; b) the environmental impact of the proposed action including short-term and long-term effects; (c) any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented; (d) alternatives to the proposed action; (e) any  irreversible  and  irretrievable  commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented; (f) mitigation measures proposed to minimize the environmental impact; (g) the growth-inducing aspects of the proposed action, where applicable and significant; (h) effects  of  the  proposed action on the use and conservation of energy resources, where applicable and significant, provided that in the case of  an electric generating facility, the statement shall 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; (i) effects  of  proposed  action  on  solid  waste management where applicable and significant; and (i) effects of any proposed action on, and its consistency with, the comprehensive management plan of the special groundwater protection area program, as implemented by the commissioner pursuant  to  article fifty-five of this chapter; and (j) such  other information  consistent  with  the purposes of this article as may be prescribed in guidelines issued  by  the  commissioner pursuant to section 8-0113 of this chapter.
   
  Such a statement shall also include copies or a summary of the substantive comments received by the agency pursuant to subdivision four of this section, and the agency response to such comments.  The purpose of an environmental impact statement is to provide detailed information about the effect which a proposed action is likely to have on the environment, to list ways in which any adverse effects of such an action might be minimized, and to suggest alternatives to such an action so as to form the basis for a decision whether or not to undertake or approve such action. Such statement should be clearly written in a concise manner capable of being read and understood by the public, should deal with the specific significant environmental impacts which can be reasonably anticipated and should not contain more detail than is appropriate considering the nature and magnitude of the proposed action and the significance of its potential impacts.
   
  3. An agency may require an applicant to submit an environmental report to assist the agency in carrying out its responsibilities, including the initial determination and, (where the applicant does not prepare the environmental impact statement), the preparation of an environmental impact statement under this article.  The agency may request such other information from an applicant necessary for the review of environmental impacts.  Notwithstanding any use of outside resources or work, agencies shall make their own independent judgment of the scope, contents and adequacy of an environmental impact statement.
    
4. As early as possible in the formulation of a proposal for an action, the responsible agency shall make an initial determination whether an environmental impact statement need be prepared for the action.  When an action is to be carried out or approved by two or more agencies, such determination shall be made as early as possible after the designation of the lead agency.
    
With respect to actions involving the issuance to an applicant of a permit or other entitlement, the agency shall notify the applicant in writing of its initial determination specifying therein the basis for such determination. Notice of the initial determination along with appropriate supporting findings on agency actions shall be kept on file in the main office of the agency for public inspection.
    
If the agency determines that such statement is required, the agency or the applicant at its option shall prepare or cause to be prepared a draft environmental impact statement. If the applicant does not exercise the option to prepare such statement, the agency shall prepare it, cause it to be prepared, or terminate its review of the proposed action. Such statement shall describe the proposed action and reasonable alternatives to the action, and briefly discuss, on the basis of information then available, the remaining items required to be submitted by subdivision two of this section. The purpose of a draft environmental statement is to relate environmental considerations to the inception of the planning process, to inform the public and other public agencies as early as possible about proposed actions that may significantly affect the quality of the environment, and to solicit comments which will assist the agency in the decision making process in determining the environmental consequences of the proposed action.  The draft statement should resemble in form and content the environmental impact statement to be prepared after comments have been received and considered pursuant to subdivision two of this section; however, the length and detail of the draft environmental statement will necessarily reflect the preliminary nature of the proposal and the early stage at which it is prepared.
    
For any action for which the agency determines that such statement is not required and which would take place in a special groundwater protection area, as defined in section 55-0107 of this chapter, the agency shall show how such action would or would not be consistent with the comprehensive management plan of the special groundwater protection program, as implemented by the commissioner pursuant to article fifty-five of this chapter.
    
The draft statement shall be filed with the department or other designated agencies and shall be circulated to federal, state, regional and local agencies having an interest in the proposed action and to interested members of the public for comment, as may be prescribed by the commissioner pursuant to section 8-0113.
    5. After the filing of a draft environmental impact statement the agency shall determine whether or not to conduct a public hearing on the environmental impact of the proposed action. If the agency determines to hold such a hearing, it shall commence the hearing within sixty days of the filing and unless the proposed action is withdrawn from consideration shall prepare the environmental impact statement within forty-five days after the close of the hearing, except as otherwise provided. The need for such a hearing shall be determined in accordance with procedures adopted by the agency pursuant to section 8-0113 of this article.  If no hearing is held, the agency shall prepare and make available the environmental impact statement within sixty days after the filing of the draft, except as otherwise provided.

    
Notwithstanding the specified time periods established by this article, an agency shall vary the times so established herein for preparation, review and public hearings to coordinate the environmental review process with other procedures relating to review and approval of an action.  An application for a permit or authorization for an action upon which a draft environmental impact statement is determined to be required shall not be complete until such draft statement has been filed and accepted by the agency as satisfactory with respect to scope, content and adequacy for purposes of paragraph four of this section. Commencing upon such acceptance, the environmental impact statement process shall run concurrently with other procedures relating to the review and approval of the action so long as reasonable time is provided for preparation, review and public hearings with respect to the draft environmental impact statement.
    6. To the extent as may be prescribed by the commissioner pursuant to section 8-0113, the environmental impact statement prepared pursuant to subdivision two of this section together with the comments of public and federal agencies and members of the public, shall be filed with the commissioner and made available to the public prior to acting on the proposal which is the subject of the environmental impact statement.
    7.a. An agency may charge a fee to an applicant in order to recover the costs incurred in preparing or causing to be prepared or reviewing a draft   environmental impact statement or an environmental impact statement on the action which the applicant requests from the agency; provided, however, that an applicant may not be charged a separate fee for both the preparation and review of such statements. The technical services of the department may be made available on a fee basis reflecting the costs thereof, to a requesting agency, which fee or fees may appropriately be charged by the agency to the applicant under rules and regulations to be issued under section 8-0113. b. Such rules and regulations shall require the applicant to reimburse the conservation fund, as established pursuant to  subdivision (a) of section eighty-three  of  the  state  finance law, in order to recover all costs incurred in preparing or causing  to  be  prepared  or reviewing  a  draft  environmental  impact statement or an environmental impact statement by  employees  of  the  department,  whose  salary  and expenses are paid, in whole or in part, from the conservation fund.
    8. When an agency decides to carry out or approve an action which has been the subject of an environmental impact statement, it shall make an explicit finding that the requirements of this section have been met and that   consistent with social, economic and other essential considerations, to the maximum extent practicable, adverse environmental effects revealed in the environmental impact statement process will be minimized or avoided.
    9. An environmental impact statement shall be prepared for any action found to have a significant impact on the special groundwater protection area, as defined in section 55-0107 of this chapter. Such statement shall meet the requirements of the most detailed environmental impact statement required by this section or by any such rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to this section.

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Section
  8-0111 Coordination of reporting; limitations; lead agency.
   
1. State and federal reports coordinated. Where an agency as herein defined directly or indirectly participates in the preparation of or prepares a statement or submits material relating to a statement prepared pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, whether by itself or by another person or firm, compliance with this article shall be coordinated with and made in conjunction with federal requirements in a single environmental reporting procedure.
    2. Federal report. Where the agency does not participate, as above defined, in the preparation of the federal environmental impact statement or in preparation or submission of materials relating thereto, no further report under this article is required and the federal environmental impact statement, duly prepared, shall suffice for the purpose of this article.
    3. State and local coordination.  Necessary compliance by state or local agencies with the requirements of this article shall be coordinated in accordance with section 8-0107 and with other requirements of law in the interests of expedited proceedings and prompt review.
    4. Effective date of coordinated reporting. The requirements of this section with regard to coordinated preparation of federal and state impact materials and reporting shall not apply to statements prepared and filed prior to the effective date of this article.
    5. Exclusions. The requirements of subdivision two of section 8-0109 of this article shall not apply to: (a) Actions undertaken or approved prior to the effective date of this article, except: (i) In the case of an action where it is still practicable either to modify the action in such a way as to mitigate potentially adverse environmental effects or to choose a feasible and less environmentally damaging alternative, in which case the commissioner may, at the request of any person or on his own motion, in a particular case, or generally in one or more classes of cases specified in rules and regulations, require the preparation of an environmental impact statement pursuant to this article; or (ii) In the case of an action where the responsible agency proposes a modification of the action and the modification may result in a  significant adverse effect on the environment, in which case an environmental impact statement shall be prepared with respect to such modification. *(b) Actions subject to the provisions requiring a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need in articles seven, eight and ten of the public service law * NB Effective until January 1, 2003; or *(b) Actions  subject to the provisions requiring a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need in articles seven and eight of the public service law * NB Effective January 1, 2003; or 
(c) Actions subject to the class A or class B regional project jurisdiction of the Adirondack park agency or a local government pursuant to section eight hundred seven, eight hundred eight or eight hundred nine of the executive law, except class B regional projects subject to review by local government pursuant to section eight hundred seven of the executive law located within the Lake George park as defined by subdivision one of section 43-0103 of this chapter.
    
6. Lead Agency. When an action is to be carried out or approved by two or more agencies, the determination of whether the action may have a significant effect on the environment shall be made by the lead agency having principal responsibility for carrying out or approving such action and such agency shall prepare, or cause to be prepared by contract or otherwise, the environmental impact statement for the action if such a statement is required by this article. In the event that there is a question as to which is the lead agency, any agency may submit the question to the commissioner and the commissioner shall designate the lead agency, giving due consideration to the capacity of such agency to fulfill adequately the requirements of this article.

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Section
  8-0113 Rules and regulations.
    1. After consultation with the other agencies subject to the provisions of this article, including state agencies and representatives of local governments and after conducting public hearings and review of any other comments submitted, the commissioner shall adopt rules and regulations implementing the provisions of this article within one hundred and twenty days after the effective date of  this section.
    2. The rules and regulations adopted by the commissioner specifically shall include:
  (a) Definition of terms used in this article;  (b) Criteria for determining whether or not a proposed action may have a significant effect on the environment, taking into account social and economic factors to be considered in determining the significance of an environmental effect;  (c) Identification on the basis of such criteria of: (i) Actions or classes of actions that are likely to require preparation of environmental impact statements;(ii) Actions or classes of actions which have been determined not to have a significant effect on the environment and which do not require environmental impact statements under this article.  In adopting the rules and regulations, the commissioner shall make a finding that each action or class of actions identified does not have a significant effect on the environment; (d) Typical associated environmental effects, and methods for assessing such effects, of actions determined to be likely to require preparation of environmental impact statements; (e) Categorization of actions which are or may be primarily of statewide, regional, or local concern, with provisions for technical assistance including the preparation or review of environmental impact statements, if requested, in connection with environmental impact review by local agencies.  (f) Provision for the filing and circulation of draft environmental impact statements pursuant to subdivision four of section 8-0109, and environmental impact statements pursuant to subdivision six of section 8-0109; (g) Scope, content, filing and availability of findings required to be made pursuant to subdivision eight of section 8-0109; (h) Form and content of and level of detail required for an environmental impact statement; and (i) Procedures for obtaining comments on draft environmental impact statements, holding hearings, providing public notice of agency decisions with respect to preparation of a draft environmental statement; and for such other matters as may be needed to assure effective participation by the public and efficient and expeditious administration of the article. (j) Procedure for providing applicants with estimates, when requested, of the costs expected to be charged them pursuant to subdivision seven of section 8-0109 of this article.  (k) Appeals procedure for the settlement of disputed costs charged by state agencies to applicants pursuant to subdivision seven of section 8-0109 of this article. Such appeal procedure shall not interfere or cause delay in the determination of environmental significance or prohibit an action from being undertaken. (l) A model assessment form to be used during the initial review to assist an agency in its responsibilities under this article.
    3. Within the time periods specified in section 8-0117 of this article the agencies subject to this article shall, after public hearing, adopt and publish such additional procedures as may be necessary for the implementation by them of this article consistent with the rules and regulations adopted by the commissioner. (a) Existing agency environmental procedures may be incorporated in and integrated with the procedures adopted under this article, and variance in form alone shall constitute no objection thereto. Such individual agency procedures shall be no less protective of environmental values, public participation, and agency and judicial review than the procedures herein mandated. (b) Such agency procedures shall provide for interagency working relationships in cases where actions typically involve more than one agency, liaison with the public, and such other procedures as may be required to effect the efficient and expeditious administration of this article.

    
4. Coordination with agricultural districts program. The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of agriculture and markets, shall amend the regulations promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this section as necessary and appropriate to assure the adequate consideration of impacts of public acquisitions, or the advancement of public monies for non-farm development on lands used in agricultural production and unique and irreplaceable agricultural lands within agricultural districts in accordance with the provisions of subdivision four of section three hundred five of the agriculture and markets law.

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Section
  8-0115 Severability. 
The provisions of this article shall be severable, and if any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision or part of this article shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.

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Section
  8-0117  Phased implementation.
    
1. With respect to the actions directly undertaken by any state agency, the requirement of an environmental impact statement pursuant to subdivision two of section 8-0109 of this article shall take effect on the first day of September, nineteen hundred seventy-six.
   
2. With respect to actions or classes of actions identified by the department as likely to require preparation of environmental impact statements pursuant to subparagraph (i) of paragraph (c) of subdivision two of section 8-0113 of this article directly undertaken by any local agency, whether or not such actions are supported in whole or in part through contracts, grants, subsidies, loans, or other forms of funding assistance from one or more state agency; and all other actions or classes of actions identified by the department as likely to require preparation of environmental impact statements pursuant to subparagraph (i) of paragraph (c) of subdivision two of section 8-0113 of this article supported  in whole or in part through contracts, grants, subsidies, loans, or other forms of funding assistance from one or  more state  agency, the requirement of an environmental impact statement pursuant to subdivision two of section 8-0109 of this article shall take effect on the first day of June, nineteen hundred seventy-seven.
   
3. With respect to actions or classes of actions identified by the department as likely to require preparation of environmental impact statements pursuant to subparagraph (i) of paragraph (c) of subdivision two of section 8-0113 of this article supported in whole or in part through contracts, grants, subsidies, loans, or other forms of funding assistance from one or more local agency; and with respect to actions or classes of actions identified by the department as likely to require preparation of environmental impact statements pursuant to  subparagraph (i) of paragraph (c) of  subdivision two of section 8-0113 of this article involving  the  issuance to a person of a lease, permit, certificate  or other entitlement for use or permission to act by one or more state or local agency, the requirement of an environmental impact statement pursuant to subdivision two of section 8-0109 of this article shall take effect on the  first day of September, nineteen hundred seventy-seven.
   
4. With respect to all other actions not included in subdivision two or three of this section which are subject to this article, the requirement of an environmental impact statement pursuant to subdivision two of section 8-0109 of this article shall take effect on the first day of November, nineteen hundred seventy-eight.
   
5. Agencies subject to this article shall adopt and publish the additional necessary procedures described in subdivision three of section 8-0113 of this article, as follows: (a) With respect to actions included within subdivision one of this section, no later than August 1, 1976. (b) With respect to actions included within subdivision two of this section, no later than April 1, 1977. (c) With respect to actions included within subdivision three of this section, no later than July 1, 1977. (d) With respect to actions included within subdivision four of this section, no later than November 1, 1978.
    
Any agency which has not adopted and published the additional necessary procedures described in subdivisions two and three of section 8-0113 of this article according to the dates set forth in this section shall utilize those procedures found in Part 617 of title six (environmental conservation) of the official compilation of the codes, rules and regulations of the state of New York for purposes of implementing this article until such time as such agency has adopted and published its own procedures.


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