On January 25, 2012, the New York State (NYS) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted revised model environmental assessment forms (EAFs). This was the first major update to the Full EAF (FEAF) since 1978 and to the Short EAF (SEAF) since its last revision in 1987. These revised model EAFs are set out in Appendices A and B of 6 NYCRR 617.20.
The new forms are designed to reflect changes in environmental concerns that have occurred since the previous forms were last published. In addition to changes in their content, the structure of the forms was also updated to make them easier to use. During development of the new Short and Full EAF's, some concerns were raised about the level of detail needed to complete the new forms. As a result, the DEC has developed this website to provide instructions, background information, links to maps and illustrations, and additional guidance for completing the forms. The information provided within this website is generally referred to as the SEAF and FEAF "Workbooks".
Scope of the Workbooks
The focus of these Workbooks is only on the Environmental Assessment Forms (EAFs) themselves. They are not meant to be an aid to the entire SEQR process. The EAFs are described in the NYS Regulations Chapter VI - §617.2(m).
The Workbooks have been prepared to assist applicants, project sponsors and reviewing agencies in the completion of the EAF. Note that nothing in this workbook, particularly the guidance offered in Part 2 and 3 is found in regulation. While the EAF's need to be completed according to the Part 617 regulations, determination of impacts, or interpretation on the size or significance of an impact is at the discretion of the reviewing agency. The Workbooks are not required to be used during a SEQR process. They should be considered as helpful guidance documents that contain background information, links to data and maps, and answers to questions that a reviewing agency may have. They should be considered source books to assist and guide applicants and reviewers involved in a SEQR review.
"The environmental assessment form (EAF) is a form used by an agency to assist it in determining the environmental significance or non-significance of actions. A properly completed EAF must contain enough information to describe the proposed action, its location, its purpose, and its potential impacts on the environment..."
Use of these Workbooks begins when an agency determines an action is either a Type I or an Unlisted Action. That classification will determine whether the FEAF or the SEAF is to be used.
The flow chart identified as Figure 1(adapted from the SEQR Cookbook - PDF) outlines the scope of these workbooks. While we cover all of the items shown to some extent, the items shaded red are our primary focus.
The scope and use of these Workbooks ends at the point the lead agency makes either a positive or negative determination of significance. In general, the Workbooks contain instructions, background related to each question, and links to spatial data, maps, and illustrations. The website also includes a glossary of words used in the EAF's, and assistance on where additional information helpful to each question can be found.
A more thorough description of what's included in the Workbooks and how to use them can be found on the How to use this website page.
Where to find more information
If, after you have explored the on-line information, you still have questions or need clarification on some aspect of the SEQR process or use of the EAF, feel free to contact us. Questions may be directed by e-mail to [email protected]. Please include "EAF WORKBOOKS" or "SEQR QUESTION" in the subject line.
For projects located in NYC:
Actions located in the 5 boroughs of New York City will likely receive an environmental review under the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) process in lieu of SEQR. CEQR has its own set of environmental assessment forms and a technical manual to provide guidance for City agencies, project sponsors, and the public on the procedures and substance of the City's environmental review process. If your action is located in New York City or is subject to a permit or approval from a New York City agency you should contact the agency to determine which environmental review process and forms will be used. More information on CEQR can be found on the NYC Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination webpage.
In addition, other agencies, such as the NYS Department of Health, may have their own SEQR requirements and need for supplementary information. Applicants should be aware that other agencies involved in their project may have additional permit approval requirements. Lead agency and other reviewing agencies should also make themselves aware of these circumstances.
Continue to How to use the EAF Workbooks