Environment Committee Update
March 8, 2016

Contact: Darren Suarez

DEC Proposes SEQRA Amendments

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will shortly be issuing a revised 6 NYCRR § 617. The DEC has been working to revise the SEQRA regulations since 2012. The proposed amendments will be the first changes to 6 NYCRR § 617 since 1996. In 2013 the DEC issued new Environmental Assessment Forms (EAFs) and related workbooks that went into effect on October 7, of 2013.

The DEC has proposed to expand the Type I Actions to include more actions as significant adverse impact on the environment; include more actions as Type II actions (actions that do not require any further SEQR review) and amendments to the EIS process.

The proposed amendments reflect an interest by the administration to improve SEQRA a little and encourage the right type of projects so they don’t have to go through SEQR. Unfortunately, the proposed amendments to § 617 will do little to address the problems with SEQR which has been abused to produce costly delays and uncertainty for businesses, not-for-profits, and governments.

Once the proposed changes are published the Business Council Environment Committee will share the details with the membership and schedule a committee meeting to discuss the proposed changes and the Business Council’s response. The following is a link to a presentation shared which was shared with stakeholders.  Below is a list of the proposed Type I and Type II changes:

Type I changes

Type II changes

Comprehensive Revisions to 6NYCRR Part 360 Solid Waste Management Facilities Regulations

The revisions proposed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are comprehensive revision to Part 360. The last comprehensive revisions to the regulations governing solid waste management in New York State occurred in 1993. The revisions include technical amendments and clarifications, as well as updated criteria due to legal and policy developments.

The revisions include measures to improve the state’s regulations over facilities that handle solid waste, including facilities that manage recyclable materials, waste transfer stations, landfills and biohazard waste facilities, among others. In addition, previously unregulated facilities, including mulch processing facilities will now be regulated. The regulations will also increase oversight of construction and demolition debris and historic fill.

The complete regulations can be viewed at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/81768.html

The environment committee will shortly schedule a webinar to review and discuss the revision of Part 360. The committee based upon member input will draft a response to Part 360. The DEC has scheduled public hearings in June (Long Island 6/2, Albany 6/6, Rochester 6/7). The public comment period is scheduled to end July 15.

DEC Adds perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to the list of hazardous substances.

PFOA has been used in many industrial applications, including the manufacture of consumer products such as non-stick cookware, all-weather clothing, stain-resistant carpeting, thread-sealing tape, and dental floss. It also has been used as a surface-active agent in a variety of products, such as fire-fighting foams, coating additives, and cleaning products (United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) “Emerging Contaminants Fact Sheet – PFOS and PFOA,” March 2014, where PFOS is perfluorooctane sulfonate).

DEC issued the emergency rule based, in part, upon the conclusion of the New York State Department of Health that the environmental presence, persistence, toxicity, improper treatment, storage, transport, and disposal of PFOA pose a threat to public health in New York State. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has also classified this substance as an emerging contaminant that is extremely persistent in the environment and resistant to typical environmental degradation processes.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) Announces 13th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards - Applications Accepted Through April 8, 2016

NYS DEC is now accepting applications for the 2016 NYS Environmental Excellence Awards program The 2016 Application Brochure and "Tips for Applicants" document are available on NYS DEC's website:

The awards are given annually in recognition of outstanding, innovative and sustainable projects or programs and unique partnerships that contribute to a healthier environment and economy. Award winners are an elite group of committed organizations leading by example and serve as models of excellence within their industry and community. Benefits of receiving an award include statewide recognition and visibility for environmental leadership, and increased marketing, promotional and networking opportunities.

Eligible applicants include:

To be eligible, a project must be in New York State; result in measurable environmental and economic benefits beyond what could have been achieved by using standard techniques or complying with regulatory requirements; be initiated within the past three years and be fully operational for at least 12 months. Applicants must be in compliance with New York Environmental Conservation Law and all applicable permits and local laws.

Review criteria will include an assessment of: environmental benefits; economic benefits; innovative approach of the project; advancement of sustainability; how creative partnerships were created or strengthened by the project; demonstration of commitment, leadership and environmental excellence, demonstration of transferability and the demonstration that practices go beyond standard techniques or compliance requirements.

Examples of the kinds of projects NYS DEC is especially interested in showcasing include, but are not limited to, innovative projects that achieve significant environmental benefits through state-of-the-art:

DEC Publishes 2016 Regulatory Agenda

The DEC published its 2016 Regulatory Agenda which identifies regulatory changes DEC may pursue in the upcoming year. A partial list of items on the agenda include: