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New York Environmental Legal Research Guide: State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)

A legal resource guide for information relating to New York State and New York City environmental law including primary and secondary source materials, quick links, and database resources.


The State of New York passed the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR or SEQRA)[1] in 1975,[2] in order to "establish[ ] a process to systematically consider environmental factors early in the planning stages of actions that are directly undertaken, funded or approved by local, regional and state agencies." [3].  Modeled after the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969[4], SEQRA, a "little NEPA," is primarily a procedural statute that requires a stepped process in order to determine whether or not a proposed governmental action will or will not have an impact on the environment.[5].

[1] In practice the abbreviations for the Act (SEQRA and SEQR) are used interchangeably. For the purposes of this guide the term "SEQRA" will be used throughout.

[2] N.Y. Envtl. Conserv. Law §§ 5 8-0101 to -0117 (McKinney 2005).

[3] New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, SEQRA Handbook 3 (3d ed. 2010).

[4] National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Pub. L. No. 91-190, 83 Stat. 852 (1970) (codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 4231-4347).

[5] Nicholas A. Robinson, SEQRA's Siblings: Precedents from Little NEPA's in the Sister States, 46 Albany L. Rev. 1155 (1982). For a historical perspective on SEQRA see Patricia Salkin, SEQRA's Silver Anniversary: Reviewing the Past, Considering the Present, and Charting the Future, 65 Albany L. Rev. 225 (2002) (reprinted).  For a discussion of SEQRA's challenges see also John R. Nolon and Jessica A. Bacher, SEQRA Challenges: Court Creates New Rule on Statute of Limitations, N.Y.L.J., Feb. 18, 2004, at 5.



SEQRA Flow Chart

Quick Links

Legislative History of SEQRA

SEQRA in the News