senate Bill S321

Requires environmental impact statements to consider cumulative effects of an action

download pdf

Sponsor

Co-Sponsors

Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
view actions

actions

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Summary

Requires environmental impact statements to consider cumulative effects of an action for projects in communities already experiencing the impact by polluting facilities; defines "cumulative environmental impacts".

do you support this bill?

Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A300
Versions:
S321
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Environmental Conservation
Law Section:
Environmental Conservation Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยงยง8-0109 & 8-0105, En Con L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S7272, A815
2009-2010: A840, S843, A840
2007-2008: A1009, A1009

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S321

TITLE OF BILL: REVISED 12/10/12
An act
to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the
requirement for an environmental impact statement

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL:
The purpose of this bill is to ensure that lead agencies consider the
cumulative effects of a proposed action when an environmental impact
statement (EIS) is performed during the state Environmental Quality
Review Act (SEQRA) process.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
This bill would add a new provision to environmental impact statement
preparation under SEQRA requiring an analysis of cumulative
environmental impacts of a proposed action, including efforts to
minimize such impacts.
Under the bill cumulative environmental impacts would be defined as
impacts that may occur when a proposed action or actions:

* May result in changes in two or more elements of the environment;
* When considered together with one or more pending or proposed
actions, may result in changes in one or more common elements of the
environment;
* Will result in one or more other actions likely to be undertaken as
a result thereof;
* Is a part of a proposal or plan that includes or contemplates one or
more other simultaneous or subsequent actions;
* Is dependent upon approval or completion of one or more other actions;
* Is a plan, program, or series of actions that will restrict the
range of future alternatives, policies, or actions;
* When considered together with existing or background levels of
contamination or pollution or actions which have had an adverse
effect on the environment, may result in combined or synergistic
impacts on the environment; or
* A combination of one or more of the above.
* Such impacts would be considered without regard to whether the
action or actions are proposed by the same individual, person, or
agency, or whether the action is pending for approval by one or more
agencies.

JUSTIFICATION:
The decision whether or not to prepare an EIS should not be made in
isolation from existing community pollution levels or a previous
decision requiring that an EIS be prepared for the project when it
was proposed in another location. Nonetheless, EIS's have not been
required by the department even though these factors are
significantly present.
No EIS was required to be prepared by New York City or the Department
of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital
Regulated Medical Waste Incinerator. This was apparently an important
part because the standards and various environmental and risk
assessment studies were performed to the satisfaction of DEe. This is
unacceptable.


A number of contaminant-emitting facilities are already located in the
affected community, and no analysis was prepared and circulated to
the public about existing pollution levels in the community and the
cumulative impact of these and the new facility. A primary purpose of
an EIS is to present pertinent information to the public for its
scrutiny and comment. The environmental and risk assessment data
developed should have been released to the public as part of an EIS
process.
Adding additional consternation to the public in the case in question
is that an EIS was required for a similar type of facility located in
a rural area of the State.
Presently, a project which is required to have an EIS prepared when
proposed at a location in one DEC region is able to move its project
to another DEC region and avoid such a requirement. This happened in
the case of a transformer incinerator first proposed for relocation
within Region 3 which then moved to Region 4. Region 4 staff also
recommended that an EIS be prepared, but this was changed by regional
and headquarters DEC office staff apparently as a result of
intervention requested by the applicant.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
Senate:
2011-2012 - S.7272 - Referred to Environmental Conservation
Assembly:
2009-2010 - A.840 - Referred to Environmental Conservation/S.843 -
Referred to Environmental Conservation
2007-2008 - A.1009 - Referred to Environmental Conservation
2005-2006 - A.1423- Advanced to 3rd
Reading Cal. 411/S.3131- Referred to Environmental Conservation
2003-04 - A.2847 - Advanced to 3rd Reading Cal. 599/S.2988- Referred to
Environmental Conservation
2001-2002 - A.1328- Passed Assembly/S.2410 Referred to Environmental
Conservation

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

This bill could lead to preparation of some additional environmental
impact statements with associated lead agency review costs.
Preparation costs are usually borne by project applicants.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the 180th day with provisions.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   321

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. AVELLA, MONTGOMERY -- read twice and ordered print-
  ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental
  Conservation

AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation  to  the
  requirement for an environmental impact statement

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Paragraphs (b) and (f) of subdivision 2 of  section  8-0109
of  the environmental conservation law, as amended by chapter 219 of the
laws of 1990, are amended and a new paragraph (e-1) is added to read  as
follows:
  (b)  the  environmental impact of the proposed action including short-
term [and], long-term AND CUMULATIVE effects;
  (E-1) AN ANALYSIS OF  THE  CUMULATIVE  ENVIRONMENTAL  IMPACTS  OF  THE
PROPOSED PROJECT;
  (f) mitigation measures proposed to minimize the environmental impact,
INCLUDING CUMULATIVE EFFECTS;
  S  2.  Section 8-0105 of the environmental conservation law is amended
by adding a new subdivision 9 to read as follows:
  9. "CUMULATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS" MEANS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS THAT
MAY OCCUR WHEN A PROPOSED ACTION OR ACTIONS:
  (I) MAY RESULT IN CHANGES IN TWO OR MORE ELEMENTS OF THE ENVIRONMENT;
  (II) WHEN CONSIDERED TOGETHER WITH ONE OR  MORE  PENDING  OR  PROPOSED
ACTIONS,  MAY  RESULT  IN  CHANGES IN ONE OR MORE COMMON ELEMENTS OF THE
ENVIRONMENT;
  (III) WILL RESULT IN ONE OR MORE OTHER ACTIONS LIKELY TO BE UNDERTAKEN
AS A RESULT THEREOF;
  (IV) IS A PART OF A PROPOSAL OR PLAN THAT INCLUDES OR CONTEMPLATES ONE
OR MORE OTHER SIMULTANEOUS OR SUBSEQUENT ACTIONS;

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02659-01-3

S. 321                              2

  (V) IS DEPENDENT UPON APPROVAL OR COMPLETION  OF  ONE  OR  MORE  OTHER
ACTIONS;
  (VI)  IS A PROGRAM OR PLAN HAVING WIDE APPLICATION OR IS A PART THERE-
OF;
  (VII) IS A PLAN, PROGRAM, OR SERIES OF ACTIONS THAT WILL RESTRICT  THE
RANGE OF FUTURE ALTERNATIVES, POLICIES, OR ACTIONS;
  (VIII)  WHEN CONSIDERED TOGETHER WITH EXISTING OR BACKGROUND LEVELS OF
CONTAMINATION OR POLLUTION OR ACTIONS WHICH HAVE HAD AN  ADVERSE  EFFECT
ON THE ENVIRONMENT, MAY RESULT IN COMBINED OR SYNERGISTIC IMPACTS ON THE
ENVIRONMENT; OR
  (IX) A COMBINATION OF ONE OR MORE OF THE ABOVE.
  CUMULATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS SHALL BE CONSIDERED WITHOUT REGARD TO
WHETHER  THE  ACTION  OR  ACTIONS  ARE  PROPOSED BY THE SAME INDIVIDUAL,
PERSON, OR AGENCY, OR WHETHER THE ACTION IS PENDING FOR APPROVAL BY  ONE
OR MORE AGENCIES.
  S  3.    This  act  shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day
after it shall have become a law; provided, however that effective imme-
diately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation
necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective  date  are
authorized  and  directed  to  be  made  and completed on or before such
effective date.

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.