State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) Basics

Course Overview

This introduction to the State Environmental Quality Review Act includes an overview of the environmental assessment form (EAF), Type I, Type II, and Unlisted actions and the sequence of making a positive or negative declaration on a project’s potential to have an adverse impact on the environment. The relationship between the administration of local regulations and SEQR will also be discussed.

This course is 1.5 hours in length.

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Text Version of the Course (pdf)

NOTE: Online courses are not available for in-service credit for code enforcement officers, continuing legal education credit for attorneys, or certification maintenance credit for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Some courses will produce a certificate at the end, and others will only produce your quiz results. The quiz results page should be used as proof of your training.


Resources Provided by DOS

Department of Environmental Conservation Resources

Glossary of Terms Specific to the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act

SEQR Regulations

The SEQR “Home Page”

SEQR Forms and Online Mapper

SEQR Handbook

A practical reference guide to the procedures prescribed by the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR)--Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law. It addresses common questions that arise during the process of applying SEQR. The Handbook also attempts to address the needs of individuals who have varying degrees of experience with SEQR. Topics range from an introduction to the basic SEQR process to discussions of important procedural and substantive details.

SEQR EAF Workbooks
These 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 EAFs 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 but 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 and source books to assist and guide applicants and reviewers involved in a SEQR review.

Notable Court Cases Involving SEQR
This chapter of the “SEQR Handbook” contains brief summaries of some important court determinations regarding the SEQR process. It is not a comprehensive listing of all SEQR court decisions, but these summaries should give the reader an idea of how the courts of the state and, in particular, the Court of Appeals, have interpreted SEQRA since its implementation.

DEC Commissioner Decisions on Local Agency Disputes
In a coordinated review under SEQR, there are times when the involved agencies are not able to agree which one of them will become the lead agency. When this happens, any of the involved agencies or the project sponsor can request the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation to designate a lead agency.

Online Training Help

What should I expect?
At the beginning of each course there is a short pre-test.  Some courses may also include some knowledge checks in the body of the course as well.  At the end of the course the student is given the option to take a final quiz and  print out a personalized “certificate of completion.” The student may opt to skip the final quiz and advance to the end of the course, but in that scenario a certificate of completion will not be available.

How much time will it take to complete each course?
The courses range from between one and two hours long.  Links to reference materials, such as New York State statutes, and Department of State land use publications and legal memoranda are offered throughout each of the courses.  The linked materials supplement what is discussed in the course.

To access these links, you will need to turn off your browser’s pop-up blocker. You may also access these links or download documents from the webpage for each course. Students are encouraged to view these materials to get a better understanding of the subject matter.  In depth review and study of the materials may add additional time for course completion.

Will I receive a certificate of completion for each course I take?
For each course you have the option of completing a final quiz.  At the end of the quiz, you may enter your name as directed and print off a certificate of completion. The certificate will indicate the percentage of the questions you answered correctly.  Each municipality may determine what percentage would constitute a passing score, and whether a certificate of completion is even necessary. A certificate of completion is not available if you do not take the final quiz.

What types of “training credit” do these courses offer?
The courses may satisfy a portion of a planning board or zoning board of appeals member’s annual training requirement as set forth by the municipality.  If deemed locally as an acceptable form of training, we suggest that students present to their municipalities a printed copy of their test results upon completion of each course.

How do I register for the courses?
We do not require that you register for our online courses.  You may simply go to the course homepage and open up the course. They are available 24 hours a day, unless the website is down for maintenance. If you need to exit a course without completing it, you should be able to resume the course where you left off when using the same computer.