The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) was enacted in 1975 in order to declare a state policy which encourages "productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment." SEQRA commanded agencies to fulfill it policies and goals, and established a new layer of procedures to be followed as a prerequisite to permit issuance where the proposed action may have a significant affect on the environment. Further, SEQRA directed the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to adopt rules and regulations to implement these policies, with which state and local agencies must comply. In particular, before a person may undertake any action which changes the use or appearance of any natural resource, he must obtain approvals or permits from state or local agencies. Although there is a great deal of distribution of responsibilities, tasks, and burdens among the participants in the New york State review/permit request process, this system is necessary in fulfilling SEQRA's goals.
Gerald M. Levine,
The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act of 1975: An Analysis of the Parties' Responsibilities in the Review/Permit Request Process,
12 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ulj/vol12/iss1/1