They Call it SEQR
New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) subjects virtually all residential, commercial, and industrial developments to a comprehensive environmental impact review. The law defines the word “environment” so broadly as to include “existing neighborhood and community character,” costing the state thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost economic development opportunities. Governor Cuomo should act to loosen the strictures of SEQR.
The Facts You Need to Know
Red Tape: The 4,790-word SEQR statute has spawned 16,850 words of regulations and a 88,000-word, 211 page “SEQR Handbook.” Read more.
Church Lurch: A congregation in Westchester County was blocked for 14 years by SEQR review from building a new facility on its own property, until a federal court ruled that local authorities opposed to the church had “illegitimately” abused the process. Read more.
Later, Data: Verizon planned to invest more than $2 billion in a data center in Niagara County in 2010 but pulled out when it became clear that SEQR review would take too much time. Read more.
“Does SEQR work as intended in NYS? Is it an unfunded mandate, or a useful tool for planners to protect communities?”
The Past is Present
“Last week, the California Energy Commission approved a groundbreaking series of efficiency standards for televisions, the first time government at any level in the United States has meddled in the details of how our boob tubes are made. The new rules set maximum power-consumption standards for TVs of up to 58 inches, starting in 2011 and becoming considerably tighter in 2013, and prohibit California retailers from selling sets that break the rules.”
And in other news...
“The great rush for housing permits in New York City to lock in the lucrative 421-a tax break for apartment buildings gave way to a precipitous decline in July. The number of permits issued that month fell by 90% from June, according to statistics released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.”