New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) is the centerpiece of environmental decision-making in the state. It requires state and local agencies to prepare environmental impact statements (EISs) for actions that could significantly affect the environment. SEQRA has become the principal framework for the identification and mitigation of environmental impacts.
The text of SEQRA provides that EISs should discuss the "effects of the proposed action on the use and conservation of energy resources, where applicable and significant." EISs under SEQRA are also required to consider, among many other things, a project's effects on air pollution. Since the main source of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is the use of energy, and also since the most important GHG, carbon dioxide, has been declared by the U.S. Supreme Court to be an air pollutant, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which is responsible for promulgating the statewide regulations under SEQRA, would seem to have ample authority to require consideration of climate change in EISs.
Environmental Law | Law
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Michael B. Gerrard,
SEQRA and Climate Change,
Gov't L. & Pol'y J.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/3850