Section 97.9 - Environmental impact statement procedures

97.9 Environmental impact statement procedures.

(a) The department shall, when it is lead agency for an action involving an applicant, and has determined that an EIS is required, immediately notify the applicant and all other involved agencies, in accordance with section 97.11 of this Part, in writing, that it is the lead agency and that an EIS is required. If the applicant does not exercise its option to prepare the draft EIS, the department shall prepare it, cause it to be prepared or terminate its review of the action.

(b) When the applicant prepares the draft EIS, the draft EIS shall be submitted to the department, if it is lead agency, which shall determine whether to accept it as satisfactory with respect to its scope, content and adequacy for purposes of this Part.

(c) The department, if it is lead agency, and has completed a draft EIS or has accepted a draft EIS prepared by an applicant, shall file a notice of completion of the draft EIS and a copy of the draft EIS in accordance with the requirements set forth in section 97.11 of this Part. The department shall specify a commenting period on the draft EIS, to be not less than 30 calendar days.

(d) When the department, if it is lead agency, has completed a draft EIS or when it has accepted a draft EIS prepared by an applicant, it will determine whether or not to conduct a public hearing concerning the action. In determining whether or not to hold a hearing, the department shall consider the degree of interest shown by other persons in the action, and the extent to which a public hearing can aid the agency decision making processes by providing a forum for, or an efficient mechanism for the collection of, public comment.

(1) If a hearing is to be held, the department shall file the notice thereof in accordance with section 97.11 of this Part. Such notice may be contained in the notice of completion of the draft EIS. The notice of hearing shall also be published, at least 14 calendar days in advance of the public hearing, in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the potential impacts and effect of the action.

(2) The hearing shall commence not less than 15 calendar days nor more than 60 calendar days after the filing of the draft EIS pursuant to section 97.11 of this Part. When a SEQR hearing is to be held, it shall be incorporated into existing hearing procedures wherever practicable.

(e) Except as provided in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subdivision, the department, if it is lead agency, shall prepare or cause to be prepared a final EIS, within 45 calendar days after the close of any hearing or within 60 calendar days after the filing of the draft EIS, whichever last occurs.

(1) If the proposed action has been withdrawn or if, on the basis of the draft EIS or hearing, the department, if it is lead agency, has determined that the action will not have a significant effect on the environment, no final EIS need be prepared. Notice of such determination shall be filed in accordance with section 97.11 of this Part.

(2) The last date for preparation of the final EIS may be extended:

(i) where it is determined that additional time is necessary to prepare the statement adequately;

(ii) where problems with the proposed action requiring material reconsideration or modification have been identified; or

(iii) for other good cause.

(f) Notice of completion of the final EIS and copies of the final EIS shall be filed in accordance with section 97.11 of this Part.
 

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