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State Environmental Quality Review

The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) is New York State’s fundamental environmental protection law, and can be found in 6 NYCRR §617. It requires government agencies to consider the potential environmental impacts of actions they propose before making decisions to take or fund those actions.

The goal of SEQR is to avoid or limit possible negative impacts on the environment from proposed actions. SEQR requires the sponsoring or approving agencies to identify and mitigate the significant environmental impacts of the activity it is proposing.

From 6 NYCRR §617.1(c):

“The basic purpose of SEQR is to incorporate the consideration of environmental factors into the existing planning, review and decision-making processes… SEQR requires that all agencies determine whether the actions they directly undertake, fund or approve may have a significant impact on the environment, and, if it is determined that the action may have a significant adverse impact, prepare, or request an environmental impact statement.”

SEQR and UB

Building UB: the Comprehensive Physical Plan was classified as a Type I Action (see glossary) under the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). Because several agencies were involved in the SEQR process, SUNY and UB sought lead agency status for the project. A full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) was completed and sent to involved agencies, commencing a coordinated review of the Comprehensive Physical Plan. SUNY and UB were established as lead agency in September 2008 and have made a Determination of Significance for the plan’s environmental impacts.

The Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for the Comprehensive Physical Plan is now complete. Involved and interested agencies, faculty, staff and students, as well as the public have been involved in the SEQR process. UB’s Comprehensive Physical Plan was unveiled on Nov. 19, 2008. A public scoping meeting was held Jan. 22, 2009 to solicit comments on the draft scope of work for the GEIS. The draft scope of work later was finalized and used to generate the draft and then the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement.

The public comment period for the draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement went from November 2nd, 2011 through December 12th, 2011. A copy of the draft and final GEIS can be downloaded below. The University at Buffalo also held a public hearing on November 29th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) - 700 Ellicott Street. Buffalo, NY. There will also be hard copies of the Final GEIS available in the following locations:

  • The Central Library of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries at 1 Lafayette Square in Downtown Buffalo
  • The Health Sciences Library in Abbott Hall on the South Campus
  • Oscar A. Silverman Library in Capen Hall on the North Campus

All substantive comments that were received in writing or via the public hearing have been responded to and incorporated in the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) and in accordance with 6 NYCRR Part 617.8, SUNY/UB has accepted the FGEIS. Please see and download the FGEIS below:

Findings Statement

This document is the Statement of Findings issued by UB pursuant to its responsibilities as Lead Agency under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (ECL Article 8 and its implementing regulations at 6 N.Y.C.R.R. § 617.11 “SEQRA”). This document represents the conclusion of the environmental review of the Proposed Action. UB has acted as Lead Agency in evaluating the environmental, economic, and social implications of the Proposed Action. Under SEQRA, the Lead Agency is the governmental body “principally responsible for undertaking, funding or approving an action, and therefore responsible for determining whether an environmental impact statement is required in connection with the action, and for the preparation and filing of the statement if one is required.”

Under the SEQRA regulations, this Findings Statement attests to the fact that UB has given due consideration to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement and other documents prepared in conjunction with the SEQRA process, as well as the comments from other agencies and the public.  Further, this Findings Statement considers and balances the relevant environmental impacts with “social, economic and other considerations” so as to provide a basis for any determinations made herein on the Proposed Action (6 NYCRR § 617.11(d)).

Draft GEIS Documents

Below is an archive of the Draft GEIS documents.