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SEQRA SERIES, PART 5 - Scoping and Preparing the Draft EIS

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The next steps in the SEQRA process involve scoping and preparing the Draft EIS (DEIS). Scoping is an essential step in the SEQRA process, aimed at identifying the significant environmental issues that need to be addressed in the DEIS. This process ensures that the DEIS is concise and focused on significant environmental impacts, avoiding the inclusion of unnecessary or irrelevant information.

Scoping the Draft EIS

Scoping often begins once it is determined that an action will have a significant adverse environmental impact, necessitating the preparation of a DEIS. The lead agency initiates scoping by either developing a draft scope or inviting other involved agencies and the public to participate in scoping.

The purpose of scoping is to identify the issues noted in the DEIS, to eliminate irrelevant or insignificant issues, identify reasonable alternatives, identify mitigation measures, focus in on the potentially significant adverse environmental impacts, and provide the public with an opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

Based on feedback received, the lead agency finalizes the scope of the DEIS. The final scope outlines the significant issues to be addressed, methodologies for analyzing impacts, and the content and organization of the DEIS. This document guides the preparation of the DEIS and ensures that it is comprehensive and focused on significant environmental impacts. The lead agency has 60 days to supply a final written scope to any applicants involved in the action.

Preparing the Draft EIS

The preparation of the DEIS is a detailed process that involves analyzing the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives, as outlined in the finalized scope.

The project sponsor or lead agency drafts the DEIS, addressing all areas of concern identified in the scoping process. This includes describing the proposed action, its purpose, potential environmental impacts, and mitigation measures to minimize adverse impacts.

The DEIS must contain several key components, including:

  1. a description of the proposed action,
  2. a description of the environmental setting,
  3. identification of potential environmental impacts,
  4. an evaluation of alternatives, and
  5. proposed mitigation measures.

The analysis should be thorough and based on reliable data, providing a basis for informed decision-making.

A crucial part of the DEIS is the consideration of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action. Alternatives should be evaluated for their potential to avoid or reduce adverse environmental impacts. This comparison helps ensure that the proposed action is the most appropriate option considering environmental, social, and economic factors.


The scoping and preparation of the DEIS are critical steps in the SEQRA process, ensuring that environmental impacts are carefully considered and addressed. Through public participation and a detailed analysis of potential impacts and alternatives, the SEQRA process promotes sustainable development and informed decision-making, safeguarding New York’s environmental resources for future generations.

If you have questions about SEQRA, need assistance with SEQRA, or are seeking guidance with an Environmental or Land Use & Zoning matter, please contact Mindy L. Zoghlin, Esq., Jacob H. Zoghlin, Esq., or Ryan Ockenden, Esq.

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