New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making. This means these agencies must assess the environmental significance of all actions they have discretion to approve, fund or directly undertake. When considering an action that has been the subject of a Final EIS, SEQR requires the agencies to balance the environmental impacts with social and economic factors when deciding to approve or undertake an "Action".

In New York State, most projects or activities proposed by a state agency or unit of local government, and all discretionary approvals (permits) from a NYS agency or unit of local government (Town of Big Flats), require an environmental impact assessment as prescribed by 6 NYCRR Part 617 State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR)  SEQR requires the sponsoring or approving governmental body to identify and mitigate the significant environmental impacts of the activity it is proposing or permitting.

Environmental assessments are standardized through use of the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF). The Environmental Assessment Forms are in a pdf format that can be filled and saved. To assist applicants in preparing the Part 1 of either the Short or Full EAF,  a GIS mapping program (the EAF Mapper) can be used which searches spatial data bases and provides answers to location-based questions which are automatically filled onto a pdf copy of an EAF and provided to the user. The spatial data used by the EAF mapping program to complete the new EAFs is based on the GIS data sets used and maintained by DEC, or actively maintained by various agencies and shared with DEC.

On completing an EAF, the lead agency determines the significance of an action's environmental impacts. The agency then decides whether to require (or prepare) an Environmental Impact Statement and whether to hold a public hearing on the proposed action