The courts decided 47 cases under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in 2020. Of these, in the great majority—31—the courts upheld, or at least left alone, agencies’ decisions that a particular action did not require the preparation of a full environmental impact statement (EIS); in seven the courts rejected such decisions; and in eight the courts upheld EISs that had been prepared. (One case was unclassifiable.) The Court of Appeals issued no SEQRA decisions in 2020.
This article marks the 30th anniversary of this column’s first annual SEQRA review. As usual, all the cases will be included in this year’s update to Environmental Impact Review in New York (Gerrard, Ruzow & Weinberg). The 2020 cases continued the familiar pattern that the safest way for a controversial project to withstand attack in court is to prepare a full EIS.