Environmental Study

The LIRR Expansion Project is subject to and undergoing New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act process, which requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making.

SEQRA Process

New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires agencies to balance the environmental impacts with social and economic factors when deciding to approve or undertake an Action. If an Action is determined to have potentially significant adverse environmental impacts, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required.

The SEQRA process uses the EIS to examine ways to avoid or reduce adverse environmental impacts related to a proposed action. This includes an analysis of all reasonable alternatives to the action. The SEQRA decision making process encourages communication among government agencies, project sponsors and the general public, as has been undertaken by LIRR Expansion Project officials.

Project Scoping

The Draft Scoping Document, whose main purpose is to identify and list what issues would be studied during the project’s environmental review, was published for the public’s review on May 5, 2016.

The Final Scoping Document, which contains updated information based on the previous comment period for the Draft Scoping Document, was published on August 26, 2016. The Final Scoping Document is an additional step taken by the LIRR Expansion Project to prepare for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Draft Scoping Document Outreach

Draft Scoping Document Comment Period: Comments were submitted online, by mail and in person until the close of the Draft Scoping Document Comment Period. All comments received during this period became part of the public record and were considered as part of the project studies for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  Comments are continued to be welcomed throughout the duration of the project.

Draft Scoping Document Public Meetings: A total of six Public Hearings were held to provide opportunities for the public to comment on the Draft Scoping Document. Approximately 1,200 people attended the Public Hearings and more than 750 individuals and entities submitted comments or questions regarding the Draft Scoping Document.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m

Mack Student Center at Hofstra University, Hempstead

Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m

The Inn at New Hyde Park, 214 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park

Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m

The Inn at New Hyde Park, 214 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park

Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m

Mack Student Center at Hofstra University, Hempstead

Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Yes We Can Community Center, 141 Garden Street, Westbury

Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Antun’s by Minar, 244 West Old Country Road, Hicksville

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) concisely describes and analyzes a proposed action which may have a significant impact on the environment. An EIS must include:
  1. Description of the action, including its need and benefits
  2. Description of the environmental setting and areas to be affected
  3. An analysis of all environmental impacts related to the action
  4. An analysis of reasonable alternatives to the action
  5. Identification of ways to reduce or avoid adverse environmental impacts
    (Source: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)
DEIS Published for Public Review

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the LIRR Expansion Project was released on November 28, 2016 for public review. The report contains extensive, detailed information about the potential significant effects of the project. The DEIS also provides information about the project’s unprecedented community outreach efforts.

View Document by Chapter

  • Table of Contents and Cover Letter
  • Executive Summary
    The Executive Summary provides an overview of the environmental analyses conducted in the DEIS and summarizes the principal conclusions and commitments.
  • Chapter 1 - Project Description
    This chapter describes the Proposed Project’s purpose and need, as well as major project elements including the third track alignment, grade crossing eliminations, station improvements, and related components.
  • Chapter 2 - Land Use, Community Character, and Public Policy
    This chapter characterizes how land is used (for example, residential, commercial, or industrial), community character, public policy, and zoning and evaluates the potential for the Proposed Project to affect these factors.
  • Chapter 3 - Socioeconomic Conditions
    This chapter assesses the potential socioeconomic impacts related to the Proposed Project, including an assessment of demographics, population, housing, employment, access to businesses, tax revenues, and fiscal and economic benefits.
  • Chapter 4 - Environmental Justice
    This chapter includes an environmental justice analysis to identify the Proposed Project’s potential for disproportional and adverse impacts on minority and low-income communities, as defined by the NYS DEC’s Environmental Justice Policy.
  • Chapter 5 - Visual Resources
    This chapter describes the Proposed Project’s potential to impact the visual and aesthetic resources within the study area.
  • Chapter 6 - Historic Resources
    This chapter considers the potential for the Proposed Project to affect historic resources, including National Historic Landmarks, resources listed on the State/National Registers of Historic Places or determined eligible for such listing, and locally designated resources.
  • Chapter 7 - Natural Resources
    This chapter examines the potential impacts from the Proposed Project on natural resources within the Project Corridor, including groundwater, wetlands, terrestrial biota, threatened or endangered species, and species of special concern.
  • Chapter 8 - Contaminated Materials
    This chapter evaluates the potential for substances that pose a threat to human health or the environment to exist within or near the Study Area for the Proposed Project. This chapter also evaluates whether construction or operation of the Proposed Project might increase exposure of people or the environment to contaminated materials.
  • Chapter 9 - Utilities and Related Infrastructure
    This chapter discusses the existing utilities and related infrastructure in the Study Area that may be affected by the Proposed Project. Utilities considered include gas and electric lines, fiber optic and telephone lines, cable television lines, water and sanitary sewer lines, and storm water drainage.
  • Chapter 10 - Transportation
    This chapter identifies the transportation benefits and impacts of the Proposed Project on specific local components of the region’s transportation system including: LIRR service, operations and ridership; nearby public bus services; vehicular traffic; parking; pedestrian connectivity; and traffic safety.
  • Chapter 11 - Air Quality
    This chapter analyzes the effect of the Proposed Project’s operation on air quality including a description of the regulatory context, analysis methodology, existing air quality, and the future air quality with the Proposed Project.
  • Chapter 12 - Noise
    This chapter documents the effects of the Proposed Project on noise and vibration in the Project Corridor, including potential noise benefits due to the elimination of grade crossings and building of sound-attenuating walls.
  • Chapter 13 - Construction
    This chapter summarizes potential construction plans for the Proposed Project, assesses the potential for significant adverse impacts during construction, and outlines numerous mitigation measures to reduce impacts on local communities in and near the Project Corridor.
  • Chapter 14 - Cumulative & Secondary Impacts
    This chapter includes an assessment of the Proposed Project’s potential to result in cumulative and secondary impacts. Cumulative impacts include the Proposed Project’s direct impacts along with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions. Secondary impacts are also known as induced growth (i.e., whether the Proposed Project would lead to growth outside the scope of the project elements).
  • Chapter 15 - Safety & Security
    This chapter discusses safety and security issues associated with increased train movement within the Project Corridor, the extension of electrification to accommodate a third track, the modification of platforms and stations, passenger safety, and the closure and/or separation of grade crossings.
  • Chapter 16 - Electromagnetic Fields
    This chapter evaluates potential impacts due to electric and magnetic fields (EMF) from the Proposed Project.
  • Chapter 17 - Climate Change
    This chapter evaluates the greenhouse gas emissions that would be generated and reduced by the construction and operation of the Proposed Project, and the Proposed Project’s consistency with statewide reduction goals.
  • Chapter 18 - Alternatives
    This chapter evaluates a range of alternatives to the Proposed Project including those alternatives that were initially considered but then dismissed from further analysis, a “No Action” alternative, and alternatives suggested by members of the public.
  • Chapter 19 - Irreversible and Irretrievable Commitment of Resources
    This chapter discusses natural and man-made resources that would be expended during construction or operation of the Proposed Project and thereby would become unavailable for future use.
  • Chapter 20 - Unavoidable Adverse Impacts
    This chapter summarizes several unavoidable adverse impacts that are described in more detail in other chapters throughout the DEIS.
  • Chapter 21 - Public and Agency Participation 
    This chapter presents a summary of the process used to date to encourage public and agency participation during the early phases of the LIRR Expansion Project, and planned measures to encourage continued involvement throughout future project phases.
Appendices by Chapter
 
 

DEIS Public Outreach

A robust public outreach and comment period followed the release of the DEIS to provide the public opportunities to ask questions and make comments about the initial findings.

DEIS Public Comment Period: Comments were submitted online, by mail and in person until the close of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Comment Period on February 15, 2017. All comments received during this period became part of the public record and are being considered as part of the project studies for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).  While the DEIS comment period has ended, general comments are welcomed throughout the duration of the project.

DEIS Public Meetings: A total of six public hearings were held from January 17, 2017 to January 19, 2017 to provide opportunities for the public to comment on the Draft EIS.

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Yes We Can Community Center, 141 Garden Street, Westbury

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m

Yes We Can Community Center, 141 Garden Street, Westbury

Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

David S. Mack Student Center at Hofstra University, Hempstead

Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

David S. Mack Student Center at Hofstra University, Hempstead

Thursday, January 19, 2017, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Inn at New Hyde Park, 214 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park

Thursday, January 19, 2017, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Inn at New Hyde Park 214 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park

Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

Preparing a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), a Notice of Completion of the FEIS, and a Statement of Findings informed by public and resource agency input.

The Final EIS for the LIRR Expansion Project consists of the following:

  • the Draft EIS, including any necessary revisions and supplements;
  • a summary of substantive public comments and responses received during the DEIS comment period;
  • any revisions, including further studies, in response to the DEIS comments.
    (Source: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the LIRR Expansion Project was released on April 12, 2017. The report describes the proposed LIRR Expansion Project in detail, including its purpose and need, its benefits, its potential environmental impacts, and many other issues including community engagement.  The study incorporates input taken from the public on its earlier draft, and responds to comments made by the public.

View Document by Chapter

A. Front Matter
B. Foreword

This Foreword summarizes changes to the Proposed Project since the DEIS was released, the additional analyses contained in the FEIS, and the structure of the FEIS document.

C. Executive Summary

The Executive Summary provides an overview of the environmental analyses conducted in the FEIS and summarizes the principal conclusions and commitments.

D. Chapters
  • Chapter 1 - Project Description
    This chapter describes the Proposed Project’s purpose and need, as well as major project elements including the third track alignment, grade crossing eliminations, station improvements, parking garages, and related components.
  • Chapter 2 – Land Use, Community Character, and Public Policy
    This chapter describes existing land use and community character in the project corridor and assesses potential impacts as a result of the Proposed Project.
  • Chapter 3 – Socioeconomic Conditions
    This chapter assesses the potential socioeconomic impacts related to the Proposed Project, including an assessment of demographics, population, housing, employment, access to businesses, tax revenues, and fiscal and economic benefits.
  • Chapter 4 – Environmental Justice
    This chapter includes an environmental justice analysis to identify the Proposed Project’s potential for disproportional and adverse impacts on minority and low-income communities, as defined by the NYS DEC’s Environmental Justice Policy.
  • Chapter 5 – Visual Resources
    This chapter describes the Proposed Project’s potential to impact the visual and aesthetic resources within the study area.
  • Chapter 6 – Historic Resources
    This chapter considers the potential for the Proposed Project to affect historic resources, including resources listed on the State/National Registers of Historic Places or determined eligible for such listing.
  • Chapter 7 – Natural Resources
    This chapter examines the potential impacts from the Proposed Project on natural resources within the project corridor, including groundwater, wetlands, terrestrial biota, threatened or endangered species, and species of special concern.
  • Chapter 8 – Contaminated Materials
    This chapter evaluates the potential for substances that pose a threat to human health or the environment to exist within or near the Study Area for the Proposed Project.
  • Chapter 9 – Utilities and Related Infrastructure
    This chapter discusses the existing utilities and related infrastructure in the Study Area that may be affected by the Proposed Project. Utilities considered include gas and electric lines, fiber optic and telephone lines, cable television lines, water and sanitary sewer lines, and storm water drainage.
  • Chapter 10 - Transportation
    This chapter identifies the transportation benefits and impacts of the Proposed Project on specific local components of the region’s transportation system including: LIRR service, operations and ridership; nearby public bus services; vehicular traffic; parking; pedestrian connectivity; and traffic safety.
  • Chapter 11 - Air Quality
    This chapter analyzes the effect of the Proposed Project on air quality including a description of the regulatory context, analysis methodology, existing air quality, and the future air quality with the Proposed Project.
  • Chapter 12 - Noise
    This chapter documents the effects of the Proposed Project on noise and vibration in the project corridor, including potential noise benefits due to the elimination of grade crossings and building of sound attenuation walls.
  • Chapter 13 - Construction
    This chapter summarizes potential construction plans for the Proposed Project, assesses the potential for impacts during construction, and outlines numerous measures to avoid or reduce impacts on local communities in and near the project corridor.
  • Chapter 14 - Cumulative and Secondary Impacts
    This chapter includes an assessment of the Proposed Project’s potential to result in cumulative and secondary impacts. Cumulative impacts include the Proposed Project’s direct impacts along with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions. Secondary impacts are also known as induced growth (i.e., whether the Proposed Project would lead to growth outside the scope of the project elements).
  • Chapter 15 - Safety and Security
    This chapter discusses safety and security issues associated with increased train movement within the project corridor, the extension of electrification to accommodate a third track, the modification of platforms and stations, passenger safety, and the closure and/or separation of grade crossings.
  • Chapter 16 - Electromagnetic Fields
    This chapter evaluates potential impacts due to electric and magnetic fields (EMF) from the Proposed Project.
  • Chapter 17 - Climate Change
    This chapter evaluates the greenhouse gas emissions that would be generated and reduced by the construction and operation of the Proposed Project, and the Proposed Project’s consistency with statewide reduction goals.
  • Chapter 18 - Alternatives
    This chapter evaluates a range of alternatives to the Proposed Project including those alternatives that were initially considered but then dismissed from further analysis, a “No Action” alternative, and alternatives suggested by members of the public.
  • Chapter 19 - Irreversible and Irretrievable Commitment of Resources
    This chapter discusses natural and man-made resources that would be expended during construction or operation of the Proposed Project and thereby would become unavailable for future use.
  • Chapter 20 - Unavoidable Adverse Impacts
    This chapter summarizes several unavoidable adverse impacts that are described in more detail in other chapters throughout the FEIS.
  • Chapter 21 - Public Participation and Agency Coordination
    This chapter presents a summary of the process used to date to encourage public and agency participation during the early phases of the LIRR Expansion Project, and planned measures to encourage continued involvement throughout future project phases.
  • Chapter 22 – Response to EIS Comments
    This chapter summarizes public comments received on the DEIS and provides responses to those comments.
E. Appendices