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Does the Environmental Review Process Help or Hurt New York City?

Tuesday September 2004

Speakers: Kent Barwick, President, Municipal Art Society of New York; Frank Fish, Principal, Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart, Inc.; Howard Goldman, Principal, Law Offices of Howard Goldman, LLC; Sam Schwartz, President, The Sam Schwartz Company
Moderator: Julia Vitullo-Martin, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

New York City began requiring environmental assessments and impact statements for most private-sector development during the 1970s. Environmental reviews were then lauded as a visionary way of improving New York’s quality of life. But has that been their effect?

Many experts now believe that the city’s environmental quality review process does more harm than good. They note that the reports themselves, which can cost millions of dollars to prepare, delay projects for years, adding untold additional millions to the costs of development. At the same time, critics argue, few of the environmental problems identified by the reports are ever remedied.