CRRA Summary

On September 22, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed bill A06558/S06617-B, the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA). The purpose of the bill is to ensure that certain state monies, facility-siting regulations and permits include consideration of the effects of climate risk and extreme-weather events.

The Five Major Provisions Of The CRRA

Official Sea-Level Rise Projections

Requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to adopt science-based sea-level rise projections into regulation.

Consideration of Sea-Level Rise, Storm Surge and Flooding in Facility Siting, Permitting and Funding

Amends the ECL, Agriculture and Markets Law, and Public Health Law to require applicants for permits or funding in a number of specified permitting and funding programs to demonstrate that future physical climate risk due to sea-level rise, storm surge and flooding have been considered, and that these factors be incorporated into certain facility-siting regulations.

Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act Criteria

CRRA amends ECL Article 6 (Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act [SGPIPA]) to add mitigation of risk due to sea-level rise, storm surge and flooding to the list of smart-growth criteria. Implementation of SGPIPA is the responsibility of each affected infrastructure agency, but CRRA requires DEC, in consultation with DOS, to develop guidance for implementation of CRRA.

Model Local Laws Concerning Climate Risk

CRRA requires DOS, in cooperation with DEC, to develop model local laws that include consideration of future risk due to sea-level rise, storm surge and/or flooding. These model local laws must be based on available data predicting the likelihood of extreme-weather events, including hazard-risk analysis.

The New York State Department of State has released Model Local Laws to Increase Resilience ( These model laws, which local governments may adopt voluntarily to be more resilient to sea-level rise, storm surge, flooding, and erosion cover five general topics:

  • Basic Land Use Tools for Resiliency
  • Wetland and Watercourse Protection Measures
  • Coastal Shoreline Protection Measures
  • Management of Floodplain Development
  • Stormwater Control Measures

Guidance On Natural Resiliency Measures

CRRA requires DEC, in consultation with DOS, to develop guidance on the use of natural resources and natural processes to enhance resiliency.

DEC and DOS have prepared Using Natural Measures to Reduce the Risk of Flooding  to serve as a guide to selection and planning of natural resilience measures and State Flood Risk Management Guidance (SFRMG). The SFRMG recommends flood-risk management guideline elevations that incorporate possible future conditions, including the greater risks of coastal flooding presented by sea-level rise and enhanced storm surge, and of inland flooding expected to result from increasingly frequent extreme-precipitation events. As a companion to the SFRMG, DEC has developed a quick guide on Estimating Guideline Elevations (PDF). Lastly, DEC has also prepared Guidance for Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Assessment (PDF). This document is intended to guide state agencies as they assess mitigation of sea-level rise, storm surge and flooding in siting and design of public-infrastructure projects.

If you are a property or business owner who needs assistance understanding how the CRRA may impact your project or facilities or if you are a municipal government and need assistance in understanding how the CRRA may impact government assets, the ability to secure future funding or the need to consider local laws that support the CRRA and will protect local infrastructure, we are available to provide counsel and assistance or just answer your questions.

Kevin C. Murphy is a member of the Wladis Law Firm, P.C., located in Syracuse, New York, and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

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Kevin C. Murphy

Kevin C. Murphy concentrates his practice in the areas of environmental compliance and litigation; environmental and white-collar criminal defense, and complex litigation matters. Mr. Murphy is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a former senior trial attorney with both the Kings County (NY) District Attorney’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section in Washington, D.C. He previously taught a seminar on environmental criminal enforcement at the Syracuse University School of Law and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

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