SEPA rule advisory committee meets April 11 in Lacey

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is updating state rules to help streamline the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and has formed a special advisory committee to help craft proposed rule language.

The advisory committee meets monthly and the next meeting will be held Thursday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ecology headquarters building, 300 Desmond Dr. S.E., Lacey.

At the  meeting, the committee will hear an update about cultural and historic issues that should be considered. It will also discuss a proposal to update how public SEPA notices could be made.

Members will also discuss potential changes to give local governments the option to allow some minor construction projects, depending on their size and scale, to be exempt from review.

Committee meetings are open to the public, who may participate in person or by phone. Visit Ecology’s webpage to view the April 11 meeting agenda to obtain the telephone conference number and password.

Enacted in 1971, SEPA helps agencies identify possible environmental impacts that could result from governmental decisions such as issuing permits for private projects, constructing public facilities, or adopting regulations, policies or plans.

SEPA applies to decisions by all state and local agencies in Washington including state agencies, cities, counties, ports and special districts such as school and water districts.

State and local agencies use SEPA to evaluate about 6,000 proposed decisions annually. Information learned through the review process can be used to change a proposal to reduce likely environmental impacts, or condition or deny a proposal when adverse impacts are identified.

The 2012 Washington Legislature amended SEPA and directed Ecology to update its implementing rules in two phases. The first set of rules was adopted in January 2013 and Ecology is working to complete the next update by December 2013.





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