PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Chapter 197-11 WAC, SEPA rules (State Environmental Policy Act). This proposed rule making is directed by chapter 1, Laws of 2012 1st sp. sess. (2ESSB 6406, section 301). As directed in the legislation, the rule making will focus on:
|•||Increasing the thresholds for SEPA review of minor construction projects under WAC 197-11-800 (1) and (23)(c); and|
|•||Improving the efficiency of the environmental checklist in WAC 197-11-960.|
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 43.21C.110.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Chapter 1, Laws of 2012 1st sp. sess. (2ESSB 6406, section 301) directs ecology to update SEPA rules. The proposed rule making is the first phase of these updates. SEPA was enacted in 1971, when the nation's awareness of environmental problems was emerging. Many laws and procedures for environmental protection, land use planning and infrastructure provision have been implemented since SEPA was first adopted. The 2012 legislature directed ecology to modernize the rules that guide state and local agencies in conducting SEPA reviews, in light of the increased environmental protections in place under chapters 36.70A, 90.58 RCW and other laws.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Washington's SEPA requires all state and local agencies to review and disclose the likely environmental consequences, to both the natural and the built environment, of a proposed action. Ecology will involve representatives of state and local agencies and tribes in the rule making. As directed by 2ESSB 6406, we will invite nominations to participate on an advisory committee ecology is forming. We will also engage directly with state and local governments in this update process.
Process for Developing New Rule: Ecology will form an advisory committee to meet the requirements in the 2012 legislation. We will also post information on the agency web site, hold advisory committee meetings, share information with interested parties, and hold at least one public hearing on the rule proposal.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. Interested parties can access more information on this rule making by contacting Tom Clingman, Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-7448, e-mail Tom.Clingman@ecy.wa.gov, interested parties can sign-up for e-mail updates at
http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=ECOLOGY-SEPA-UPDATES, or accessing the ecology web site http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/sepa/rulemaking2012.html.
May 24, 2012
SEA Program Manager