(1)(a) The office of regulatory assistance is authorized to develop and advertise the availability of optional multiagency permitting teams to provide coordinated permitting and integrated regulatory decision making starting in the Puget Sound basin.
(b) New expenses associated with operating the optional multiagency permitting teams must be recovered by the office of regulatory assistance using existing state cost-reimbursement and interagency cost-sharing authorities as applicable. The cost-reimbursement process is subject to the requirements and limitations set forth in RCW 43.42.070
. Initial administrative costs and other costs that may not be recoverable through cost-reimbursement or cost-sharing mechanisms may be covered by funds from the multiagency permitting team account created in RCW 43.42.095
(c) The director of the office of regulatory assistance must solicit donations and such other funds as the director deems appropriate from public and private sources for the purposes of covering the initial administrative costs and other costs associated with operation of optional multiagency permitting teams which are not recoverable through cost-reimbursement or cost-sharing mechanisms. All such solicited funds must be placed in the multiagency permitting team account created in RCW 43.42.095
(2) Optional multiagency permitting teams must be:
(a) Mobile, capable of traveling or working together as teams, initially throughout the Puget Sound basin;
(b) Located initially in central Puget Sound;
(c) Staffed by appropriate senior-level permitting and regulatory decision-making personnel representing the Washington state departments of ecology, fish and wildlife, and natural resources and having expertise in regulatory issues relating to the project; and
(d) Managed by the office of regulatory assistance through a team leader responsible for:
(i) Managing or monitoring team activities to ensure the cost-reimbursement schedule and agreement is followed;
(ii) Developing and maintaining partnerships and working relationships with local, state, tribal, and federal organizations not core to the optional multiagency permitting teams that can be called upon to join the team on a project-by-project basis;
(iii) Developing, defining, and providing a set of coordinated permitting and integrated decision-making services consistent with those set forth in subsection (3) of this section;
(iv) Developing and executing funding agreements with applicants, project proponents, regulatory agencies, and others as necessary to ensure the financial viability of the optional multiagency permitting teams;
(v) Measuring and regularly reporting on team performance, results and outcomes achieved, including improved: Permitting predictability, interagency early project coordination, interagency accessibility, interagency relationships, project delivery, and environmental results, including the avoidance or prevention of environmental harm and the effectiveness of mitigation;
(vi) Conducting outreach, marketing, and advertising of team services and team availability, focusing initially on projects such as large-scale public, private, and port development projects with complex aquatics, wetland, or other environmental impacts; environmental cleanup, restoration, and enhancement projects; aquaculture projects; and energy, power generation, and utility projects;
(vii) Implementing issue and dispute resolution protocols;
(viii) Incorporating and using virtual tools for online collaboration to support permitting and regulatory coordination and expedited decision making; and
(ix) Extending and subsequently implementing the optional multiagency permitting team approach to other significant geographic regions of the state.
(3) The optional multiagency permitting teams must at a minimum work with the office of regulatory assistance to provide the following core services:
(a) Project scoping, as set forth in RCW 43.42.050
(1) through (4), to help applicants identify applicable permits and regulatory approvals;
(b) A preapplication coordination service, which may be combined with project scoping, to help applicants understand applicable requirements and plan out with the assistance of the regulatory agencies an optimally sequenced permitting and regulatory decision-making strategy and approach for the overall project;
(c) Fully coordinated project review as set forth in RCW 43.42.060
to set schedules and agreed-upon time frames for the applicant and regulatory decision makers consistent with statutory requirements and with regard to available agency resources and to track, monitor, and report progress made in meeting those schedules and time frames;
(d) Mitigation coordination to help applicants and regulatory agencies collaborate on and implement mitigation obligations within a watershed context so superior environmental results can be achieved when impacts cannot be avoided or further minimized.
(4) Local and federal permitting and regulatory personnel should be incorporated into the optional multiagency permitting teams whenever possible and at least on a project-by-project basis. Moneys recouped through state cost-reimbursement and interagency cost-sharing authorities, or as otherwise solicited for deposit into the multiagency permitting team account created in RCW 43.42.095
, may also be used to cover local and federal participation.
(5) The optional multiagency permitting teams will provide services for complex projects requiring multiple permits and regulatory approvals and having multiple points of regulatory jurisdiction. The optional multiagency permitting teams are not intended to support state transportation projects capable of being serviced by multiagency permitting teams specifically established for state transportation projects. Use of the optional multiagency permitting teams for a fully coordinated permit process must be allowed unless the office of regulatory assistance notifies a project proponent in writing of other means of effective and efficient project review that are available and are recommended.