PDFRCW 47.12.330

Advanced environmental mitigationAuthorized.

For the purpose of environmental mitigation of transportation projects, the department may acquire or develop, or both acquire and develop, environmental mitigation sites in advance of the construction of programmed projects. The term "advanced environmental mitigation" means mitigation of adverse impacts upon the environment from transportation projects before their design and construction. Advanced environmental mitigation consists of the acquisition of property; the acquisition of property, water, or air rights; the development of property for the purposes of improved environmental management; engineering costs necessary for such purchase and development; and the use of advanced environmental mitigation sites to fulfill project environmental permit requirements. Advanced environmental mitigation must be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the definition of mitigation found in the council of environmental quality regulations (40 C.F.R. Sec. 1508.20) and the governor's executive order on wetlands (EO 90-04). Advanced environmental mitigation is for projects approved by the transportation commission as part of the state's six-year plan or included in the state highway system plan. Advanced environmental mitigation must give consideration to activities related to fish passage, fish habitat, wetlands, and flood management. Advanced environmental mitigation may also be conducted in partnership with federal, state, or local government agencies, tribal governments, interest groups, or private parties. Partnership arrangements may include joint acquisition and development of mitigation sites, purchasing and selling mitigation bank credits among participants, and transfer of mitigation site title from one party to another. Specific conditions of partnership arrangements will be developed in written agreements for each applicable environmental mitigation site.
[ 1998 c 181 § 2; 1997 c 140 § 2.]


Findings1998 c 181: "The legislature finds that fish passage, fish habitat, wetlands, and flood management are critical issues in the effective management of watersheds in Washington. The legislature also finds that the state of Washington invests a considerable amount of resources on environmental mitigation activities related to fish passage, fish habitat, wetlands, and flood management. The department of transportation's advanced environmental mitigation revolving account established under RCW 47.12.340, is a key funding component in bringing environmental mitigation together with comprehensive watershed management." [ 1998 c 181 § 1.]
Intent1997 c 140: "It is the intent of chapter 140, Laws of 1997 to provide environmental mitigation in advance of the construction of programmed projects where desirable and feasible, [which] will provide a more efficient and predictable environmental permit process, increased benefits to environmental resources, and a key tool in using the watershed approach for environmental impact mitigation. The legislative transportation committee, through its adoption of the December 1994 report "Environmental Cost Savings and Permit Coordination Study," encourages state agencies to use a watershed approach based on a water resource inventory area in an improved environmental mitigation and permitting process. Establishment of an advanced transportation environmental mitigation revolving account would help the state to improve permit processes and environmental protection when providing transportation services." [ 1997 c 140 § 1.]