(1) Within this section the following definitions apply:
(a) "Exploration activity" means reconnaissance or survey work related to gathering information about geologic features and formations underlying or adjacent to marine waters;
(b) "Marine waters" include the waters of Puget Sound north to the Canadian border, the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the waters between the western boundary of the state and the ordinary high water mark, and related bays and estuaries;
(c) "Vessel" includes ships, boats, barges, or any other floating craft.
(2) A person desiring to perform oil or natural gas exploration activities by vessel located on or within marine waters of the state shall first obtain a permit from the department of ecology. The department may approve an application for a permit only if it determines that the proposed activity will not:
(a) Interfere materially with the normal public uses of the marine waters of the state;
(b) Interfere with activities authorized by a permit issued under RCW 90.58.140
(c) Injure the marine biota, beds, or tidelands of the waters;
(d) Violate water quality standards established by the department; or
(e) Create a public nuisance.
(3) Decisions on an application under subsection (2) of this section are subject to review only by the pollution control hearings board under chapter 43.21B
(4) This section does not apply to activities conducted by an agency of the United States or the state of Washington.
(5) This section does not lessen, reduce, or modify RCW 90.58.160
(6) The department may adopt rules necessary to implement this section.
(7) The attorney general shall enforce this section.