After months of working with the State Environmental Policy Act advisory committee, the state Department of Ecology submitted proposed changes to the statewide guidelines.
SEPA was enacted by the Washington Legislature in 1971 to ensure environmental values were considered before making decisions on state and local projects and policies.
The advisory committee formed as a result of state legislation in 2012. Members represent cities, counties, the business community, environmental groups, agriculture, state agencies, cultural resources and tribes.
The proposed changes are intended to make SEPA work better for local governments and their communities while considering environmental protection needs. The changes will provide greater flexibility for cities and counties to determine their area’s exemption levels and clarify any analysis required.
Other changes will increase the public review period before cities and counties can increase their exemption levels, expand and clarify exemptions for maintenance activities, and update and clarify other provisions.
The changes were submitted to the Office of the Code Reviser last week and the public can comment through Feb. 5.
Written comments can be submitted via email to separul firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to 360-407-6904 or mail to Fran Sant, Department of Ecology, 300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503.
To learn more about SEPA and the rulemaking process, visit ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/sepa/ereview.html or ecy.wa.gov/pro grams/sea/sepa/rulemaking2013. html.