Ecology seeks comments on SEPA rules

By the Tri-City HeraldNovember 8, 2012 

The Washington Department of Ecology is asking the public to comment on a proposal that would increase the flexible thresholds local governments can adopt to exempt minor new construction projects from review under the State Environmental Policy Act, known as SEPA.

State and local agencies use SEPA to evaluate about 6,000 proposed decisions each year. The information gathered can be used to change a proposal to reduce likely impacts or to deny it based on adverse environmental impacts.

Current projects that local governments can exempt from review include small-scale residential housing developments, office, school and commercial buildings with adjoining parking lots under a certain size, agricultural buildings within a specific square footage and minor landfill and excavation activities.

Ecology plans to increase the size and scale thresholds for the building projects local governments can exempt from SEPA review based on a recent state law.

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Written comments and questions can be sent to Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47703, Olympia, WA 98504-7600 or They are due by Dec. 11.

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