Proposed state Environmental Policy Act rule changes eyed

Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIA — The state Department of Ecology is accepting public comment on proposed changes to the state Environmental Policy Act rules.

The public can comment through Feb. 5 on the rules at http://tinyurl.com/pdn-separulemaking.

The proposed changes include greater flexibility for cities and counties, and an increased public comment period for environmental reviews, Ecology said.

The state’s Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, requires that all state and local agencies consider likely consequences before making decisions that affect the environment.

The law provides authority for agency decision-makers to avoid, mitigate or compensate for adverse impacts by modifying proposals or denying permits.

The 2012 Legislature directed Ecology to update SEPA rules to streamline regulatory processes.

Updates were to be put into effect in two stages, the first having been completed in December 2012. The second round of rulemaking has been extended from the original deadline of this month to the first quarter of 2014.

Ecology said the proposed changes will:

■ Provide greater flexibility for cities and counties to determine their area’s exemption levels.

■ Clarify the analysis required before cities and counties increase their exemption levels.

■ Increase the public review period prior to city and county adoption of increased exemption levels.

■ Expand and clarify exemptions for maintenance activities.

■ Update and clarify other provisions.

People can submit comments by emailing separulemaking@ecy.wa.gov, faxing 360-407-6904 or mailing to Fran Sant, Department of Ecology, 300 Desmond Drive, Lacey, WA 98503.

Ecology will host a presentation followed by formal hearings Jan. 29 at the Lacey headquarters.

The first hearing will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the second at 6:30 p.m.

To participate and/or provide comments, phone 800-704-9804, PIN 8386377#.

For more information about the hearing, phone Sant at 360-407-6004.

Last modified: December 19. 2013 6:02PM
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