Department of Ecology News Release - April 10, 2014


Changes to State Environmental Policy Act rules benefit local governments
Communities gain greater flexibility and increased public review period

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology has adopted changes to the State Environmental Policy Act rules. The changes will make SEPA rules work better for local governments and their communities while considering environmental protection needs.

The changes come after months of working in partnership with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) advisory committee. The advisory committee was formed as a result of state legislation passed in 2012. Committee members represented cities, counties, the business community, environmental groups, agriculture, state agencies, cultural resources and tribes.

“Advisory committee members took a thoughtful, collaborative approach and provided us with excellent input,” said Brenden McFarland, environmental review section manager for Ecology. “Their input helped us draft the changes which will make the SEPA rule work better.”

SEPA rule changes are available on Ecology’s website and will:

SEPA was enacted by the Washington Legislature in 1971 to ensure that environmental values were considered during decision making by state and local agencies. SEPA requires identification and evaluation of probable impacts to the environment before making decisions on projects, plans, programs, and policies.

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Media Contact:

Camille St. Onge, communication manager, 360-407-7647, @ecologyWA