SEPA and Climate Change
Welcome to the "SEPA and Climate Change" page. Here you can get information about the State Environmental Policy Act and its role in addressing climate change in our state.
This site provides the following information:
SEPA and Climate Change
We are facing a new, global problem. Scientists from around the globe have concluded, based on facts, not conjecture, that lifestyles and livelihoods here in Washington and around the world are at risk because of greenhouse gases and changing climate patterns. We need to approach the problem from both directions – reducing our contribution to climate change and preparing for the effects we cannot prevent. We need to work together – business, government, citizen groups, individuals, tribes, neighboring states and trading partners – to be effective and to get people involved. Each day in our state, projects are proposed that could either add to the emissions of greenhouse gases, or locate development in areas that in the future could well be underwater, or subject to flooding not seen before.
All state agencies, city and county planning departments, and other public entities use SEPA to evaluate the environmental impacts of a proposal. Many states and local governments are already developing policies, regulations, and guidance on how, where and when to address climate change in their environmental review processes. Some are doing so because their failure to address climate change was challenged in court as contrary to those states' SEPA-like statutes.
What is Ecology doing to clarify how considerations of climate change are incorporated into environmental review and decision making under SEPA?
Ecology feels it is in our best interest to act now to clarify our SEPA rules, and prepare guidance regarding climate, in order to avoid a similar "policy by litigation" scenario here in Washington. Director Manning, on April 30, 2008, notified SEPA Responsible Officials and Administrators that Ecology will soon begin a stakeholder process to develop recommendations to ensure that climate change is considered in the SEPA processes and documents. (Letter from Director Manning). As part of the Climate Advisory Team’s work in 2008, a SEPA working group will be established to help clarify the SEPA rules and prepare important guidance information. In addition to Climate Advisory Team members, the workgroup will include other government, business, and environmental representatives.
The purpose of the working group is to:
To learn about climate change and why it is important to us, please visit these web sites:
For questions or comments concerning SEPA, please email the SEPA Unit or call (360) 407-6922.
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