Glossary of SEPA Terminology

Categorical exemptions: Part 9 of the SEPA Rules describes types of projects that have been exempted from SEPA requirements because they are unlikely to have a significant adverse environmental impact or were designated exempt by the legislature.

Determination of nonsignificance (DNS): A DNS is issued by the SEPA lead agency after they have determined that a proposal is unlikely to have a significant adverse environmental impact or that all adverse impacts can be "mitigated" to a nonsignificant level.

Determination of significance (DS): A DS is issued by the SEPA lead agency after they have determined that a proposal is likely to have one or more significant adverse environmental impacts that should be evaluated in an environmental impact statement (EIS).

DNS: see "Determination of nonsignificance"

DS: see "determination of significance"

EIS: see "environmental impact statement"

Environmental checklist: A form that asks questions about various aspects of a proposal and that is evaluated by the SEPA "lead agency" to identify potential adverse environmental impacts.

Environmental impact statement (EIS): An EIS is a document that includes analysis of probable significant adverse environmental impacts of a proposal, reasonable alternatives, and possible mitigation measures.

Lead agency: The SEPA lead agency is responsible for completing the environmental review of a proposal and issuing the necessary SEPA documents, so that all permitting agencies can make informed decisions.

Mitigation: Mitigation is avoiding, minimizing, rectifying (repairing), reducing, eliminating, compensating, or monitoring of environmental impacts.

Scoping: Scoping is the initial step in the production of an EIS, where interested agencies, tribes, and the public have the opportunity to comment on issues to be focused on in the EIS.

Scoping notice: see "determination of significance" and "scoping"

SEPA Rules: Chapter 197-11 WAC, the rules adopted by the Department of Ecology to implement the Act.

State Environmental Policy Act: Chapter 43.21C RCW