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SEPA Process

The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) encourages the development of environmentally sound proposals.  The process involves identification and evaluation of probable environmental impacts and the development of mitigation measures to reduce adverse impacts.  

The information on this page is designed for a technical audience.

Chapter 400 of the Environmental Manual (EM) describes policies that must be considered when conducting the environmental review for SEPA.

SEPA Process Flow Chart

Process Flow Chart

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SEPA Rule Update

The new SEPA rule finalized by DOE becomes effective on May 10, 2014.  For WSDOT led projects the rule:

  • Creates a new transportation facility categorical exclusion for  WSDOT projects that repair, reconstruct, restore, retrofit, or replace any transportation facility (WAC 197-11-800(26)).
  • Provides an option for submitting a NEPA DCE in place of a SEPA Environmental Checklist provided that all of the SEPA elements are covered (WAC 197-11-610(2)).
  • Updates the SEPA Checklist; several questions have been added and changed.  The new checklist can be found on the SEPA Forms web page.

SEPA Online Handbook provides step-by-step guidance for compliance with SEPA requirements.

 

Adopting NEPA Documents Under SEPA Rules

As a matter of practice, Project Teams should complete the NEPA and SEPA environmental review process simultaneously in a single document. When a NEPA document is completed without considering SEPA, that NEPA EA/EIS can be adopted using the form found in WAC 197-11-965 . The form/determination notice is signed according to agency SEPA delegations: the ESO Director signs an EIS/EA, the Region/Mode Environmental Manager signs a DNS.


SEPA Register Document Submittal Procedures

Ecology now requires that all SEPA documents be submitted in electronic format.  This includes NEPA documents being adopted under SEPA, DNS, MDNS, DEIS, and Scoping Notices.  The Updated SEPA Register Document Submittal Procedures web page provides guidance and requirements.