(1) For highway construction projects where the department considers agricultural lands of long-term commercial significance, as defined in RCW 36.70A.030
, in reviewing and selecting sites to meet environmental mitigation requirements under the national environmental policy act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 4321 et seq.) and chapter 43.21C
RCW, the department shall, to the greatest extent possible, consider using public land first.
(2) If public lands are not available that meet the required environmental mitigation needs, the department may use other sites while making every effort to avoid any net loss of agricultural lands that have a designation of long-term commercial significance.