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197-11-232  <<  197-11-235 >>   197-11-238

WAC 197-11-235

Agency filings affecting this section

SEPA/GMA integration documents.

(1) "Integrating documents." Formal SEPA documents may be prepared as companion documents to accompany proposed GMA actions or may be integrated into the documentation of GMA actions. This section clarifies how WAC 197-11-640 (all SEPA documents) and WAC 197-11-425 through 197-11-442 (EISs) apply to integrated SEPA/GMA documents. The overriding consideration is the quality of information and analysis at the appropriate scope and level of detail for the particular GMA document, and not the format, length or bulk of the document.
(2) "Document format."
(a) There is no standard format for an integrated GMA document. For example an integrated comprehensive plan may look more like a plan preceded by an environmental summary (see WAC 197-11-235(5)), in contrast to a format described in WAC 197-11-430. Any separately bound supporting documents shall be clearly identified in the integrated document.
(b) An integrated GMA document is not required to contain a separate section on affected environment, significant impacts, and mitigation measures under WAC 197-11-440(6), as long as this information is summarized as required by this section, and the basis for this information can be readily found in the document and the supporting record.
(3) "Integrated non-EIS documents."
(a) If a proposed GMA action is not likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact, an integrated GMA document shall be prepared that combines the formal SEPA document (such as an environmental checklist/DNS, a notice of adoption or addendum) with the GMA document. The provisions of WAC 197-11-235 (1) and (2) apply to these integrated documents.
(b) If an environmental checklist is used and a DNS issued, only Parts A (which serves as a fact sheet), C (responsible official's signature), and D (nonproject checklist) need be prepared, plus an environmental summary as specified in WAC 197-11-235(5). Part D and the summary may be combined.
(c) If an addendum is to accompany or be incorporated into an integrated GMA document, it shall contain the information specified in WAC 197-11-235(5) for an environmental summary.
(4) "Plan/EIS documents." Because these documents need to contain sufficient environmental analysis for GMA actions, the same documents that meet GMA planning needs should constitute the SEPA documents for GMA actions and should provide a basis for future decisions on projects. An integrated document will constitute the necessary formal SEPA document, if accompanied by the following (as further specified by subsections (5) through (7) of this section):
(a) Environmental summary and fact sheet;
(b) Concise analysis of alternatives;
(c) Comments and responses; and
(d) Appropriate technical and other materials.
(5) "Environmental summary and fact sheet."
(a) The environmental summary includes the contents required in WAC 197-11-440(4). It should emphasize the major conclusions, significant areas of controversy and uncertainty, if any, and the issues to be resolved, including the environmental choices to be made and the effectiveness of mitigation measures. The summary is not to be a summary of the GMA action.
(b) The summary should highlight from an environmental perspective the main options that would be preserved or foreclosed by the proposed GMA action. It should reflect SEPA's substantive policies and focus on any significant irreversible or irretrievable commitments of natural resources that would be likely to harm long-term environmental productivity, taking into account cumulative impacts. A summary of the principal environmental impacts may be presented in chart or matrix form, summarizing the relevant elements of the environment and impact assessment required by WAC 197-11-440 (6)(b) through (e). The summary may discuss nonenvironmental factors and should do so if relevant to resolving issues concerning the main environmental choices facing decision makers.
(c) The summary should be no longer than necessary (generally fifteen to thirty pages for a plan/EIS, less for other integrated documents) and include tables or graphics to assist readability.
(d) At a minimum the fact sheet shall contain the information required in WAC 197-11-440(2). The fact sheet shall precede the summary in the integrated GMA document.
(6) "Concise analysis of alternatives."
(a) This analysis focuses on a comparative evaluation of the environmental consequences of the principal alternative courses of action that are or have been under consideration in the GMA planning process, as provided by WAC 197-11-440(5). The alternatives analysis shall evaluate the proposed GMA action compared to the principal alternative concepts and plan elements or regulatory options that were considered. This analysis allows decision makers, other agencies and the public to determine if the proposed GMA action can or should be revised before adoption to avoid or reduce environmental or other impacts. These alternatives may be:
(i) Those which are actively being considered; or
(ii) Those considered and screened earlier as part of a public GMA planning process.
(b) Descriptive material on the features of the alternatives (in contrast to comparing their impacts) should be kept to the minimum necessary to understand the comparative evaluation. If more description is necessary, it should be cited or located in the supporting record. Depending on the scope of the GMA action, the text of the alternatives analysis should be less than forty pages.
(7) "Comments and responses." The inclusion of comments and responses is not required for a draft integrated GMA document. For a final integrated document, comments (or a summary of comments) shall be compiled and response prepared as provided in WAC 197-11-560(3). A jurisdiction may include comments (or a summary of comments) received during the scoping process or on preliminary documents, as well as general or specific responses to these comments if any have been prepared, with the integrated GMA document on a proposed GMA action. If this approach is not used, these preliminary comments shall be included in the supporting record.
(8) "Supporting record, analyses, and materials."
(a) The integrated GMA document shall contain a list of the principal analytical documents and other materials (such as meeting minutes, maps, models, tapes or videos) that have been prepared, received, or used in developing the GMA action (see WAC 197-11-090). These materials shall be considered to be incorporated by reference under SEPA and part of the supporting record for SEPA compliance, and their contents need not be further described as required in WAC 197-11-635. Annotated lists are encouraged, but not required, to assist current and future reviewers.
(b) Materials in the supporting record should enable agencies and members of the public to identify and review the planning basis for the conclusions and analysis presented in the integrated GMA document as provided in the "procedural criteria" for preparing plan documents.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.21C.110 and 43.21C.100 [43.21C.170]. WSR 14-09-026 (Order 13-01), § 197-11-235, filed 4/9/14, effective 5/10/14. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.21C.110. WSR 95-07-023 (Order 94-22), § 197-11-235, filed 3/6/95, effective 4/6/95.]