(1) SEPA contemplates that the general welfare, social, economic, and other requirements and essential considerations of state policy will be taken into account in weighing and balancing alternatives and in making final decisions. However, the environmental impact statement is not required to evaluate and document all of the possible effects and considerations of a decision or to contain the balancing judgments that must ultimately be made by the decision makers. Rather, an environmental impact statement analyzes environmental impacts and must be used by agency decision makers, along with other relevant considerations or documents, in making final decisions on a proposal. The EIS provides a basis upon which the responsible agency and officials can make the balancing judgment mandated by SEPA, because it provides information on the environmental costs and impacts. SEPA does not require that an EIS be an agency's only decision making document.
(2) The term "socioeconomic" is not used in the statute or in these rules because the term does not have a uniform meaning and has caused a great deal of uncertainty. Areas of urban environmental concern which must be considered are specified in RCW 43.21C.110
(1)(f), the environmental checklist (WAC 197-11-960
) and WAC 197-11-440
(3) Examples of information that are not required to be discussed in an EIS are: Methods of financing proposals, economic competition, profits and personal income and wages, and social policy analysis (such as fiscal and welfare policies and nonconstruction aspects of education and communications). EISs may include whether housing is low, middle, or high income.
(4) Agencies have the option to combine EISs with other documents or to include additional analyses in EISs, that will assist in making decisions (WAC 197-11-440
(8) and 197-11-640
). Agencies may use the scoping process to help identify issues of concern to citizens.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.21C.110
. WSR 84-05-020 (Order DE 83-39), § 197-11-448, filed 2/10/84, effective 4/4/84.]