(1) The act and these rules allow agencies to condition or deny proposals if such action is based upon policies identified by the appropriate governmental authority. These policies must be incorporated into regulations, plans, or codes formally designated by the agency (or appropriate legislative body, in the case of local government) as possible bases for the exercise of substantive authority under SEPA. (RCW 43.21C.060
; WAC 197-11-660
.) State and local policies so designated are called "agency SEPA policies" in these rules.
(2) Agencies are required to designate their SEPA policies not later than one hundred eighty days after the effective date of these rules (or the creation of the agency). In order to condition or deny a proposal, an agency must comply with the provisions of RCW 43.21C.060
and WAC 197-11-660
. If an agency has already formally designated agency SEPA policies that meet the requirements of the act and these rules, the agency is not required to adopt them again. Agencies may revise or add to their SEPA policies at any time. Although agency SEPA procedures cannot change the provisions of these rules concerning substantive authority and mitigation (WAC 197-11-906
(2)), agency SEPA policies are encouraged to identify specific mitigation measures or techniques.
(3) An agency's document that includes or references by citation their agency SEPA policies (WAC 197-11-660
(3)) may be included in agency SEPA procedures (WAC 197-11-904
). Public notice and opportunity for public comment shall be provided as part of the agency process for formally designating its SEPA policies.
(4) Depending on their content, the formal designation of agency SEPA policies will not necessarily require any environmental review and will normally be categorically exempt as a procedural action under WAC 197-11-800
(19). For example, the policies may merely compile, reorganize, or reference laws or policies currently on the books, or may otherwise be procedural in nature, such as requiring decision makers to consider certain factors.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.21A.090
, chapter 43.21C
RCW, RCW 43.21C.035
. WSR 03-16-067 (Order 02-12), § 197-11-902, filed 8/1/03, effective 9/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.21C.110
. WSR 84-05-020 (Order DE 83-39), § 197-11-902, filed 2/10/84, effective 4/4/84.]