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PDFWAC 197-11-440

EIS contents.

(1) An EIS shall contain the following, in the style and format prescribed in the preceding sections.
(2) Fact sheet. The fact sheet shall include the following information in this order:
(a) A title and brief description (a few sentences) of the nature and location (by street address, if applicable) of the proposal, including principal alternatives.
(b) The name of the person or entity making the proposal(s) and the proposed or tentative date for implementation.
(c) The name and address of the lead agency, the responsible official, and the person to contact for questions, comments, and information.
(d) A list of all licenses which the proposal is known to require. The licenses shall be listed by name and agency; the list shall be as complete and specific as possible.
(e) Authors and principal contributors to the EIS and the nature or subject area of their contributions.
(f) The date of issue of the EIS.
(g) The date comments are due (for DEISs).
(h) The time and place of public hearings or meetings, if any and if known.
(i) The date final action is planned or scheduled by the lead agency, if known. Agencies may indicate that the date is subject to change. The nature or type of final agency action should be stated unless covered in subsection (a) above.
(j) The type and timing of any subsequent environmental review to which the lead agency or other agencies have made commitments, if any.
(k) The location of a prior EIS on the proposal, EIS technical reports, background data, adopted documents, and materials incorporated by reference for this EIS, if any.
(l) The cost to the public for a copy of the EIS.
(3) Table of contents.
(a) The table of contents should list, if possible, any documents which are appended, adopted, or serve as technical reports for this EIS (but need not list each comment letter).
(b) The table of contents may include the list of elements of the environment (WAC 197-11-444), indicating those elements or portions of elements which do not involve significant impacts.
(4) Summary. The EIS shall summarize the contents of the statement and shall not merely be an expanded table of contents. The summary shall briefly state the proposal's objectives, specifying the purpose and need to which the proposal is responding, the major conclusions, significant areas of controversy and uncertainty, if any, and the issues to be resolved, including the environmental choices to be made among alternative courses of action and the effectiveness of mitigation measures. The summary need not mention every subject discussed in the EIS, but shall include a summary of the proposal, impacts, alternatives, mitigation measures, and significant adverse impacts that cannot be mitigated. The summary shall state when the EIS is part of a phased review, if known, or the lead agency is relying on prior or future environmental review (which should be generally identified). The lead agency shall make the summary sufficiently broad to be useful to the other agencies with jurisdiction.
(5) Alternatives including the proposed action.
(a) This section of the EIS describes and presents the proposal (or preferred alternative, if one or more exists) and alternative courses of action.
(b) Reasonable alternatives shall include actions that could feasibly attain or approximate a proposal's objectives, but at a lower environmental cost or decreased level of environmental degradation.
(i) The word "reasonable" is intended to limit the number and range of alternatives, as well as the amount of detailed analysis for each alternative.
(ii) The "no-action" alternative shall be evaluated and compared to other alternatives.
(iii) Reasonable alternatives may be those over which an agency with jurisdiction has authority to control impacts either directly, or indirectly through requirement of mitigation measures.
(c) This section of the EIS shall:
(i) Describe the objective(s), proponent(s), and principal features of reasonable alternatives. Include the proposed action, including mitigation measures that are part of the proposal.
(ii) Describe the location of the alternatives including the proposed action, so that a lay person can understand it. Include a map, street address, if any, and legal description (unless long or in metes and bounds).
(iii) Identify any phases of the proposal, their timing, and previous or future environmental analysis on this or related proposals, if known.
(iv) Tailor the level of detail of descriptions to the significance of environmental impacts. The lead agency should retain any detailed engineering drawings and technical data, that have been submitted, in agency files and make them available on request.
(v) Devote sufficiently detailed analysis to each reasonable alternative to permit a comparative evaluation of the alternatives including the proposed action. The amount of space devoted to each alternative may vary. One alternative (including the proposed action) may be used as a benchmark for comparing alternatives. The EIS may indicate the main reasons for eliminating alternatives from detailed study.
(vi) Present a comparison of the environmental impacts of the reasonable alternatives, and include the no action alternative. Although graphics may be helpful, a matrix or chart is not required. A range of alternatives or a few representative alternatives, rather than every possible reasonable variation, may be discussed.
(vii) Discuss the benefits and disadvantages of reserving for some future time the implementation of the proposal, as compared with possible approval at this time. The agency perspective should be that each generation is, in effect, a trustee of the environment for succeeding generations. Particular attention should be given to the possibility of foreclosing future options by implementing the proposal.
(d) When a proposal is for a private project on a specific site, the lead agency shall be required to evaluate only the no action alternative plus other reasonable alternatives for achieving the proposal's objective on the same site. This subsection shall not apply when the proposal includes a rezone, unless the rezone is for a use allowed in an existing comprehensive plan that was adopted after review under SEPA. Further, alternative sites may be evaluated if other locations for the type of proposed use have not been included or considered in existing planning or zoning documents.
(6) Affected environment, significant impacts, and mitigation measures.
(a) This section of the EIS shall describe the existing environment that will be affected by the proposal, analyze significant impacts of alternatives including the proposed action, and discuss reasonable mitigation measures that would significantly mitigate these impacts. Elements of the environment that are not significantly affected need not be discussed. Separate sections are not required for each subject (see WAC 197-11-430(3)).
(b) General requirements for this section of the EIS.
(i) This section shall be written in a nontechnical manner which is easily understandable to lay persons whenever possible, with the discussion commensurate with the importance of the impacts. Only significant impacts must be discussed; other impacts may be discussed.
(ii) Although the lead agency should discuss the affected environment, environmental impacts, and other mitigation measures together for each element of the environment where there is a significant impact, the responsible official shall have the flexibility to organize this section in any manner useful to decision makers and the public (see WAC 197-11-430(3)).
(iii) This subsection is not intended to duplicate the analysis in subsection (5) and shall avoid doing so to the fullest extent possible.
(c) This section of the EIS shall:
(i) Succinctly describe the principal features of the environment that would be affected, or created, by the alternatives including the proposal under consideration. Inventories of species should be avoided, although rare, threatened, or endangered species should be indicated.
(ii) Describe and discuss significant impacts that will narrow the range or degree of beneficial uses of the environment or pose long term risks to human health or the environment, such as storage, handling, or disposal of toxic or hazardous material.
(iii) Clearly indicate those mitigation measures (not described in the previous section as part of the proposal or alternatives), if any, that could be implemented or might be required, as well as those, if any, that agencies or applicants are committed to implement.
(iv) Indicate what the intended environmental benefits of mitigation measures are for significant impacts, and may discuss their technical feasibility and economic practicability, if there is concern about whether a mitigation measure is capable of being accomplished. The EIS need not analyze mitigation measures in detail unless they involve substantial changes to the proposal causing significant adverse impacts, or new information regarding significant impacts, and those measures will not be subsequently analyzed under SEPA (see WAC 197-11-660(2)). An EIS may briefly mention nonsignificant impacts or mitigation measures to satisfy other environmental review laws or requirements covered in the same document (WAC 197-11-402(8) and 197-11-640).
(v) Summarize significant adverse impacts that cannot or will not be mitigated.
(d) This section shall incorporate, when appropriate:
(i) A summary of existing plans (for example: Land use and shoreline plans) and zoning regulations applicable to the proposal, and how the proposal is consistent and inconsistent with them.
(ii) Energy requirements and conservation potential of various alternatives and mitigation measures, including more efficient use of energy, such as insulating, as well as the use of alternate and renewable energy resources.
(iii) Natural or depletable resource requirements and conservation potential of various alternatives and mitigation measures.
(iv) Urban quality, historic and cultural resources, and the design of the built environment, including the reuse and conservation potential of various alternatives and mitigation measures.
(e) Significant impacts on both the natural environment and the built environment must be analyzed, if relevant (WAC 197-11-444). This involves impacts upon and the quality of the physical surroundings, whether they are in wild, rural, or urban areas. Discussion of significant impacts shall include the cost of and effects on public services, such as utilities, roads, fire, and police protection, that may result from a proposal. EISs shall also discuss significant environmental impacts upon land and shoreline use, which includes housing, physical blight, and significant impacts of projected population on environmental resources, as specified by RCW 43.21C.110 (1)(d) and (f), as listed in WAC 197-11-444.
(7) Appendices. Comment letters and responses shall be circulated with the FEIS as specified by WAC 197-11-560. Technical reports and supporting documents need not be circulated with an EIS (WAC 197-11-425(4) and 197-11-440 (2)(k)), but shall be readily available to agencies and the public during the comment period.
(8) (Optional) The lead agency may include, in an EIS or appendix, the analysis of any impact relevant to the agency's decision, whether or not environmental. The inclusion of such analysis may be based upon comments received during the scoping process. The provision for combining documents may be used (WAC 197-11-640). The EIS shall comply with the format requirements of this part. The decision whether to include such information and the adequacy of any such additional analysis shall not be used in determining whether an EIS meets the requirements of SEPA.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.21C.110. WSR 84-05-020 (Order DE 83-39), ยง 197-11-440, filed 2/10/84, effective 4/4/84.]
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