First adopted in 1971, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) provided Washington State's basic environmental charter (RCW 43.21C). SEPA, modeled after the National Environmental Policy Act (1969), was created to fill this need.
Consideration & Mitigation
SEPA gives agencies the tools to allow them to both consider and mitigate for environmental impacts of proposals. Provisions were also included to involve the public, tribes, and interested agencies in most review processes prior to a final decision being made. (Excerpt from the Washington State Department of Ecology SEPA Handbook)
Most land use permits are subject to environmental review which occurs concurrently with the underlying land use permit (plats, short plats, conditional use permits, rezones, shoreline permits, etc.). At the conclusion of the environmental review process, a SEPA threshold determination of either non-significance or significance is issued for the proposal.
Determination of Significance
When a Determination of Significance is issued on a proposal, the applicant is required to select a consultant from the county's roster of approved consultants for preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to SCC 30.61.130.
How to Become an Approved Consultant
Firms interested in being on the Approved Consultants Roster must submit a Statement of Qualifications to Planning and Development Services for review and evaluation. Please contact Ryan Countryman, Supervisor, at 425-388-3311, ext. 2304, or [email protected].
County Non-Project Environmental Documents
Snohomish County also uses the SEPA process to evaluate environmental impacts of its plans, policies, and regulations. You can access those environmental review documents here.