Does the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Protect or Obstruct?

I am now locating my posts for URBDP 598, Sustainable Development and Regional Economics on my own blog and reposting them on the class blog.

Bicycles + Infrastructure + Landscape

According to the State of Washington Department of Ecology, “The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) provides a way to identify possible environmental impacts that may result from governmental decisions.” Examples include private development projects like housing, offices or retail and for public projects like new roads or schools. Using a checklist SEPA looks at the potential effects on the following criteria:

  • SEPAReviewProcessAir
  • Animals
  • Earth
  • Energy
  • Environmental health
  • Land use
  • Plants
  • Public services
  • Transportation
  • Utilities
  • Water

The review is conducted by a ‘lead agency’, which is usually the city/county government where a private project is proposed. For a public proposal, the lead agency is typically the agency proposing the project. After the initial submission the lead agency can request further traffic and site studies that might evaluate air and water quality or wetlands impacts.

After the project proponent submits information for the checklist the lead agency can either issue a ‘determination of…

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