The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), Chapter 43.21C RCW. Enacted in 1971, provides the framework for governmental agencies to consider the environmental consequences of a proposal before taking action. Environmental review under SEPA is required for any project or nonproject actions which involves a government "action," as defined in the SEPA Rules (WAC 197-11-704), and is not categorically exempt (WAC 197-11-800 through 890). Project actions involve an agency decision on a specific project (e.g., a building permit for a construction project). Nonproject actions involve decisions on policies, plans, or programs, such as the adoption of a comprehensive plan or development regulations. The Act is implemented through the SEPA Rules, Chapter 197-11 WAC.
Purpose of Environmental Checklist
Governmental agencies use the environmental checklist to help determine whether the environmental impacts of a proposal are significant. This information is also helpful to determine if available avoidance, minimization or compensatory mitigation measures will address the probable significant impacts or if an environmental impact statement will be prepared to further analyze the proposal.
SEPA will not be required if the project meets one of the Categorical Exemptions established in WAC 197-11-800.