Chapter 16.12


16.12.010    Authority and limitation.

16.12.020    Purpose of EIS.

16.12.030    General standards.

16.12.040    EIS types.

16.12.050    Scoping.

16.12.060    EIS preparation.

16.12.070    Format.

16.12.080    Issuance of DEIS and DSEIS.

16.12.090    Issuance of FEIS and FSEIS.

16.12.010 Authority and limitation.

The provisions of this chapter are established by WAC 197-11-400 through 197-11-460 and may not be changed, except as necessary to be grammatically incorporated into the SEPA code pursuant to WAC 197-11-906(3)(b). (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).

16.12.020 Purpose of EIS.

A. The primary purpose of an environmental impact statement is to ensure that SEPA’s policies are an integral part of the ongoing programs and actions of state and local government.

B. An EIS shall provide impartial discussion of significant environmental impacts and shall inform decision makers and the public of reasonable alternatives, including mitigation measures, that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance environmental quality.

C. Environmental impact statements shall be concise, clear, and to the point, and shall be supported by the necessary environmental analysis. The purpose of an EIS is best served by short documents containing summaries of, or reference to, technical data and by avoiding excessively detailed and overly technical information. The volume of an EIS does not bear on its adequacy. Larger documents may even hinder the decision-making process.

D. The EIS process enables government agencies and interested citizens to review and comment on proposed government actions, including government approval of private projects and their environmental effects. This process is intended to assist the agencies and applicants to improve their plans and decisions, and to encourage the resolution of potential concerns or problems prior to issuing a final statement. An environmental impact statement is more than a disclosure document. It shall be used by agency officials in conjunction with other relevant materials and considerations to plan actions and make decisions. (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).

16.12.030 General standards.

Environmental impact statements shall comply with the following:

A. General requirements of WAC 197-11-402.

B. Time requirements of WAC 197-11-406.

C. Style and size requirements of WAC 197-11-425.

D. Format requirements of WAC 197-11-430. (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).

16.12.040 EIS types.

A. Draft and final environmental impact statements (EISs) shall be prepared; draft and final supplemental EISs may be prepared.

B. A draft EIS (DEIS) allows the city to consult with members of the public, affected tribes, and agencies with jurisdiction and with expertise. The city shall issue a DEIS and consider comments in the final EIS.

C. A final EIS (FEIS) shall revise the DEIS as appropriate and respond to comments.

D. A FEIS shall respond to opposing views on significant adverse environmental impacts and reasonable alternatives which the lead agency determines were not adequately discussed in the DEIS. The city shall issue a FEIS as specified by BLMC 16.06.040(E).

E. If supplemental EIS (SEIS) is prepared it shall comply with the requirements for draft and final EIS and the following:

1. A SEIS shall be prepared as an addition to either a draft or final statement if:

a. There are substantial changes to a proposal so that the proposal is likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts; or

b. There is significant new information indicating, or on, a proposal’s probable significant adverse environmental impacts.

2. Scoping is optional.

3. The SEIS should not include analysis of actions, alternatives, or impacts that is in the previously prepared EIS.

4. The fact sheet and cover letter or memo for the SEIS shall indicate the EIS that is being supplemented.

5. Unless the city wants to prepare the SEIS, the agency with jurisdiction which needs the SEIS for its action shall be responsible for SEIS preparation.

F. The city may adopt a federal EIS as provided for in Chapter 16.14 BLMC. (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).

16.12.050 Scoping.

A. The city shall narrow the scope of every EIS to the probable significant adverse impacts and reasonable alternatives, including mitigation measures.

B. To ensure that every EIS is concise and addresses the significant environmental issues, the city shall:

1. Invite agency, affected tribes, and public comment on the DS consistent with the following:

a. Written comments from agencies, affected tribes and the public shall be provided within 21 days from the date of issuance of the DS in which to comment, unless expanded scoping is used.

b. If a GMA county/city issues the scoping notice with the notice of application under RCW 36.70B.110, the comment period shall be no less than 14 days.

c. The date of issuance for a DS is the date it is sent to the DOE, other agencies with jurisdiction, and is publicly available.

2. Identify reasonable alternatives and probable significant adverse environmental impacts.

3. Eliminate from the EIS those impacts that are not significant.

4. Work with other agencies to identify and integrate environmental studies required for other government approvals with the EIS, where feasible.

C. Agencies, affected tribes, and the public should comment promptly and as specifically as permitted by the details available on the proposal.

D. Meetings or scoping documents, including notices that the scope has been revised, may be used but are not required. The city shall integrate the scoping process with its existing planning and decision-making process to avoid duplication and delay.

E. The city shall revise the scope of an EIS if substantial changes are made later in the proposal, or if significant new circumstances or information arise that bear on the proposal and its significant impacts.

F. DEISs shall be prepared according to the scope decided upon by the city during the scoping process.

G. EIS preparation may begin during scoping. (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).

16.12.060 EIS preparation.

For draft and final EISs and SEISs:

A. Preparation of the EIS is the responsibility of the city and shall be completed under the direction of the SEPA official. No matter who participates in the preparation of the EIS, it is the EIS of the city. The SEPA official, prior to distributing an EIS, shall be satisfied that it complies with these rules and the procedures of the city.

B. The city may have an EIS prepared by agency staff, an applicant, or its agent, or by an outside consultant retained by either an applicant or the city. The city shall assure that the EIS is prepared in a professional manner and with appropriate interdisciplinary methodology. The SEPA official shall direct the areas of research and examination to be undertaken because of the scoping process, as well as the organization of the resulting document.

C. If an entity other than the city is preparing the EIS, the city shall:

1. Coordinate any scoping procedures so that the individual preparing the EIS receives all substantive information submitted by any agency or person.

2. Assist in obtaining any information on file with another agency that is needed by the person preparing the EIS.

3. Allow any party preparing an EIS access to all public records of the city that relate to the subject of the EIS, under Chapters 42.17A and 42.56 RCW (Public disclosure and public records law).

D. The city will consult with the applicant on the selection of consultant or entities to prepare part or all of an EIS; however, the final determination shall be made exclusively by the city.

E. The applicant shall be responsible for the entire cost of preparing the EIS. (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).

16.12.070 Format.

A. A cover letter consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-435(2) shall be prepared by the city and shall precede the EIS. The cover letter shall not be considered part of the EIS when determining the adequacy of the EIS.

B. All EISs shall contain the following information in the order provided below:

1. A fact sheet consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-440(2).

2. A table of contents consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-440(3).

3. A summary consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-440(4).

4. An analysis of the alternatives consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-440(5).

5. A discussion of the affected environment, significant impacts, and mitigation measures consistent with the requirements of WAC 197-11-440(6).

6. Distribution list (may be included in appendix).

7. Appendices, if any (including, for FEIS, comment letters and any separate responses).

C. The EIS text is divided into two sections as discussed in subsections (B)(4) and (5) of this section. The city has wide latitude to organize and present material as the city sees fit within these two basic sections. Agencies are not required to discuss each subject in WAC 197-11-440(5) and (6) and 197-11-444 in a separate section of the EIS.

D. Additional Format Considerations.

1. Where relevant to the alternatives and impacts of a proposal, the analysis specified in WAC 197-11-440 shall be included regardless of the format of a particular statement.

2. The format of a FEIS may differ, as specified by BLMC 16.06.060.

3. Additional flexibility is provided in WAC 197-11-442 and 197-11-443 for environmental impact statements related to nonproject proposals.

4. The elements of the environment for purposes of analyzing environmental impacts are stated in WAC 197-11-444.

5. Additional guidance on the distinction between environmental and other considerations is given in WAC 197-11-448 and 197-11-450.

6. EISs may be combined with other documents as provided in BLMC 16.02.080 and 16.14.040. (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).

16.12.080 Issuance of DEIS and DSEIS.

A. The DEIS and DSEIS shall be issued by the SEPA official and sent to the following:

1. The Department of Ecology (two copies).

2. Each federal agency with jurisdiction over the proposal.

3. Each agency with jurisdiction over or environmental expertise on the proposal.

4. Each city/county in which adverse environmental impacts identified in the EIS may occur if the proposal were implemented.

5. Each local agency or political subdivision whose public services would be changed because of implementation of the proposal.

6. The applicable local, area-wide, or regional agency, if any, that has been designated under federal law to conduct intergovernmental review and coordinate federal activities with state or local planning.

7. Any person requesting a copy of the EIS from the lead agency (fee may be charged for DEIS, see WAC 197-11-504).

8. Any affected tribe.

B. The city shall send a notice of availability to any person, organization or governmental agency that has expressed an interest in the proposal, is known by the city to have an interest in the type of proposal being considered or receives governmental documents.

C. The city shall make one physical copy available at its offices to be reviewed or obtained and provide electronic access on the city’s website.

D. The date of issuance is the date the DEIS is publicly available and sent to the Department of Ecology and other agencies with jurisdiction.

E. Notice that a DEIS is available shall be given under BLMC 16.06.040(E).

F. Any person or agency shall have 30 days from the date of issuance in which to review and comment upon the DEIS.

G. Upon request, the city may grant an extension of up to 15 days to the comment period. Agencies and the public must request any extension before the end of the comment period. (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).

16.12.090 Issuance of FEIS and FSEIS.

A. A final EIS (FEIS) shall be issued by the SEPA official and sent to the Department of Ecology (two copies), to all agencies with jurisdiction, to all agencies who commented on the DEIS, and to anyone requesting a copy of the FEIS.

B. The SEPA official shall send the FEIS, or a notice that the FEIS is available, to anyone who commented on the DEIS and to those who received but did not comment on the DEIS. If the agency receives petitions from a specific group or organization, a notice or EIS may be sent to the group and not to each petitioner. Failure to notify any individual under this subsection shall not affect the legal validity of the city’s SEPA compliance.

C. The city shall make one physical copy available at its offices to be reviewed or obtained and provide electronic access on the city’s website.

D. The date of issuance is the date the FEIS, or notice of availability, is sent to the persons and agencies specified in the preceding subsections and the FEIS is publicly available. Copies sent to the Department of Ecology shall satisfy the statutory requirement of availability to the governor and to the Ecological Commission.

E. Agencies shall not act on a proposal for which an EIS has been required prior to seven days after issuance of the FEIS.

F. The city shall issue the FEIS within 60 days of the end of the comment period for the DEIS, unless the proposal is unusually large in scope, the environmental impact associated with the proposal is unusually complex, or extensive modifications are required to respond to public comments.

G. The form and content of the FEIS is specified in BLMC 16.06.060. (Ord. 1701 § 9, 2023).