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SEPA guidance

This State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) guidance covers topics such as:

  • Completing the checklist
  • Exemptions
  • Lead agency determination

This State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) guidance includes updated information included in previous SEPA handbooks and also contains supplemental information. 

This guidance is intended to be used in conjunction with the State Environmental Policy Act and state SEPA rules but does not have the same legal standing as state law or rules. 

If conflicts arise between our guidance, SEPA and state SEPA rules, please follow applicable state laws and regulations.

Procedural requirements

The following links provide information about important SEPA subjects. This information is presented to help agencies, applicants, and the public fully understand and participate in procedural requirements in the state law. Before a particular course of action can be followed, SEPA requires that agencies:

  • Consider environmental information  including impacts, alternatives, and mitigation.
  • Identify and evaluate — probable environmental impacts, alternatives and mitigation measures by emphasizing important impacts including those that are cumulative, short-term, long-term, direct and indirect.
  • Encourage public involvement — in decisions.
  • Prepare environmental documents — that are concise, clear, and to the point.
  • Integrate SEPA with existing planning and licensing procedures — so these processes run concurrently rather than consecutively.
  • Integrate SEPA with agency activities early — to ensure planning and decisions reflect environmental values, avoid delays later in the process, and seek to resolve potential problems.

SEPA Guidance