SEPA guidance

This SEPA guidance covers some topics that are also included in the SEPA Handbook such as:

  • Defining the total proposal
  • Exemptions
  • Lead agency determination

It also includes updated information related to Frequently Asked Questions, Guidance for the Environmental Checklist, and Review and Commenting. This guidance is intended to be used in conjunction with the SEPA statute 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