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Published on Friday, January 31, 2014

SEPA and cultural resources

HB 2709 would reinstitute the requirement to perform SEPA review for cultural resources and archaeology, on all project and non-project actions that were exempted by the recent SEPA rulemakings and HB 6406 from 2011. We have had many discussions about these issues through the course of these years, and fully support the need to consider the consequences of actions taken by local governments that might affect these resources. We will continue to argue that SEPA is not the only tool that can provide that opportunity, and that we support the most recent SEPA rule proposal from Ecology.

The new rules specify, before optional categorical exemption thresholds can be raised:

  • For cultural and historic resources (per WAC 197-11-444), documentation that environmental analysis, protection and mitigation have been adequately addressed for the development exempted shall include a minimum of the following:
    • Use of available data and other project review tools regarding known and likely cultural and historic resources, such as inventories and predictive models provided by the Washington department of archaeology and historic preservation, other agencies, and tribal governments.
    • Planning and permitting processes that ensure compliance with applicable laws including chapters 27.44, 27.53, 68.50, and 68.60 RCW.
    • Local development regulations that include at minimum preproject cultural resource review where warranted, and standard inadvertent discovery language (SIDL) for all projects.

Please provide any feedback to Carl Schroeder.

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