Washington Law Review


John C. Hammar


Washington enacted the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) in 1971, which required that consideration be given to environmental factors for all developments proposed by either private or public entities. The legislature delegated authority to promulgate rules for SEPA's interpretation and implementation to a specially created state agency, the Council on Environmental Policy (CEP).9 The CEP was specifically directed to detail the procedures for completion of the "threshold determination," the test to determine whether an environmental impact statement (EIS) must be prepared. Responding to this task, it issued the SEPA Guidelines in December 1975, the culmination of two years of extensive drafting and public hearings This comment will discuss the choice of the agency required to make the threshold determination and will outline how the determination should be made. Preparation of an EIS is required whenever "major actions significantly affecting the quality of the environment" are proposed. Theoretically, all actions are subject to the threshold determination analysis because there are no express exceptions to the statute.

First Page