State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”) Helps How?
I have always had questions about how a SEPA can protect the environment by its results when the detailed scientific studies, data, and articles are not published first before public input permitted by the SEPA process.
Others have questioned the SEPA process also; for example:
- Where “[P]rocess does not mandate environmentally-friendly decisions, but is intended to guarantee that the government will act in light of environmental consequences.” See, The Prima Facie Burden and the Vanishing SEPA Threshold: Washington’s Emerging Preference for Efficiency over Accuracy (at 404), http://blogs.gonzaga.edu/gulawreview/files/2011/02/Hirokawa.pdf (last visited Mar 3, 2016);
The people doing the SEPA EIS review might just have their own results thinking:
2. Serfdom: Isolated decision making in the urban planning context produces a phenomenon that Professor Robin Molloy of Syracuse University calls “serfdom,” in which legal outcomes depend upon personal status in the political sphere. In such a legal environment, what people are allowed to do depends upon who they know, on whether their projects seem politically advantageous, on whether they fit a planner’s vision for a particular urban landscape, or on whether they benefit a city’s financial interests. Public entrepreneurialism, the participation of the public purse in urban development, is part of this phenomenon. See, Abstraction, Precedent, and Articulate Consistency: Making Environmental Decisions California Western Law Review (Vol. 34) (at 3, p. 429), http://scholarlycommons.law.cwsl.edu/cwlr/vol34/iss2/11 (last visited Mar 3, 2016)
- We trade this-for-that so it’s a wash in Washington at expense of environment tomorrow, “SEPA gives state and local agencies the authority to require conditions to offset any identified adverse environmental impacts.” See, SEPA Overview, http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/sepa/overview.html (last visited Mar 3, 2016);
- Washington State SEPA presentation overview. See generally, MRSC – State Environmental Policy Act, http://mrsc.org/Home/Explore-Topics/Environment/Environmental-Laws/State-Environmental-Policy-Act.aspx (last visited Mar 3, 2016); and
- What has already been decided in Washington State related to environmental policy see, Appendix B – Significant SEPA Appellate Court Decisions, http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/sepa/handbk/hbappb.html (last visited Mar 3, 2016).
Therefore, a lot of questions about just how effective is Wash. SEPA process?
We will all know more as the Tacoma Methanol Facility SEPA EIS process unfolds.