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State
Washington
Chapter 47.06C RCW Permit efficiency and accountability




Chapter 47.06C RCW
Permit efficiency and accountability



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47.06C.010
Findings Intent. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
The legislature finds that the public health and safety of its citizens, the natural resources, and the environment are vital interests of the state that need to be protected and preserved. The legislature further finds that the safety of the traveling public and the state's economic well-being are vital interests that depend upon the development of cost-effective and efficient transportation systems planned, designed, constructed, and maintained through expedited permit decision-making processes.

It is the intent of the legislature to achieve transportation permit reform that expedites the delivery of transportation projects through a streamlined approach to environmental permit decision making. To optimize the limited resources available for transportation system improvements and environmental protection, state regulatory and natural resource agencies, public and private sector interests, Indian tribes, local and regional governments, applicable federal agencies, and the department of transportation must work cooperatively to establish common goals, minimize project delays, develop consistency in the application of environmental standards, maximize environmental benefits through coordinated investment strategies, and eliminate duplicative processes through assigned responsibilities of selected permit drafting and compliance activities between state and federal agencies.

Therefore, the transportation permit efficiency and accountability committee is created. The committee shall integrate current environmental standards, but may not create new environmental standards. The committee shall conduct three environmental permit streamlining pilot projects and create a process to develop general permits. Additionally, the committee shall seek federal delegation to the state where appropriate to streamline transportation projects.


[2003 c 8 1; 2001 1st sp.s. c 2 1.]

Notes: Effective date -- 2003 c 8: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [March 31, 2003]." [2003 c 8 4.]







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47.06C.020
Definitions. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context indicates otherwise.

(1) "Assigned responsibilities" means those components of developing and implementing environmental permits, including but not limited to, environmental review and assessment, selected permit drafting, and selected on-site compliance activities that may be conducted by the department.

(2) "Best available information" means the existing sources of data, including limiting factors analyses required under chapter 77.85 RCW that can be used to make informed decisions regarding environmental conditions within a watershed.

(3) "Best management practices" means currently available and generally accepted techniques, including new technologies or strategies that seek to reduce the negative impacts of transportation facilities, projects, and services on communities and the environment, and promote more efficient and effective use of transportation facilities.

(4) "Committee" means the transportation permit efficiency and accountability committee created in RCW 47.06C.030.

(5) "Least cost planning" means the use of best available information within a watershed basin applied to transportation decision making in the planning, permit decision making, and mitigation phases of a project.

(6) "Low-impact development project" means an activity or series of actions that conform to a comprehensive land use planning and engineering design approach with a goal of maintaining or restoring existing natural habitat functions and hydrologic regime of urban and developing watersheds. These projects incorporate strategic watershed planning with site-specific management techniques to reduce development impacts to better replicate natural watershed hydrology and water quality, while allowing for development or infrastructure rehabilitation to occur.

(7) "One-stop permit decision making" means a coordinated permit decision-making process that streamlines environmental review and permit decision making for transportation projects by providing concurrent, consolidated review by each agency required to review the project.

(8) "Programmatic approach" means a permit or other action that covers a geographic or statewide area and applies to a variety of projects, activities, or locales. A programmatic approach may allow actions to proceed without individual approval by each permit decision-making agency.

(9) "Transportation project of statewide significance" means a surface transportation project or combination of surface transportation projects, that crosses multiple city or county jurisdictional boundaries or connects major state destinations in support of the state's economy and is so designated by the department of transportation and approved by the transportation committees of the senate and house of representatives. The transportation committees of the senate and house of representatives may also jointly designate these projects. The pilot projects established in this chapter are examples of transportation projects of statewide significance, but transportation projects of statewide significance are not limited to the pilot projects.

(10) "Watershed" means a water resource inventory area.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 2.]






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47.06C.030
Transportation permit efficiency and accountability committee. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
The transportation permit efficiency and accountability committee is created.

(1) The committee consists of nine voting members, including two members from the house of representatives, one from each of the two largest caucuses; two senators, one from each of the two largest caucuses; one member designated by the secretary of transportation; one member designated by the director of fish and wildlife; one member designated by the director of ecology; one member designated by the Association of Washington Cities; and one member designated by the Washington State Association of Counties. The committee shall elect a chair from the four legislators appointed to the committee.

(2) The committee also includes eight nonvoting members, including one member designated by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission; one member designated by the Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission; one member designated by the Consulting Engineers Council of Washington; one member designated by the Associated General Contractors of Washington; one member designated by the Association of Washington Business; one member designated by the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council; one member designated by statewide environmental organizations; and one member designated by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission, to represent the interests of citizens engaged in fish and wildlife recovery.

(3) A representative from the department of natural resources and representatives from federal regulatory and transportation agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Highways Administration, and United States Fish and Wildlife Service must be invited to participate in committee deliberations as nonvoting members.

(4) The committee may create technical subcommittees as needed. Technical subcommittees created for a specific pilot project or pilot projects must include, but are not limited to, representatives of local governments from jurisdictions affected by those projects. Recommendations made by a technical subcommittee must be approved by a majority of the voting members of the committee.

(5) Nonvoting members will not be compensated but will receive reimbursement for travel expenses in accordance with RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.

(6) The department of transportation office of environmental affairs shall provide administrative and clerical assistance to the committee.

(7) No vote of the committee may overrule existing statutes, regulations, or local ordinances.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 3.]






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47.06C.040
Committee responsibilities. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
(1)(a) The committee and its authorized technical subcommittees shall develop a one-stop permit decision-making process that uses interdisciplinary review of transportation projects of statewide significance to streamline and expedite permit decision making. The committee shall collaborate with appropriate agencies and parties to identify existing environmental standards, to assess the application of those standards, and develop an integrated permitting process based upon environmental standards and best management practices, which may use prescriptive or performance standards, for transportation projects of statewide significance that can be applied with certainty, consistency, and assurance of swift permit action, while taking into account the varying environmental conditions throughout the state.

(b) By June 30, 2003, the committee shall develop a detailed work plan of one-stop permitting activities for review by the legislature. The work plan must include both a schedule to use the one-stop permit process on all funded transportation projects of statewide significance and any additional resources needed to ensure that this occurs. This work plan must include a process that enables the department to propose permit terms and conditions for permitting agency review and approval.

(c) The committee shall provide a status report to the legislature by December 31, 2003, and shall also identify barriers and opportunities to achieve a concurrent public review process, concurrent public hearings, and a unified appeals process for one-stop permitting.

(2) The committee shall give notice to the legislative authority of each affected county and city of the projects that are designated as transportation projects of statewide significance.

(3) The committee shall create a technical subcommittee with representation at a minimum from the department of fish and wildlife, the department of ecology, and the department of transportation.

(a) Within six months from the first meeting of the committee, the subcommittee shall create a process to develop a programmatic approach for transportation projects. The committee shall review the department's construction project list to determine which projects or activities may be included in the programmatic approach and develop agreements with a goal of covering seventy percent of those projects or activities with programmatic agreements. At a minimum, this process must require that decisions on minor variations to the requirements of a programmatic approach must be provided by the permit decision-making agencies within twenty-one days of submittal.

(b) By June 30, 2003, the committee shall prioritize programmatic agreement opportunities identified in (a) of this subsection, develop a detailed work plan to achieve the goals set forth, and submit the report and plan to the legislature. The work plan must be reviewed and updated on a quarterly basis and submitted to the legislature twice yearly. This work plan must include the following elements:

(i) A schedule of activities and resources needed to achieve completion of the nine highest priority multiagency programmatic agreements by June 30, 2004;

(ii) A prioritized list of the remaining departmental activities eligible for programmatic, multiagency consideration by September 30, 2003;

(iii) A schedule of activities and resources to achieve completion of the prioritized list of programmatic agreements by December 31, 2005.

(c) The committee shall work with local governments to identify opportunities to integrate local government requirements in the agreements or permits identified in (b) of this subsection.

(d) The technical subcommittee's recommendations must be approved by a majority of the voting members of the committee.

(4) The committee shall explore the development of a consolidated local permit process.

(5) The committee shall conduct one or more pilot projects to implement the collaborative review process set forth in RCW 36.70A.430 to review and coordinate state and local permits for a transportation project funded in the transportation budget and that crosses more than one city or county boundary.

(6) The committee shall appoint a task force of representatives from cities and counties, the department of transportation, and other agencies as appropriate to identify one or more city or county permits for activities for which uniform standards can be developed for application by local governments. It is the goal of the task force to develop uniform standards and best practices for these identified permits that may be used by local governments in issuing their permits. The task force shall identify strategies for local governments to adapt these standards and best practices to local conditions. The committee shall encourage local governments to use these standards and best practices in local ordinances. The task force shall submit a progress report to the committee and the legislature by December 31, 2003, and shall conclude its work and report its final recommendations for review to the committee and the legislature no later than December 31, 2004.

(7) The committee shall develop and prioritize a list of permit streamlining opportunities, specifically identifying substantive and procedural duplications and recommendations for resolving those duplications. The committee shall evaluate current laws and regulations and develop recommendations on ways to minimize the lapsing of permits. The committee shall evaluate flexible approaches that maximize transportation and environmental interests and make recommendations regarding where those approaches should be implemented.

(8) The committee shall undertake the following activities to develop a watershed approach to environmental mitigation:

(a) Develop methodologies for analyzing environmental impacts and applying compensatory mitigation consistent with a watershed-based approach before final design, including least cost methodology and low-impact development methodology;

(b) Assess models to collate and access watershed data to support early agency involvement in transportation planning and reviews under the national Environmental Policy Act and the State Environmental Policy Act;

(c) Use existing best available information from watershed planning efforts, lead entities, regional fisheries enhancement groups, and other recognized entities as deemed appropriate by the committee, to determine potential mitigation requirements for projects within a watershed. Priority consideration should be given to the use of the state's alternative mitigation policy guidance to best link transportation mitigation needs with local watershed and lead entity project lists; and

(d) By June 30, 2003, develop a detailed work plan that covers watershed-based mitigation activities. This work plan must be submitted to the legislature and include the following elements:

(i) A schedule of activities and resources needed to complete a watershed-based mitigation policy by December 31, 2003, that covers elements of permitting deemed appropriate by the committee;

(ii) A schedule of activities and resources needed to develop watershed-based mitigation decision-making tools by June 30, 2004;

(iii) A schedule of activities and resources needed to complete a test of technical and policy methods of watershed-based mitigation decision making by December 31, 2004, for a funded project in an urbanized area of the state; and

(iv) A schedule to integrate watershed-based mitigation policies, technical tools, and procedures for projects by June 30, 2005.

(9)(a) The committee shall seek federal delegation to the state where appropriate to streamline permit processes for transportation projects of statewide significance including: Delegation of section 404 permit authority under the Clean Water Act; nonfederal lead agency status under the federal Endangered Species Act; section 106 cultural resource designation under the National Historic Preservation Act; and other appropriate authority that when delegated should result in permit streamlining.

(b) The department, the department of ecology, and the department of fish and wildlife shall jointly review relevant federal, state, and local environmental laws, regulations, policies, guidance, studies, and streamlining initiatives, and shall report to the committee and the legislature by September 30, 2003, on those instances where such might allow for delegation to the department or some other duly recognized entity as appropriate. The report must include recommendations on:

(i) How to delegate consistent with federal permit streamlining efforts contained in new federal transportation authorizations and under Presidential Executive Order number 13274, Environmental Stewardship and Transportation Infrastructure Project Reviews, September 18, 2002;

(ii) How to maximize possible use of programmatic approaches to simplify issuance of federally required permits and project approvals;

(iii) The scope, roles, and responsibilities associated with any such delegation, especially as relates to regulatory standard setting, permitting, and oversight; and

(iv) A work plan and schedule of activities and resources needed to implement the recommendations of the department, the department of ecology, and the department of fish and wildlife on this matter.

The committee shall take action on the report, and shall report to the legislature by December 31, 2003, and every six months thereafter on the status of such delegation efforts.

(10) The committee shall develop a dispute resolution process to resolve conflicts in interpretation of environmental standards and best management practices, mitigation requirements, permit requirements, assigned responsibilities, and other related issues by September 1, 2001. The dispute resolution process may not abrogate or supplant any appeal right of any party under existing statutes. The dispute resolution process must be designed to include federal agencies if they choose to participate.

(11) The committee shall develop preliminary models and strategies for agencies to test how best to maximize the environmental investment of transportation funds on a watershed basis. After agencies test the models and strategies developed by the committee, the committee shall evaluate the models and strategies and make recommendations to the legislature.

(12) The committee shall develop a consistent methodology for the timely and predictable submittal and evaluation of completed plans and specifications detailing project elements that impact environmental resources as well as proposed mitigation measures during the preliminary specifications and engineering phase of project development and submit information on the consistent methodology to the legislature.

(13) The committee shall provide a summary report to the legislature on December 31, 2003, and every six months thereafter that details the committee's status and performance and its progress in implementing its master work plan.


[2003 c 8 2; 2001 1st sp.s. c 2 4.]

Notes: Effective date -- 2003 c 8: See note following RCW 47.06C.010.







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47.06C.050
Pilot projects. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
(1) The committee shall select and conduct permit reform pilot projects in three locales: (a) Urban near built-out conditions; (b) urban centers serving as crucial rural connectors; and (c) rural corridors critical to statewide economic productivity. The pilot projects must test the assignment of responsibilities such as selected permit drafting and selected compliance activities to the department.

(2) The committee shall commence efforts to apply streamlining lessons learned from the streamlined permit process for the pilot projects to as many other transportation projects of statewide significance as quickly as possible. In reporting to the legislature, the committee may recommend statutory or regulatory changes that would result in streamlining for future projects.

(3) The department and permitting agencies shall apply an interim interdisciplinary permit review process for the pilot projects as set forth in this section. This process must provide coordinated review and approval of permit applications; provide coordinated and consolidated public hearings where required by one or more regulatory agencies under state law; and coordinate timelines for permit decision making.

(4) The committee shall give notice to the legislative authority of each affected county and city of the projects the committee has designated as pilot projects. Each county and city notified must be offered the opportunity to participate in the pilot projects as provided for in this chapter. The department shall provide funding assistance for participation.

(5) The committee shall develop a dispute resolution process to resolve conflicts in interpretation of environmental standards and best management practices, mitigation requirements, permit requirements, assigned responsibilities, the streamlined process for pilot projects set forth in this section, and other related issues by September 1, 2001. The dispute resolution process may not abrogate or supplant any appeal right of any party under existing statutes. The dispute resolution process must be designed to include federal agencies if they choose to participate. The dispute resolution process must be applied to the pilot projects.

(6) The streamlined process for the pilot projects must be based on the following model:

(a) Step 1: The department and permitting agencies will agree on coordination for environmental review under the state and national environmental policy acts, including document preparation, public comment opportunities, and timelines.

(b) Step 2: For each project, the department will convene a meeting of all entities with permitting authority to review:

(i) The proposed conceptual design for the project and alternative routes, construction approaches, or mitigation approaches;

(ii) All known reviewing entities, permit application and approval requirements, and timelines; and

(iii) A coordinated timeline that allows all statutory requirements to be met.

(c) Step 3: The department will draft all necessary permits to proceed with the preferred alternative using relevant agreements with permitting agencies.

(d) Step 4: The department will provide public notice in conformity with all applicable statutes and regulations and allow the required time for public hearings and written comments.

(e) Step 5: The department may revise the draft permits after consideration of public comments and applying all relevant agreed upon standards.

(f) Step 6: All permits will be disseminated to permitting agencies for final review. All reviews will be completed within forty-five days, at which time the permitting agencies will act upon the permit and either approve the permit or return it without approval.

(g) Step 7: If the permit is returned to the department without approval, the permitting agencies will have one opportunity to identify errors or omissions and any remaining specific deficiencies or circumstances not previously addressed by agreements between the department and agencies that must be met or addressed to be compliant with applicable law. The department may revise the permit as warranted and resubmit the permit to the permitting agency, which will have fifteen days from receipt of the revised permit to take final action.

(h) Step 8: Disputes related to permit decisions will be addressed by the dispute resolution process established by the committee.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 5.]






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47.06C.060
Local government participation. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
(1) This section establishes procedures for city, town, and county governments to participate in the processes identified in this chapter to provide for coordinated, multijurisdictional environmental review and permitting decisions for pilot projects and transportation projects of statewide significance.

(2) Each city, town, and county within whose boundaries is located or partially located one or more projects identified in subsection (1) of this section, shall elect whether or not to participate in coordinated processes for environmental review and permitting of those projects as required in this chapter. If the city, town, or county elects to participate, it may do so as either a participating entity or as an assigning entity.

(a) If a city, town, or county elects to be considered as a participating entity, the committee must then include a representative designated by the city, town, or county in the coordinated review of the project. The department shall compensate the jurisdiction for technical support required for participation in the process. The jurisdiction will also be eligible for reimbursement for permit fees set by local ordinances and other agreed upon costs associated with the issuance of project permits.

(b) For the purposes of expediting the permit process, a city, town, or county may elect to assign its permit responsibilities under chapter 39.34 RCW to the department simultaneously with its notification to the department as specified in this section. The city, town, or county electing to assign its responsibilities shall enter into an agreement with the department to define the local permit requirements that must be met. Permits issued under the negotiated agreement are presumed to at least meet local environmental permit requirements. A city, town, or county choosing to use this option is eligible for a permit fee set by local ordinances associated with the issuance of the project permits.

(3) If the city, town, or county elects not to participate in the coordinated processes for the pilot projects designated in this chapter or transportation projects of statewide significance the department will issue the locally required permits, when allowable. The department shall comply with all provisions of city, town, and county ordinances, and the department permit approval is presumed to at least meet the local environmental review and permit requirements.

(4) Any city, town, or county shall notify the department within sixty days of receipt of the committee's notification of project designation, as to whether it elects to be considered as a participating entity or an assigning entity, or elects not to participate in the coordinated process provided in this chapter.

(5) The committee shall review and evaluate the process by which local governments review and approve pilot projects and transportation projects of statewide significance, and shall provide recommendations to the legislature to improve the coordination of the local process with state and federal reviews as part of the reports required by this chapter.

(6) A city, town, or county is not liable for decisions made by the department that result in a failure to comply with city, town, or county ordinances except as provided in the interlocal agreements, and the department shall defend and answer to any actions or complaints challenging the validity of permits issued under this section.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 6.]






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47.06C.070
Interim permit process. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
Until integrated standards and best management practices have been adopted by the committee, the department may use the following process for transportation projects of statewide significance, including projects requested by a project sponsor.

(1) Step 1: Conceptual description. The department will identify project purposes, the approximate location or alternative locations, and the federal, state, and local agencies that might have authority to review and approve the project or portions of it at any such locations, and a preliminary interagency communication list identifying agencies that may be interested in the proposed project and, where known, contact persons in such agencies. If the department is going to proceed with step 2 or to abandon the project, it may complete step 1 by: (a) Providing a summary of the outcome to all agencies on the list; and (b) making the summary available to the public.

(2) Step 2: Early involvement of other agencies. (a) At any time after completing step 1, the department will provide notice to all agencies on the interagency communication list and the public. Within thirty days, or a longer time if specified by the department, each state, local, and federal agency will be encouraged to identify:

(i) A primary contact person to coordinate future communications with the department and other interested agencies regarding the project, or indicate that it has no interest in the project and need not remain on the project information list;

(ii) Its role with respect to the proposed project;

(iii) Additional alternative locations the department should consider and the roles it would expect to have with the project at those locations;

(iv) Other agencies it believes should be added to the list for the project; and

(v) Other information the agency requests the department to consider.

(b) After all state and local agencies on the list have responded, or at least ten days after expiration of the specified response time, the department may complete step 2 by: (i) Proposing one or more conceptual designs for the project at a proposed location and any alternative locations then being considered; (ii) providing a summary of the results of step 2, including a statement that the department considers step 2 to be complete or complete except for specified issues remaining to be resolved with specified agencies, to all agencies on the interagency communication list; and (iii) making the summary available to the public.

(3) Step 3: Identify environmental reviews, permits, and other approvals, application procedures, and decision standards. (a) At any time after completing step 2, the department may initiate step 3 by notice to all agencies on the list and the public. This notice may include a threshold determination on whether an environmental impact statement (EIS) or supplemental EIS will be prepared or an environmental checklist and request for comments on what steps should be taken to comply with chapter 43.21C RCW, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Within thirty days, or a longer time if specified by the department, each state, local, and federal agency will be encouraged to identify:

(i) The procedures under which it expects environmental reviews of the project to occur;

(ii) All permits and other approvals it might require for the project at each alternative location and conceptual design;

(iii) What is needed for the department to file a complete application for each permit or other approval;

(iv) The laws, regulations, ordinances, and policies it would administer with respect to the project at each alternative location and conceptual design; and

(v) Other information the agency requests the department to consider in deciding whether, when, where, or how to proceed with the project.

(b) After all state and local agencies on the list have responded, or at least ten days after expiration of the specified response time, the department may complete step 3 by:

(i) Adopting a list of all environmental reviews, permits, and other approvals it believes are needed for the project under each alternative being considered;

(ii) Providing all agencies on the list a copy of that list and a summary of the other results of step 3, including a statement that the department considers step 3 to be complete or complete except for specified issues remaining to be resolved with specified agencies; and

(iii) Making the list and summary available to the public.

(c) The list and summary will be presumed to accurately identify all environmental reviews, permits, and other approvals needed for each alternative described, what is required for applications to be considered complete, and the standards under which applications will be reviewed and approved, unless an aggrieved agency or person files objections within thirty days after the list and summary are distributed.

(4) Step 4: Tentative selection of preferred alternative. (a) At any time after completing step 3, the department may initiate step 4 by notice to all agencies on the list and the public. This notice may be accompanied by a scoping notice for an EIS or supplemental EIS or, if available, be accompanied by a draft EIS or supplemental EIS. It also may be accompanied by the department's preliminary analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each identified alternative, or other information that may be helpful to other interested agencies and the public in identifying advantages and disadvantages. Within fourteen days, or a longer time if specified by the department, each state, local, and federal agency will be encouraged to identify:

(i) For each identified alternative, the specific features it considers significant with respect to its role in environmental reviews, permits, or other approvals for the project; the reasons these features are significant, and any concerns it may have about the alternative because of potential adverse impacts of these features on resources or social policies within its jurisdiction;

(ii) For each feature for which it raises concerns, recommendations on how the potential adverse impacts could be avoided, minimized, and mitigated;

(iii) For each feature for which it raises concerns, an assessment of the relative ranking of each alternative with respect to whether and to what extent these concerns apply;

(iv) Recommendations the agency may have as to which alternatives should be retained or dropped from further consideration, and ways in which alternatives might be modified or combined to address its concerns, recognizing that final decisions can be made only through the applicable environmental review, permit, and other approval processes and the agency making them is not bound with respect to any future decisions it may make regarding the project;

(v) Other information the agency requests the department to consider in deciding whether, when, where, or how to proceed with the project.

(b) After all state and local agencies on the list have responded, or at least ten days after expiration of the specified response time, the department may complete step 4 by:

(i) Selecting a preferred alternative for purposes of all environmental reviews, permits, and other approvals needed for the project;

(ii) Providing all agencies on the list a description of the preferred alternative and summary of the other results of step 4, including a statement that the department considers step 4 to be complete or complete except for specified issues remaining to be resolved with specified agencies; and

(iii) Making the preferred alternative and summary available to the public. The preferred alternative will be identified in all environmental reviews, permits, and other approvals needed for the project.

(5) Step 5: Completing environmental reviews and applications for permits and other approvals. (a) At any time after completing step 4, the department may initiate step 5 by notice to all agencies on the list and the public. A draft EIS or supplemental EIS, the department's draft plans and specifications for the project, and draft applications for some or all permits and other approvals may be provided with the notice or when they subsequently become available. Within thirty days, or a longer time if specified by the department, each state, local, and federal agency will be encouraged to identify:

(i) All concerns it previously raised regarding the alternative, and other alternatives still under consideration, that have not been resolved to its satisfaction;

(ii) Additional concerns it may have, particularly concerns resulting from additional information about the project location and design, and other new information received since the completion of step 4;

(iii) Additional environmental reviews, permits, or other approvals needed for the preferred alternative because of changes in laws, regulations, or policies or changes in the project location or design since these issues were last reviewed in step 3 or 4;

(iv) Changes in applicable requirements for complete applications for permits or other approvals under its jurisdiction since these issues were last reviewed in step 3 or 4;

(v) Other changes in applicable laws, regulations, ordinances, or policies administered by the agency since these issues were last reviewed in step 3 or 4;

(vi) Whether a draft application proposed by the department for a permit or other approval from the agency is complete, and if not, what additional information or other changes are needed for it to be complete.

(b) When all state and local agencies on the list have responded, or at least ten days after expiration of the specified response time, the department may complete step 5 by:

(i) Completing some or all environmental review processes and draft application forms for permits and other approvals that it reasonably believes to be complete;

(ii) Providing all agencies on the interagency communication list with environmental review and application documents and a summary of the other results of step 5, including a statement that the department considers step 5 to be complete or complete except for specified issues remaining to be resolved with specified agencies; and

(iii) Making the completed environmental review documents and summary available to the public. The preferred alternative will be identified in all environmental reviews, permits, and other approvals needed for the project.

(c) However, if an interested agency or aggrieved person files objections within fourteen days after the preferred alternative and summary are distributed, the objections will be addressed in subsequent environmental reviews and agency decisions regarding the project.

(6) Step 6: Completing the environmental review, permit, and other approval processes. (a) At any time after completing step 5, the department may initiate step 6 by notice to all agencies on the list and the public and filing applications for some or all permits and other approvals needed for the project. Within thirty days, or a longer time if specified by the department, each state, local, and federal agency will be encouraged to:

(i) Acknowledge receipt of draft environmental review documents provided to them and provide comments on them;

(ii) Acknowledge receipt of final environmental review documents and determine that they are adequate for purposes of their roles regarding the project or specify what additional information or changes are needed for them to be considered adequate;

(iii) Acknowledge receipt of each application filed with them and determine that the application is complete or specify what additional information or changes are needed for it to be considered complete;

(iv) Acknowledge that the applications submitted to them will be processed under the laws, regulations, ordinances, and policies previously identified under steps 3, 4, and 5 or specify what changes have occurred in the governing standards that were in effect on the date a complete application was filed and thus apply to the project;

(v) Identify the significant steps necessary for the agency to reach a final decision on applications and the estimated time needed for each step;

(vi) Identify ways its decision-making process might be made more efficient and effective through additional coordination with other agencies, with any recommendations for such methods as joint solicitation and review of public comments and jointly conducting public hearings.

(b) It is recognized that step 6 may require an iterative process with several drafts of various environmental review documents and applications being considered and revised, and that changes in project location or design resulting from the permit decisions of one agency may require revising applications or even reopening permit decisions of other agencies. All state and local agencies are expected, and federal agencies are encouraged, to communicate and cooperate to minimize the number of iterations required and make the process as efficient and effective as possible. Unless significant new information is obtained, decisions made under step 6 should not be reopened except at the request of the department, and the most recent information available under steps 3, 4, and 5 should be presumed accurate until significant new information becomes available.

(c) If all environmental reviews have not been completed and all permits and other approvals obtained within forty-five days after step 6 is initiated, the department, by notice to all agencies on the list and the public, may set a deadline for completing reviews and decisions. At any time after the deadline, the department may terminate the coordination process of this section as to some or all of the reviews and decisions that are still not completed.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 7.]






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47.06C.080
Department organization and administrative actions. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
The legislature finds that an essential component of streamlined permit decision making is the ability of the department to demonstrate the capacity to meet environmental responsibilities. Therefore, the legislature directs that:

(1) The department may amend its operating practices applicable to obtaining project permits when:

(a) Agreements on standards or best management practices as appropriate, are reached under RCW 47.06C.040;

(b) The committee determines that streamlining procedures and methodologies implemented for pilot projects consistent with RCW 47.06C.050 warrant broader application;

(c) The committee determines that the assignment of responsibilities between regulating agencies and the department is appropriate for broader use.

(2) The department may develop permits for review by permitting agencies when agreement on the standards and best management practices covered by such permits have been reached under RCW 47.06C.040. Regulating agencies shall review permits based upon the agreed upon standards and timelines developed in RCW 47.06C.040, as well as any other applicable existing standards.

(3) Qualified environmental staff within the department shall lead the development of all environmental documentation associated with department projects and permit activities in accordance with the department's project delivery tools.

(4) The department shall conduct special prebid meetings for projects that are environmentally complex. In addition, the department shall review environmental considerations related to these projects during the preconstruction meeting held with the contractor who is awarded the bid.

(5) Environmental staff at the department shall conduct field inspections to ensure that project activities are performed under permit conditions. These inspectors:

(a) May issue stop work orders when compliance with permit standards are not being met; and

(b) For this portion of their job duties, are accountable to the director of environmental affairs of the department.

(6) Failure to comply with a stop work order may result in civil penalties being assessed against the department and individuals involved. Willful violation of a stop work notice issued by the department is subject to civil penalties assessed on the agency as well as the individuals involved. Persistent violations by the department may result in loss of permit drafting and program management responsibilities.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 8.]






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47.06C.090
Training and compliance. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
The legislature expects the department to continue its efforts to improve training and compliance. The department shall:

(1) Provide training in environmental procedures and permit requirements for those responsible for project delivery activities;

(2) Require wetland mitigation sites to be designed by a qualified interdisciplinary team that meets training requirements developed by the department's environmental affairs office in consultation with the department of ecology. Environmental mitigation site improvements must have oversight by environmental staff;

(3) Develop an environmental compliance data system to track all permit conditions;

(4) Report all noncompliance activities to applicable agencies of jurisdiction along with a remedy plan;

(5) Fund the departments of ecology, natural resources, and fish and wildlife, operating under their permit-granting authority to conduct audits of the department's permit drafting and compliance activities. The department of ecology must collate the audits in an annual report to the legislature;

(6) Seek federal funding for dedicated technical staff at federal permit decision-making agencies and for state costs associated with implementation of this chapter;

(7) Fund dedicated technical staff at federal permit decision-making entities, as appropriate, and the state departments of ecology, natural resources, community, trade, and economic development, and fish and wildlife to implement the requirements of this chapter;

(8) Fund a technical specialist at the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and the Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission for the purpose of implementing this chapter;

(9) Reimburse local jurisdictions for costs associated with local participation on the committee and technical subcommittees.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 9.]






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47.06C.100
Cost reimbursement. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
The committee shall negotiate a method of cost reimbursement for the costs associated with carrying out the purposes of this chapter, including prior departmental agreements with permitting agencies to cover their costs for transportation projects of statewide significance.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 10.]






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47.06C.900
Captions not law 2001 1st sp.s. c 2. (Expires March 31, 2006.)
Captions used in this chapter are not any part of the law.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 11.]






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47.06C.901
Expiration date 2001 1st sp.s. c 2.
This act expires March 31, 2006.


[2003 c 8 3; 2001 1st sp.s. c 2 13.]

Notes: Effective date -- 2003 c 8: See note following RCW 47.06C.010.






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47.06C.902
Effective date 2001 1st sp.s. c 2.
This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [May 29, 2001].


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 14.]




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47.06C.903
Severability 2001 1st sp.s. c 2.
If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.


[2001 1st sp.s. c 2 15.]