When a new development or project is proposed at the Port of Tacoma, the SEPA process is a critical step to understand how the proposal may impact the environment, including air and water quality, transportation infrastructure, utilities and more.
Information provided during the environmental review may be used to evaluate alternatives and ways to reduce or eliminate any likely adverse environmental impacts. The developer must address any potential impacts as they design and permit the project.
The SEPA process includes opportunities for the public to provide input and ask questions about a proposal.
Environmental review process
If the proposed project will be developed on Port-owned property, a lease must be signed with the port before the environmental review can begin.
The lead agency will determine if an in-depth environmental review is required based on the SEPA checklist and issue a SEPA notice. An environmental impact statement (EIS) will be prepared if the proposal will likely have significant adverse impacts on the environment. The process to develop an EIS follows these general steps:
- Scoping phase: The scoping phase determines what environmental impacts should be analyzed and studied. It is the first opportunity for the public to provide comments and ask questions.
- Develop draft EIS: The impacts identified during scoping are studied and analyzed. Ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate project impacts are explored.
- Public review of draft EIS: The public can review the draft document and provide comments. As appropriate, comments from the public, tribes and other public agencies will be incorporated into the document.
- Final EIS released: The final document helps decide if the proposed project will be approved or denied.
Find more detailed information about the SEPA process on the Washington State Department of Ecology's website.