SEPA Environmental Review

SEPA overview

The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process analyzes potential environmental impacts of development proposals and policies, like construction projects and comprehensive plans.

The SEPA review can be used to deny or modify a proposal to avoid, reduce, or compensate for impacts. More information about the SEPA process can be found on the Washington State Department of Ecology website

Current SEPA reviews

There are no current SEPA reviews.

Recent SEPA reviews

The public comment periods for the following projects are complete. 

Pritchard Rehabilitation and Expansion Project

The public comment period for this project closed on June 12. DES posted responses and a Notice of Action Taken on Sept. 19.

The Pritchard Rehabilitation and Expansion Project, part of Legislative Campus Modernization, will rehabilitate and expand the existing Joel M. Pritchard Building used primarily by the House of Representatives to address serious life-safety issues, update outdated building systems, and address business needs.


Capitol Campus Wedge Barrier

The Capitol Campus Wedge Barrier project is designed to construct security vehicle barriers at two locations at the West Capitol Campus, including warning signals, detour signage, and security cameras. 


Capitol Lake/Deschutes Estuary Long-Term Management Environmental Impact Statement 

The Capitol Lake/Deschutes Estuary Long-Term Management environmental review, called an environmental impact statement, studied three options for the long-term management of Capitol Lake to identify and implement a sustainable plan to improve water quality, manage existing and future sediment in the waterbody, improve ecological functions and improve community use.

In October 2022, DES named the Estuary Restoration as the preferred alternative to best achieve project goals, have broadest stakeholder support, and supply other benefits to the natural and built environment. Implementation is dependent on Legislative funding.

See all SEPA documents in the Capitol Lake—Deschutes Estuary document library.  

Legislative Campus Modernization 

Major construction campaign to address serious life-safety issues and outdated building systems on part of the historic West Capitol Campus through 2028. The project will replace the existing Irv Newhouse building, expand and rehabilitate the Joel M. Pritchard Building, and renovate a portion of the John L. O’Brien Building. 

Four SEPA reviews are needed for LCM – Global/Non-Project, Modular Building, Newhouse Replacement Project, and the Pritchard Rehabilitation Project.

View the complete LCM SEPA checklist supporting documentation.

Global/Non-Project Review

Evaluated overall impacts of the LCM project. 


Modular Building

Focused on the impacts of constructing a temporary modular building on the Capitol Campus to serve as swing space for displaced building occupants during project construction. 


Newhouse Replacement Project

Focused on the impacts of replacing the existing Irv Newhouse Building, which included the removal of the obsolete Capitol Press Corps Houses. 


SEPA public review process

SEPA Checklist 

After identifying that a project needs to go through the SEPA process, the project team will send a SEPA checklist and supporting documents to the Department of Ecology. 

Environmental review and threshold determination 

The designated DES SEPA official has 90 days to complete an environmental review and issue a threshold determination deciding whether a project can move on, or if significant environmental impacts remain.  

Public comment period 

The public generally has a minimum of 14 days to comment on the threshold determination.  

Final threshold determination 

DES will review all public comments and then file a final threshold determination. If the project has no significant impacts, either with or without tactics to reduce or offset those impacts, it can move forward, and the environmental review is complete. 

If there are still significant impacts, the project team may need to perform a more detailed environmental review. Or, the project could be denied. 


Interested parties can appeal the final SEPA threshold determination, within a set timeframe that is listed in the determination. 

More information