The Attorney General's Counsel for the Environment (CFE) represents the public and its interest in protecting the environment on the proposed development of large, non-hydro energy facilities in Washington state. The projects at issue are under review by the state's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC).
Under state law, the Attorney General appoints an Assistant Attorney General as Counsel for the Environment (CFE) when EFSEC has received a site application for review. CFE is independent of:
- Other state agencies; and
- Parties involved in the site-application proposal.
The Counsel for the Environment plays an important role in the overall project review. His or her responsibilities include soliciting public input, providing general information concerning the EFSEC process, helping citizens inform the EFSEC of their concerns, and participating in the review process.
CFE actively assesses the environmental impacts a project may have on the local community and the state's natural resources. When a project likely will result in significant environmental impacts, CFE advocates for measures that will avoid and/or mitigate those impacts. Environmental impacts often associated with the siting of a major energy facility include:
The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) has stated that public release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) will occur in July of 2015. The public is notified by EFSEC when the draft EIS is released. The public will have, at a minimum, 30 days to review and comment on the draft EIS. EFSEC’s certification process also requires EFSEC to hold adjudicative hearings on the proposed project. Scheduled hearing dates and filed pleadings can be found at: http://www.efsec.wa.gov/Tesoro-Savage.html.