Washington State Department of Ecology Adjusts Business Practices Due to COVID-19
With the outbreak of COVID-19, Washington Department of Ecology, along with many other government regulatory agencies, has adjusted its normal business practices. Maintaining a safe work environment can be challenging and requires a high level of cooperation between the Department of Ecology and the entities it serves in order for projects to move forward. The department has adjusted its work practices to support social distancing directives due to COVID-19 and has created a webpage outlining these new practices, which is being updated periodically.
A couple of important items to highlight:
- The Department of Ecology regional and field office staff are only available by phone or email. They are unavailable for walk-in service. The Lacey, WA headquarters office is open for limited services.
- Most or all staff are teleworking. It is unclear right now how this affects site inspections and potential enforcement actions.
- Public meetings and events are being conducted online and/or telephonically.
- Public comments on environmental permitting and regulatory decisions are still occurring. Public comments are being accepted online, via email, and by mail.
- The Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office staff and Board members are encouraged to telecommute; however, the Boards are continuing to operate, largely electronically. ELUHO has warned of potential delays in issuing orders and postponing conferences and in-person hearings.
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