Totten Inlet geoduck operation, approximately 2007. Oyster bags cover the tidelands on the upland side.
The following email was received today from the Department of Ecology:
On Dec. 8, 2010 Ecology placed the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) rule-making on the agency’s “to be determined” list. Doing so signified that the Director needed more information before deciding whether or not to proceed with the rule-making during 2011. Due to deadlines set by the Administrative Procedure Act (RCW 34.05) Ecology knew it would need to make a decision by early February.
Today, the Director announced that Ecology will proceed with the Shoreline Management Act rule-making, citing OFM exemption criteria 3 (e):
(3) Rule making proceedings are non-critical unless the rule is:(e) -Beneficial to or requested or supported by the regulated entities, local governments or small businesses that it affects.
To make this decision, the agency reviewed Governor’s Executive Order 10-06, the criteria for exemptions, the input we’ve received from those interested in this rule-making, and determined that it is critical to complete rule-making now.
Completing the rule update related to intertidal commercial geoduck aquaculture will provide needed regulatory consistency. The updated rule provides guidance on addressing this activity as part of Shoreline Master Program (SMP) updates. The rule also provides a permitting framework for implementing updated policies.
Several Puget Sound counties will adopt shoreline policies and regulations in the near future that address conflicts associated with commercial geoduck aquaculture. If rule completion were delayed, the next opportunity to integrate commercial geoduck aquaculture policies and regulations may be a decade into the future.
Another important item in the updated rule clarifies the criteria for approval of less than comprehensive SMP updates. The current rule language is significantly outdated and does not meet the needs of local government. Local governments support replacing this outdated rule section. Other elements of the rule update ensure consistency between the rule and statute.
Ecology has updated our website to reflect the SMA rule-making status change. You can find this change noted in the Feb. 2, 2011 update on our rule-making suspension website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/rulemaking_suspension.html.
More information on the Shoreline Management Act rule-making: