Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Community Planning (MCP)


Community Planning and Area Development

First Advisor

Richard O. Brooks


Problems of population settlement, urbanization, industrial development, technology advancement, and the depletion and dissipation of the natural resources of Washington state have initiated a variety of responses from the legislature in the form of three major environmental statutes. These ares the State Environmental Policy Act, the Shoreline Management Act, and the Environmental Coordination Procedures Act. Together, these acts constitute a unique legislative response among the states in their attempt to channel development through environmental law.

It is the thesis of this case study that the legal ambit of environmental management is the continuing interaction involving the legislative intent, administrative implementation, and judicial interpretation of environmental law.

The purpose of this case study is to describe this legal ambit by examining the acts themselves, their administrative guidelines, and a corpus of case arising from their implementation1 and to suggest a coordinated administrative scheme whereby the intent of these three unique statutes can be more fully realized.

The environmental impact statement was selected as the coordinating vehicle. The master application procedures under the Environmental Coordination Procedures Act was selected as the coordinating framework to process required impact statements and permits.

The conclusion of the study is that environmental management is lacking a theoretical base for its decisions. The evolution of administrative functions has progressed from regulation, to allocation, and finally, to planning.

Who should receive the benefits of development and order? Who should pay the costs of development and order? A theory of planning law needs to be related to the distribution of environmental amenities.