To enable citizens opposing projects and proponents defending projects to predict more accurately the results of litigation and to discourage spurious litigation, a more definitive standard of judicial review is necessary. This Article proposes a standard of judicial review that encompasses components of both the adequacy and negative threshold standards of judicial review. The proposed standard of review discourages lawsuits that are brought merely for purposes of delay while ensuring that the agency acted reasonably in making its determination. Before this new standard can be considered, the context in which it will operate must be reviewed. Part II of this Article discusses the statutory scheme of SEPA. Part III discusses the statutory mandate that requires courts to accord agency decisions substantial weight and discusses three different standards of judicial review that have developed from case law. Next, Part IV proposes the new standard of review. Finally, Part V compares this proposed standard with the holding of the recent Washington Court of Appeals case of West 514, Inc. v. County of Spokane to substantiate the validity of the proposed standard.
Lori Ann Terry, SEPA: A Proposed Standard for Judicial Review of Agency Decisions Not to Require Preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, 15 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 957 (1992).