acting ORMA, 19 the legislature could
consider amending ORMA to specify
the statute applies only to in-water
projects (e.g., drilling for oil and minerals in the Pacific Ocean off the coast
of Washington), repeal it altogether,
or clarify how it should be reconciled
with substantially similar standards
in the Shoreline Management Act,
Clean Water Act, State Environmental Policy Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Coastal Zone
If it is applied in a manner that substantially interferes with interstate
commerce or with industries that are
comprehensively regulated under federal law, such as interstate rail, maritime, and pipelines, ORMA could also
be subject to preemption by federal
interests and policies.
In sum, the court’s Quinault
decision and the court’s interpretation
of ORMA raise more questions than
provide answers. At a minimum, the
case signals potential new permitting
requirements for energy and other
projects along Washington’s coast
that impact coastal habitats. It will be
up to Ecology, the courts, and future
project developers and permittees to
more clearly define ORMA’s boundaries and requirements. NWL
1. Quinault Indian Nation v. Imperium
Terminal Servs., LLC, 187 Wn.2d 460,
387 P.3d 670 (2017).
2. RCW 43.143.030( 2); WAC 173-26-
3. Quinault, 187 Wn.2d at 469.
4. Id. at 470.
5. 51 Wash. Leg., Final Leg. Report, HB 224,
1st and 2nd Special Sessions, at 166–67
6. Jim Simon, “Curbs on Oil-Drilling Die
Quietly in Legislature,” Seattle Times,
April 5, 1989, at A7.
7. Jim Simon, “Offshore-Oil Bill Takes on
New Life Senate Committee Reverses
Action,” Seattle Times, April 14, 1989
8. RCW 43.143.010( 2) (emphasis added).
9. RCW 43.143.010( 1).
10. Ecology’s regulations applying the
statute are at WAC 173-26-360.
11. RCW 43.143.010( 2).
12. WAC 173-26-360( 3).
13. Quinault, 187 Wn.2d at 475-76.
14. Id. at 473.
15. RCW 43.143.020( 2).
16. RCW 43.143.020( 1).
17. RCW 43.143.030.
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18. In Washington, this “coastal zone” is
defined to include the following 15
Washington counties: Clallam, Grays
Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap,
Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit,
Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum and
19. 51 Wash. Leg., Final Leg. Report, HB
224, 1st and 2nd Special Sessions, at