PROCESS AND SCHEDULE OF PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
AND REGULATORY APPROVAL FOR DUSEL-CASCADES
Purpose of this Section
This Appendix describes how the proposal for a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory under
Cashmere Mountain (“DUSEL-Cascades Project” or “Project”) has been and will continue to be developed by the
national community of scientists, in partnership with the communities and stakeholders of Washington State.
Development of the proposal includes extensive public outreach, the processes for environmental review and
consultation, and the processes of federal, state and local approvals and permitting. This Appendix describes how
these stages of DUSEL-Cascades Project development will proceed, in parallel to and in support of the National
Science Foundation (NSF) decision-making process. It summarizes certain information already contained the main
sections of this pre-proposal, in order to produce an independent document that can be extracted and used by those
interested in regulatory and public outreach issues.
As described below, there are three components to the proposed DUSEL-Cascades Project. The decision to address
components separately or together during the environmental review will depend on geographic proximity,
commonality of issues and permitting agencies, and the preferences of the public and permitting agencies.
Proposed DUSEL-Cascades Project Components
The proposed DUSEL-Cascades Project would create a deep-underground site for basic science research in physics,
astrophysics, earth sciences, geomicrobiology, and related fields. As described below (and elsewhere in this pre-
proposal), the three Project components are an underground laboratory, a surface campus, and a visitor center.
1. The Underground Laboratory
The underground laboratory would consist of:
• One or two closely spaced tunnel portals approximately 20 feet across and 20 feet high at the base of Cashmere
Mountain on United States Forest Service lands within the Leavenworth Ranger District of the Wenatchee
National Forest. The portals would be designed to minimize visual impacts. Current plans locate the portal
parking area underground, inside the portal cavity. The portals would be accessed from Icicle Creek Road near
Bridge Creek Campground utilizing existing Forest Service roads and bridge.
• Two 3-mile parallel tunnels slanting downward at an 8 percent grade, terminating at a depth of approximately
7,400 feet. The entire length of these tunnels, including the portals, would be on or under federal lands
managed by the United States Forest Service. The tunnels would contain a roadway, ventilation ducts, power
and communications cabling, chilled water, and other utilities. Any transport of personnel or equipment into
the laboratory would be on electric (driven or guided) vehicles.
• A series of laboratory caverns, connecting hallways, and an encircling ring tunnel, located at the tunnel ends.
This development would be deep under the peak of Cashmere Mountain, beneath federally owned land.
Activities in the caverns include detector or observatory construction, periodic maintenance, and operations.
Many of the operating detectors will require little or no human intervention during operations: the experiments
are isolated in a “cleanroom” area, with the data transmitted to remote locations (the surface campus and
possibly other surface location) by fiber optic lines.
2. The Surface Research Campus:
Research activity supporting the underground laboratory would be conducted in a building sited in or near the City
of Leavenworth1. The building would be an estimated 113,000 gross square feet, including the underground
basement area. The site would resemble a portion of a university campus. There would be two or three wet
The population of the City of Leavenworth is 2115. Its economy relies on tourism, recreation and agriculture.
laboratories, a large high bay area for staging and equipment assembly, shops, office space, meeting rooms, parking,
and support services for 200 people. This building could be either separate from or combined with the Visitor
3. The Visitor Experience Center:
An education-and-outreach center based on the type of science being conducted at the underground laboratory
would be sited in or near Leavenworth. The building would be an estimated 48,000 square feet. The staff of
approximately 22 people would host K-12 students and teachers interested in science, as well as conducting public
outreach programs. Up to 250,000 visitors per year would be expected to pass through the center. The center would
include a cafeteria, rest rooms, and parking for the staff and visitors. This building could be either separate from or
combined with the Surface Campus.
Search for a Suitable Site
A proposal submitted by the University of Washington and other institutions to the National Science Foundation in
2001 proposed the Homestake Mine in South Dakota as the DUSEL site. A preliminary geotechnical evaluation of
this and other DUSEL proposals was completed by the NSF in May 2003. The evaluation panel designated
Homestake as the preferred site, and called on the mine’s owner to continue its maintenance. In the summer of 2003,
following the flooding of the Homestake Mine, the University of Washington began a search for additional U.S.
sites. This search is summarized in Appendix C of this pre-proposal.
Siting at Cashmere Mountain
The physical setting of the Cashmere Mountain site is outstanding. Excellent overburden – equivalent to the
proposed 7400-ft level of DUSEL-Homestake – is achieved with short tunnels (3 miles) entering the rock at a
modest negative gradient of 8%. The portal area is directly accessible via Icicle Creek Road, a bridge rated at 40
tons, and an existing Forest Service road. Thus no new roads are required.
The site is deep within the massive Mt. Stuart granite batholith. Granite is generally considered the optimal rock
type for such construction due to its competence, favorable hydrology, and general uniformity. Subsequent
geotechnical investigations, including extensive literature studies, field investigations, and examination of existing
batholith tunnels, have supported the site’s suitability. There are plans for additional geotechnical studies to further
define site characteristics and project costs.
Within the Icicle Valley, Cashmere Mountain was the only site that offered the desired depth with tunnels that could
be explored in their entirety by coring from outside wilderness areas. The portal will be placed on Forest Service
lands appropriately designated for the intended use, outside of riparian and shoreline areas.
As described in this Appendix, further environmental analysis would be conducted under NEPA and SEPA before
any final decisions are made regarding site selection and DUSEL-Cascades Project construction.
II. PROJECT APPLICANT
The University of Washington, acting on behalf of the DUSEL-Cascades Collaboration2, will submit the Conceptual
Proposal to the National Science Foundation. At this time, it is anticipated that the University of Washington will be
the lead agency for environmental review, the applicant for all necessary permits, and the purchaser and/or lessee in
all necessary property transactions. It is anticipated that DUSEL-Cascades would be operated by a Cooperative
Agreement between the NSF and an appropriate national-facilities management entity, selected by the NSF in
consultation with the national scientific community. The University of Washington will support the management
entity, while fulfilling its obligations to the State of Washington and other stakeholders in areas such as land use,
environmental protection, and public health.
DUSEL-Cascades is an open collaboration. For current membership see http://int.phys.washington.edu/NUSEL/icicle.html.
Several University of Washington departments and units would be involved in the DUSEL-Cascades Project
including the Department of Physics, the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, the Department of Atmospheric
Science, and the College of Engineering. The two primary contacts are:
Craig J. Hogan Wick C. Haxton
Vice Provost for Research Professor
Office of the Provost Institute for Nuclear Theory
University of Washington University of Washington
UW Mailbox: 351202 UW Mailbox: 351550
Seattle WA 98195-1202 Seattle WA 98195-1550
III. DEVELOPMENT OF A DUSEL-CASCADES PROPOSAL
Planning In Partnership
The development of the DUSEL-Cascades Project proposal differs from a typical development process in that the
support and involvement of regional and local communities are being treated as integral components of the Project.
The goal is to develop a Project that achieves the objectives of underground science and engineering research and
education while maximizing community involvement, furthering associated community objectives, and minimizing
any potential negative impacts. This means that through its planning process, the University of Washington will
strive to identify how the federal, state, regional, tribal, and local stakeholders and citizens can have the greatest
input into the design, construction, and operations of the DUSEL-Cascades Project. This partnership will advance
the common aspirations of a world-class research facility in Chelan County Washington and enhanced public
education and science literacy, while meeting growth management goals (housing, transportation, jobs, etc.) and
protecting and enhancing the surrounding wilderness and recreational areas.
In the environmental review process described below, potential negative environmental impacts must be identified
for analysis and mitigation. However, the University of Washington strives for more in this Project. First, it strives
for early identification of problems and negative impacts, so that they can be avoided entirely in the initial stages of
project planning. For problems that are unavoidable, appropriate mitigation projects will be incorporated into the
project. Second, the University of Washington searches for opportunities to partner with state, regional, tribal, and
local stakeholders, on objectives that may be associated or compatible with those of the Project. Third, it strives to
make the DUSEL-Cascades Project a positive contributor in all aspects important to those communities, including
regional leadership in technology, engineering, design, and education.
Three Stages of DUSEL-Cascades Project Development
The development of the DUSEL-Cascades Project will occur in a manner compatible with the NSF solicitation
process, as outlined in the February 6, 2004, letter from the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
and discussed at the NSF Informational Meeting of March 29, 2004.
Stage One of the DUSEL-Cascades Project development consists of obtaining feedback through the public outreach
described below and through interactions with the scientific community. It will culminate with the submittal of the
Conceptual Proposal to the NSF. (Stage One coincides with the NSF’s first and second solicitations, which call for
the development of a preliminary plan of research activities and conceptual planning for site-related infrastructure,
The DUSEL-Cascades Project will proceed to Stage Two (coinciding with NSF’s Solicitation 3) if, based on its
review of the Conceptual Proposal, the NSF provides funding for technical design, a more detailed geological
characterization, environmental reviews and permitting, and development of management plans. Stage Two will
involve continuing and more detailed discussions with all stakeholders regarding the proposal and potential
mitigation measures. Compliance with NEPA and SEPA will occur during Stage Two, through which specific
alternative sites and designs for the project components will be identified and analyzed. Submittal of applications
for approvals and permits will commence during this Stage.
Stage Three will commence, following the technical studies and environmental reviews, if the NSF approves,
Congress decides to fund, and project participants decide to proceed with the DUSEL-Cascades Project. (Stage
Three coincides with the NSF’s MREFC—Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction—process for
considering, approving, and securing funding for projects.) Final, fully detailed plans and specifications will be
developed, all approvals and permits will be finalized, and sites will be acquired.
Beginning in early fall 2003, the DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents began developing and implementing an
outreach strategy3. Given the breadth of federal, state, and local permits that would be required and the proposed
location of the underground laboratory, within a popular recreational area adjacent to and partially beneath a
federally designated wilderness area, it was deemed important to engage local citizens and local and regional
environmental groups at the outset. This included direct meetings with the people who might be most impacted by
construction, those living along the road where construction vehicles and rock trucks would travel. Additionally,
Project proponents met with the Forest Service staff that would be involved in approving use permits for roads and
construction on federal lands.
Next, the DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents met with certain statewide environmental groups, many of whom
initially expressed surprise at the proposal, given the area and its uses. Generally these groups have withheld
judgment on the proposal until the Conceptual Proposal has been more fully developed.
Next, the DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents briefed local civic leaders, city and county officials, and
representatives of the Port of Chelan County, and the Chelan County Public Utility District. An open public briefing
in Leavenworth followed, attended by more than 300 local citizens. All of these briefings have provided an
opportunity for the DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents to explain the reasons for the proposed underground
laboratory and its associated facilities, and to describe the Project in more detail. In addition, the team received
feedback and suggestions for better aligning Project goals with those of the community. In all these briefings it
became apparent that there was a substantial level of local support, tempered by concerns about the impact on the
local community. One group of individuals has organized to oppose all or some aspects of the Project.
Beginning with the first of these meetings, DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents have been available to the public
and media, resulting in numerous news stories and interviews4. Kaleen Cottingham, a consultant with extensive
experience in regulatory and public relations aspects of large projects, has coordinated Project outreach activities. T.
C. Richmond, Senior Counsel with the State Attorney General’s office, has represented the University of
Washington in public meetings. Rodney Brown, of Brown, Reevis, and Manning, acting as Special Assistant
Attorney General, has provided legal advice to Project proponents on environmental issues.
As stakeholders are identified, the DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents make contacts to gather information about
potential Project impacts as well as opportunities for collaboration. This public outreach will continue throughout
the three stages of the DUSEL-Cascades Project development, with more formality during the NEPA/SEPA process.
This effort has giving the DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents an excellent initial estimate of the potential DUSEL-
Cascades Project impacts at a time when those impacts can be best avoided or mitigated during project planning.
This information will form the basis of environmental analysis during Stage Two.
The major potential Project impacts identified during the public outreach are listed below.
Potential impacts of construction: physical impact of coring on land surface; truck traffic noise, dust and
physical conflict on roadways; damage to the roadways; noise; conflicts with recreational community
(campers, hikers, bikers, and climbers); threatened and endangered species impacts; damage to recreational
areas, particularly rock climbing areas by necessary road improvements and fiber optics installation;
utilization of limited water resources within Wenatchee River watershed; discharge of storm and
groundwater to surface waters; air emissions; impact to housing by construction workers; intrusion of
tunnel under designated wilderness area; and construction site visual impacts.
See attached list of meetings
Many news articles are available on the Project’s web site, http://int.phys.washington.edu/DUSEL/icicle.html.
Potential impacts of operation: economic stimulation with resulting growth impacts; decrease in regional
affordable housing; noise; light; utilization of limited water resources within the Wenatchee watershed;
discharge of groundwater to surface waters; air emissions; aesthetics of portal; intrusion of tunnel under the
wilderness area; air emissions; management of hazardous substances, hazardous waste, and solid waste;
sewage disposal; and traffic and parking impacts (of Leavenworth area facilities).
The DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents briefed the Governor’s office and other state officials and agencies,
including legislators and congressional staff. State regulatory agencies responsible for approving certain permits for
the Project provided information on their regulatory programs and processes. Others expressed support in terms of
access to existing economic development programs that could lower Project costs for the NSF. Letters have been
sent to the Tribes identified as potentially interested in DUSEL-Cascades, resulting so far in one request for more
Numerous entities will be involved formally and informally in the evaluation process required for DUSEL-Cascades
Project permitting. The potential permitting decisions and the associated SEPA/NEPA processes are detailed more
fully below. Generally, permits or use agreements would be required from the Forest Service, State Department of
Ecology, Chelan County, and possibly (depending on locations of the two surface buildings) the City of
Leavenworth. In addition to these specific permitting agencies, other entities would have legal authority to provide
input, impose conditions, and/or participate in consultations on the Project. These include 1) the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS); 2) the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NOAA Fisheries”); 3) the state Fish and
Wildlife Department; and 4) the various tribal governments with historical claims to land or fish and wildlife in this
general area. In addition, public comments will be formally received and responded to as part of the environmental
review process. The Port of Chelan County, as the lead local economic development agency, can assist in
coordinating a wide variety of issues surrounding the development and startup of the facilities, and coordination of
DUSEL activities with local and regional agencies and governmental jurisdictions. The Chelan County Public
Utility District, the local provider of power and fiber optics in the area, is a potential service provider to DUSEL.
DUSEL utility plans would be subject to the PUD’s permitting and public review process.
In addition to the processes required by the permitting agencies, two other areas of consultation would be required
for the Project. The first is the consultation between the federal permitting and funding agencies (primarily the
Forest Service and the NSF) and the two federal fish and wildlife agencies under Section 7 of the Endangered
Species Act (ESA). The second is the consultation between the project proponents and the two Tribes with historic
claims in this general area.
Section 7 of the ESA directs all federal agencies to use their existing authorities to conserve threatened and
endangered species and, in consultation with the USWFS and NOAA Fisheries, to ensure that their actions do not
jeopardize listed species or destroy or adversely modify their designated critical habitat. Section 7 applies to the
management of federal lands as well as other federal actions that may affect listed species such as federal approval
of private activities through the issuance of federal permits, licenses, funding or other actions. Section 7 specifically
requires federal agencies to consult with the federal fish and wildlife agencies to ensure that action they fund,
authorize, permit, or otherwise carry out will not jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or adversely
modify designated critical habitats. Regulations were issued in 1986 detailing the consultation process, and a
handbook describing the process is available at http://endangered.fws.gov/consultations.
In the general area proposed for the underground laboratory, both salmon and spotted owls, and their habitats, exist.
The Northern Spotted Owl and certain salmonid species are listed as “threatened or endangered” under the ESA.
Other species of concern may be identified during the development of the Environmental Impact Statement. The
ESA jurisdiction over anadromous species, such as salmon, is with NOAA Fisheries, whereas the jurisdiction over
the spotted owl, and other terrestrial species, is with the USFWS. For purposes of this document, those agencies are
referred to jointly as “the federal fish and wildlife agencies.”
Because the DUSEL-Cascades Project will, at a minimum, involve a federal permit from the Forest Service and the
receipt of federal funding, consultation under Section 7 of the ESA would be required for the Project. Consultation
may also be required under the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. In many cases, the federal fish and
wildlife agencies are able to consolidate ESA consultations with the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) consultations
required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, if that Act is applicable to the Project. Under Section 7, before initiating
any project, the federal permitting agency (Forest Service), the funding agency (NSF), or the non-Federal permit
applicant (the University of Washington), must ask the federal fish and wildlife agencies to provide a list of
threatened, endangered, proposed, and candidate species and designated critical habitats that may be present in the
project area. If there are listed no species or designated critical habitats in the “action area”, there is no further ESA
obligation under section 7(a)(2) and consultation is concluded. If a listed species or its critical habitat is present,
then it must determine (typically through an environmental assessment) whether the project may affect a listed
species. If so, consultation is required. If the Forest Service determines (and the federal fish and wildlife agencies
agree) that the project is not likely to adversely affect any listed species, then the consultation (informal to this
point) is concluded and the decision is put in writing.
If a determination is made that a project is likely to adversely affect a listed species or designated critical habitat,
formal consultation is required. There is a designated period of time in which to consult (90 days), and beyond that,
another set period of time for the federal fish and wildlife agencies to prepare a biological opinion (45 days). The
determination of whether or not the proposed action would be likely to jeopardize the species or destroy or adversely
modify its critical habitat is contained in the biological opinion. If a jeopardy or adverse modification determination
is made with respect to the project as proposed, the biological opinion must identify any reasonable and prudent
alternatives that could allow the project to move forward. (For example, adjusting construction timelines to limit
construction activities to certain “window” periods is a frequent change made to projects at this stage.)
If the federal fish and wildlife agencies issue either a “no jeopardy” opinion or a jeopardy opinion that contains a
reasonable and prudent alternative, it may include an incidental take statement which authorizes a certain level of
incidental “take” of a listed species to occur in connection with the project.5 The incidental take statement specifies
the permitted level of take and contains binding terms and conditions designed to reduce the overall impact to the
species. A large percentage of projects that would have, at least as initially planned, adverse impacts to listed
species are dealt with through informal consultation, during which changes to the project design are made to avoid
those impacts. At this time it is premature to predict what level of consultation would be required for the Project.
Consultation with the tribal governments is viewed by the tribes as a government-to-government discussion, and has
no formal structure. Consultation typically consists of discussions among the governments to assure the rights of the
tribes would not be impaired by the proposed project.
The two tribes in question are the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Yakama Indian Nation.
Further, the Wenatchi tribe is attempting to gain independent recognition by the federal government and a dedicated
home area in the general Leavenworth area. The DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents have sent correspondence to
the tribal chairs of each of the federally-recognized tribes asking for an opportunity to meet and discuss the proposal.
One request for more information (possible locations for the surface campus) has yet been received. Discussions
with the tribes will be an important component of the steps necessary to proceed with the Project.
Support from State and Local Entities
While it is expected that the NSF would fund the majority of the DUSEL-Cascades Project, there are opportunities
for the state and local entities to provide funding or in-kind contributions for project enhancements.
For example, the state legislature adopts a biennial budget on odd-numbered years. While the legislature cannot
commit funds today for a potential project 5 to 7 years out, it may be possible for the University of Washington to
include a portion of the operating expenses in its long term plans, and as appropriate, include specific components in
“Take” is defined as harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collecting or
attempting to engage in any such conduct. “Harm” is further defined to include significant habitat modifications or degradation that
results in death or injury to a listed species by significantly impairing behavioral patterns such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering.
“Incidental take” is defined as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity.
its biennial budget requests. This, of course, would need to be prioritized among all the requests considered by the
University. It would then be evaluated, and if deemed worthy, would need to be funded by the legislature.
Examples of potential areas for state funding could include the salaries and benefits of certain designated faculty,
funds associated with rent or management of the facility, etc.
The State of Washington also has an aggressive Economic Development program that may fund certain aspects of
new projects in distressed or rural areas lacking economic diversification or employment stability. This funding is
generally funneled through local governmental entities. For DUSEL-Cascades, funding would likely be available to
help local government plan for the infrastructure needed to support the laboratory and associated facilities. Planning
is needed to address traffic impacts, water and sewer hook-up impacts, power sub-station capacity issues, and
impacts of this proposal on housing in the general vicinity, among others. This funding is generally distributed
through competitive grants.
Also, as part of the State of Washington’s effort to entice new economic development, funding is often available to
local governmental entities to address infrastructure needs. This project is likely to be competitive for grants and
low interest loans to the local Port District, which has property that may be available for the Science Building or the
Visitor Experience Center building, or both. Such grant and loan packages are generally limited to $1 million
Further, opportunities exist for public contributions, should the DUSEL-Cascades proponents decide to lease
building space instead of purchasing land and constructing buildings.
Finally, portions of the infrastructure needed to support this proposal may be eligible for federal funding. For
example, it has been suggested a bridge over the Wenatchee River would shorten the distance from one of the
potential sites (owned by the Port of Chelan County) to the laboratory. The construction of this bridge may be
eligible for such funding, as might a parking structure to alleviate traffic congestion in Leavenworth brought on by
DUSEL-Cascades and other development.
At this stage in this proposal, it is premature to apply for state, local or federal financial support. (However, the
potential importance of such support is being discussed with relevant entities.) Some indication from the NSF that
this proposal is welcome and deserving of further consideration would be needed first. If such indications are
received, the proponents will aggressively pursue all possibilities. The project proponents are well aware of the
potential such financial support holds for enhancing Project goals and competitiveness.
Local agencies, including the Port of Chelan County, the Chelan County Public Utility District, and various
Leavenworth and County agencies, have adopted a neutral position on DUSEL-Cascades, pending completion of
public community meeting, reviews, and other information gathering
IV. OVERVIEW OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW AND PERMITTING PROCESSES
Potential Approvals and Permits:
The following is a list of agency actions that may be necessary, depending on further development of the proposal:
• Special Use Permits (Forest Service)
• Operation and Maintenance Plan (Forest Service)
• Road Use Permits (Forest Service)
• Section 106 and Section 4(f) Review (U.S. Department of the Interior , Advisory Council for Historic
• Federal Endangered Species Act Consultation (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and
• Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC ) Plan (Environmental Protection Agency)
• Notification of Hazardous Waste (Environmental Protection Agency)
• Explosives User Permit (Treasury Department, Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms)
• Radio Authorizations (FCC)
State of Washington
• Section 106 Review (State Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation)
• National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permits/ Construction Activities and Stormwater General
Permit (Department of Ecology)
• State Waste Discharge Permit (Department of Ecology)
• Notice of Intent to Drill (Department of Ecology)
• Reservoir Permit (Department of Ecology)
• Sewage Disposal Permit (Washington Department of Health)
• Permit to Appropriate Public Waters –Ground water and/or Surface Water (Department of Ecology)
• Changes to Existing Water Rights (Department of Ecology)
• Notice of Construction Approval (Department of Ecology)
• Air Contaminant Source Operating Permit (Department of Ecology)
• Surface Mine Reclamation Permit for rock disposal (Department of Natural Resources)
• Explosive License (Washington Department of Labor and Industries)
County and City
• Conditional Use Permits / Zoning Requirements
• Road Improvements
• Road Use Permits
• Construction Permits
• Master Use Permits
• Water Service Agreement
• Sewer Service Agreement
• Septic Tanks and Drain Field Approvals
• Solid Waste Handling
• Power Service and Fiber Optic Service Contract (Chelan County Public Utility District)
• Property Acquisition or Leasing
NEPA / SEPA
Purpose and Intent
Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act, chapter 43.21C RCW (“SEPA”), is intended to ensure that
environmental values are considered during decision-making by state and local agencies. SEPA is intended to
provide information to agencies, applicants, and the public to encourage the development of environmentally sound
SEPA procedural requirements result in an environmental review process in which probable environmental impacts
and potential mitigation measures to reduce those impacts are identified and evaluated. Through SEPA’s
substantive authority, this environmental information, along with other considerations, is used by agency decision-
makers to decide whether to approve a proposal, approve it with conditions, or deny the proposal.
SEPA environmental review is required for any state or local agency decision that meets the definition of an
“action” and is not categorically exempt. Project actions are agency decisions to license, fund, or undertake a
In deciding whether to address the decisions related to the three major components of the Project, as well as the site-
testing approvals, separately or together during the environmental review process, the University will consider
geographic proximity, timing, commonality of issues and permitting agencies, and the preference of the public.
The National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. §4321 et. seq. (NEPA), was adopted by Congress in 1969 to
ensure evaluation of the probable environmental consequences of a proposal before decisions are made by federal
agencies. NEPA also allows federal agencies to change, condition, or deny proposals based on environmental
considerations. NEPA applies to (1) federal projects, (2) any project requiring a federal permit, and (3) projects
receiving federal funding. Since SEPA was originally modeled after NEPA, the policies as well as the intent of the
two laws are very similar.
Relationship of NEPA and SEPA
The NEPA Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process is much like the EIS process under SEPA described
below. After completion of the EIS, the federal agency usually issues a record of decision that includes the
decisions made, the alternatives considered, the factors that were considered in reaching a decision, etc. As with
SEPA, the process is intended to ensure that environmental information is available to the public during the steps
leading up to a decision, as well as to foster better decisions about proposed actions that may affect the environment.
Projects requiring approval from both federal agencies and state or local agencies require compliance with both
NEPA and SEPA. Both SEPA and NEPA encourage agencies to issue combined documents that meet the
requirements of both laws. The NEPA and SEPA lead agencies may agree to be co-lead agencies and issue a joint
NEPA/SEPA EIS discussing all issues needed to meet the needs of both agencies.
The Lead Agency
Under both SEPA and NEPA, a lead agency is designated to be:
• Responsible for compliance with procedural requirements.
• Responsible for compiling and assessing information on all the environmental aspects of the proposal for
all agencies with jurisdiction.
• The only agency responsible for the threshold determination and for the preparation and content of an
environmental impact statement when required
A federal agency may share lead agency status with a state or local agency to produce a combined NEPA/SEPA
document. This allows both agencies to have input into the document preparation, saving time and money, and
ensuring that the information needed to evaluate the federal, as well as the state and local permits, is included. This
also helps ensure necessary and important coordination among agencies and a more unified understanding of the
proposal and mitigation. The co-lead agency arrangement can be formalized in a written agreement outlining the
responsibilities of both agencies for the environmental review process.
The University of Washington, as a state agency, will be the SEPA lead agency for the DUSEL-Cascades Project to
assure compliance with its SEPA regulations, Chapter 478-324 WAC. Either NSF or the United States Forest
Service will be the NEPA lead agency to assure compliance with 40 CRF 1500 et. seq. The state and federal
agencies will work together to meet the requirements of both NEPA and SEPA under 40 CRF 1500 et. seq. and
Chapter 478-324 WAC. It is the intent of the DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents to formalize the co-lead
relationship between the University of Washington and NSF or the Forest Service through a written agreement or
Evaluation of the Proposal---The EIS
An environmental impact statement (EIS) is prepared when the lead agency has determined a proposal is likely to
result in significant adverse environmental impacts. Because of the significant public interest and potential for
controversy, an EIS will be prepared for the DUSEL-Cascades Project.
The EIS prepared for the DUSEL-Cascades Project may be informed by and rely upon another EIS. If more than
one proposal is determined by NSF to be technically viable, NSF could prepare an EIS that would consider the
impact of an underground science and engineering laboratory from a programmatic level. Such a programmatic EIS
would evaluate the impacts of the underground science program and provide some preliminary alternative site
analysis. Thereafter, any project-level EIS would provide supplemental environmental review specific to the
DUSEL-Cascades Project site. For example, a project-level EIS for the DUSEL-Cascades Project would
supplement any program-level EIS for the underground science and engineering program if prepared by NSF. If
NSF chooses not to prepare a programmatic EIS, then the DUSEL-Cascades Project EIS would be a stand-alone
The EIS process is a tool for identifying and analyzing probable adverse environmental impacts, reasonable
alternatives, and possible mitigation. There are several steps in the EIS process:
• Conducting "scoping," which initiates participation by the public, tribes, and other agencies and provides
opportunities to comment on the measures analyzed in the EIS, including the proposal’s alternatives,
impacts, and potential mitigation measures;
• Preparing the draft EIS (“DEIS”), which analyzes the probable impacts of a proposal and reasonable
alternatives, and may include studies, modeling, etc.;
• Issuing the DEIS for review and comment by the public, other agencies, and the tribes;
• Preparing the final EIS (“FEIS”), which includes analyzing and responding to all comments received on the
DEIS, and may include additional studies and modeling to evaluate probable impacts not adequately
analyzed in the DEIS;
• Issuing the DEIS; and
• Using the EIS information in decision-making.
Scoping is the first step in the EIS process. The purpose of scoping is to narrow the focus of the EIS to significant
environmental issues, to eliminate insignificant impacts from detailed study, and to identify alternatives to be
analyzed in the EIS. Scoping also provides notice to the public and other agencies that an EIS is being prepared, and
initiates their involvement in the process.
Once the responsible official determines an EIS is needed, a determination of significance/scoping notice is issued.
Agencies and the public are encouraged to provide comments on the proposal and scope of the EIS, including
commenting on alternatives, mitigation measures, and probable significant adverse impacts. The lead agency may
use various methods to involve the public in the scoping process but must give public notice and circulate the
scoping notice for public and agency comment. Expanded scoping under SEPA typically runs 30 days, rather than
the standard 21-day written comment period. Although no formal response to the scoping comments is required,
some agencies choose to prepare a scoping document that 1) summarizes the comments received during the scoping
process; 2) identifies the elements of the environment, alternatives and mitigation measures to be analyzed; and 3)
provides other relevant information.
The University will work with NSF or the Forest Service to determine if expanded scoping may be used to enhance
public and agency participation in identifying the scope of an EIS.
b) Identifying Alternatives
The EIS evaluates the proposal, the no-action alternative, and other "reasonable alternatives". A reasonable
alternative is a feasible alternate course of action that meets the proposal's objective at a lower environmental cost.
The no-action alternative provides a benchmark from which the other alternatives can be compared.
Alternatives present options in a meaningful way for decision-makers. Project alternatives might include design
alternatives, location options on the site, alternate locations, different operational procedures, various methods of
reclamation for ground disturbance, closure options, etc. It is not necessary to evaluate all possible alternative
variations. Evaluating alternatives that represent a reasonable range of options provides an effective method to
compare the merits of different choices.
Based on the information gathered during the current public outreach effort (see III.B. above) and the scoping
process, the NSF or the Forest Service and the University will consider alternatives that allow evaluation of a full
range of options.
c) Affected Environment, Significant Impacts, and Mitigation Measures
An EIS describes the existing environment that will be affected by the proposal, analyzes significant adverse
environmental impacts of each alternative, and discusses reasonable mitigation measures. This discussion focuses
on those elements of the environment that will be significantly impacted. When describing the environmental
impacts of a proposal, the lead agency must consider direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts.
d) Issuing a Draft EIS
When the lead agency is satisfied with the content of the draft EIS (DEIS), the DEIS is issued with public notice,
and circulated for review. Reviewers then have the opportunity to comment on the accuracy and completeness of
the environmental analysis, the methodology used in the analysis, and the need for additional information and/or
mitigation measures, so that improvements to the DEIS can be made before it is finalized.
Under SEPA, a 30-day comment period is required on the DEIS. If a longer comment period is required under
NEPA, that comment period will be utilized.
Under SEPA, the lead agency is required to hold a public hearing if 50 or more persons, who either reside within the
agency’s jurisdiction or who would be adversely impacted by the proposal, make written request within 30 days of
the issue date of the DEIS. Even if no formal request is submitted, lead agencies may, at their option, provide this
additional avenue and opportunity for agencies, tribes, and the public to comment on the document. The hearing
must be held between 15 and 50 days after the DEIS is issued and a minimum 10-day notice must be provided. For
the DUSEL-Cascades Project, the University would hold public hearings to receive public comment on the DEIS.
e) Final EIS
The Final EIS (FEIS) provides decision-makers with environmental information about a proposal to help them
decide whether to approve the proposal, approve it with conditions (mitigation), or deny the proposal. The FEIS
includes information and input from the applicant, lead agency, other agencies with jurisdiction or concern, tribes,
and the public regarding the proposal. It is completed early enough so that there is still a choice between reasonable
alternatives. Issuance of the FEIS is intended to follow reasonably closely after completion of the DEIS process.
Using NEPA and SEPA in Decision Making
One of the most important aspects of the NEPA/SEPA process is the consideration of environmental impacts and
possible mitigation measures during agency decision-making. The EIS allows decision-makers to make informed
judgments about whether possible mitigation measures are likely to protect or enhance environmental quality.
Mitigation measures that are imposed under SEPA substantive authority must be related to a specific adverse impact
clearly identified in the EIS and must be reasonable and capable of being accomplished. Before requiring such
measures, agencies exercising their SEPA substantive authority are to first consider whether local, state, or federal
requirements and enforcement would mitigate the identified significant adverse impacts.
The University will continue to work with the local, state and federal permitting agencies and decision-makers to
avoid impacts and to identify reasonable mitigation measures for remaining impacts.
Appeals under NEPA and SEPA
SEPA and NEPA provide processes for citizens and others to challenge both procedural and substantive decisions
made under SEPA and NEPA. Procedural appeals include any challenge to the adequacy of an FEIS. Substantive
appeals are challenges of an agency’s use (or failure to use) SEPA/NEPA authority to condition or deny a proposal.
In general, appeals may be heard at two levels:
• administrative appeals, heard by agencies; and
• judicial appeals, heard by courts when administrative appeal is either not available or has been exhausted.
There is no administrative appeal of any University determination relating to SEPA. Any appeal must be a judicial
appeal under WAC 197-11-680(4). An appeal under NEPA must be filed in accordance with 36 CFR 215 et. seq.
which requires that any appeal must be filed within 45 days of the Record of Decision. Under both SEPA and
NEPA, considerable deference is given to agency determinations in an applicable appeal process.
Washington Coordinated Permit Review Process
In theory, each of the various permits and the underlying environmental impact statement for the Project could be
subject to appeal. However, the Washington State Legislature recently adopted a consolidated appeals process that
may come into play for the Project. This new appeals process is directed at the variety of permits issued to certain
significant economic development projects located within distressed areas of the state. The size of the Project, the
number of employees, and the rural Chelan County location make it a likely candidate for this new consolidated
Under this new appeals process, appeals from final permit decisions by state agencies and local governments would
be directed to the newly created Environmental and Land Use Hearings Board. The Board would hear all the
complaints about the various permits for this project at one time. In order to take advantage of this consolidated
process, the project proponents must seek certification from the Governor that the project meets the statutory
criteria. Once the project is certified, all appeals subsequently filed must be filed with this Board. The list of
permits subject to this consolidated appeal is lengthy and covers nearly all of the state and local permits expected for
this proposal. However, this process would not cover any “legislative decisions” such as comprehensive plan
While this consolidated appeals process would also provide a potentially faster track for the state and local permits,
it is important to note that this process does not consolidate any appeals of federal decisions or permits. It is listed
here as an option needing further evaluation.
V. CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATIONAL APPROVALS FOR THE PORTAL AND TUNNEL
Use of Land for the Underground laboratory (USFS)
The majority of the land that would be involved or used as part of the construction and operation of the DUSEL-
Cascades laboratory is in the public domain and managed by the Forest Service (USFS). Some of the parcels in the
immediate vicinity of the portal were conveyed to the USFS with a mineral reservation6, but the remaining
ownership, both surface rights and subsurface rights, are owned by one entity, the federal government.
In order to use such public lands for the intended purposes, a first important step is to confirm that the land
designation can accommodate such use. Here, the area where any surface disturbance would occur has been
designated as “matrix lands” under the Pacific Northwest Forest Plan (also known as the President’s Forest Plan).
This is an overlay designation that must be evaluated in conjunction with the designation set forth in the Wenatchee
National Forest Plan, developed pursuant to USDA regulations (36 CFR 219) and the Forest and Rangeland
Renewable Resource Planning ACT (RPA) as amended by the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA).
The Wenatchee Forest Plan was adopted in 1990 before some of the lands in question were federally owned. The
current plan and the proposed revision designates portions of the tunnel alignment as scenic travel, unroaded/non-
motorized, or wilderness areas. Consultation with the Forest Service will be necessary to determine any limitations
or objectives needing to be met in order for the Forest Service to consider an application for a special use permit,
lease, or road access within any of these categories. At this time it is anticipated that efforts will be required to
achieve the visual objectives of the Wenatchee Forest Plan and to respect prohibitions on roads, utility corridors, etc.
The preferred location for the underground laboratory, while approximately 1.5 miles beneath the surface, places the
laboratory center about 750 meters inside the congressionally designated Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. The
DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents believe that the Project is consistent with the Wilderness Act in that its
facilities are necessary to support a scientific, non-commercial, information gathering activity consistent with the
purposes of the Act, while any activity within the Wilderness designation would be entirely undetectable on the
surface. The DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents will coordinate with the Forest Service for approvals for the
exact site for the underground laboratory.
In order to build the proposed DUSEL-Cascades Project on Forest Service lands, several special-use authorizations
will be required. At a minimum, the portal, tunnels and underground laboratory will require a special use permit,
any test boring will also require a special use permit, and finally, road use agreements will be necessary to utilize the
forest service roads leading up to the portal.
Mineral rights would be resolved prior to any excavation of rock.
OVERVIEW OF U.S. FOREST SERVICE PROCESS
Proponent submits a written permit proposal
Forest Service performs a preliminary screening (1 to 6 months)
Forest Service Forest Service agrees to
denies proposal proceed to next step
Forest Service requests additional information
Forest Service evaluates additional information
Forest Service Forest Service develops cost and
denies proposal estimated time frames, etc.
Proponent develops complete application
Proponent enters in cost collection agreement
NEPA analysis process (1-3+ years)
Develop Purpose & Need/Proposed Action
Conduct field surveys
Disclose environmental effects
Release Environmental Analysis
30-day public comment period
Respond to public comment
Consultation with USFWS, NMFS, SHPO
Release Decision document
45 day Appeal period
Decision to Decision to
deny request issue SU
A special-use authorization is a legal document, such as a permit, lease, or easement, which allows occupancy, use,
rights, or privileges on National Forest System lands. A request for such authorization must be consistent with all
applicable laws and regulations and with the Wenatchee Forest Plan, which has established standards and guidelines
for management of the land where the proposed DUSEL-Cascades Project will occur.
For most special use authorizations, an initial screening process occurs. Given the size and scope of this process, the
University of Washington will work closely to assure the form of the submittal meets the Forest Service’s
expectations. During the initial screening, the information will be evaluated and a determination made by the Forest
Service7 whether to proceed with an application or deny the request. If the decision is made to proceed to an
application, approximate costs for processing the proposal will be developed. An agreement may be necessary
between the University of Washington and the Forest Service to address costs associated with conducting the
environmental analysis, necessary surveys, and consultations with other agencies. The Forest Service will also
determine a preliminary timeline to complete the process. Reaching this point usually requires several months.
If the Forest Service agrees to continue, a completed application is required. A business plan may also be required.
The Forest Service will begin the NEPA process. As described in Section IV of this Section, the process includes
public scoping, conducting surveys, analysis, and Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation with regulatory
agencies and tribes. The NEPA process generally takes one to three years.
Some surveys (such as spotted owl surveys) can only be conducted during a short window with specific weather
conditions. Consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and State
Historic Preservation Office can take considerable time and involve a great deal of negotiation and changes in the
proposal. Agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sometimes require specific conditions and mitigation
measures not envisioned or anticipated in original discussions.
Once all the environmental surveys and analysis are completed, a Record of Decision will be issued. This decision
will be to either deny the request or to grant the request or some variation thereof. If no appeal is received within 45
days, then the permit can be issued. If an appeal is received, then another 45 days or more can elapse while the
decision is reviewed at a higher administrative level. A permit can be issued, a permit can be denied, or the original
analysis can be redone and the process repeated. Further appeal would be federal district court.
State Water Use and Protection Issues at Underground Laboratory Site
Water use requirements and options at Laboratory Site
During tunnel construction (access and ring tunnels), approximately 2400 gallons of water per day will be required
for the tunnel boring machine, approximately 3000 gallons per day for concrete and shotcrete mixing, and
approximately 2500 gallons per day for construction worker personal use, for a total of approximately 8000 gallons
per day. (Shotcrete, a product made from concrete that is sprayed onto the tunnel walls to seal them, is one option
for protecting and sealing tunnel walls.) Tunnel boring will continue for approximately 16 months. During other
construction phases (experimental hall excavation, hall finishing) water use should not exceed 4000 gallons/day.
Operation of the tunnel and laboratory site is estimated to require less than 5000 gallons per day for vehicle spray
down, personnel use, and fire protection. If a large water detector is constructed in the laboratory, then the filling of
that detector could require a one-time water use of about two million (the volume of the largest existing North
American water detector) to 12.5 million (the size of the SuperKamionde detector, the largest such detector ever
built) gallons. Such detectors typically operate for a decade before being emptied and refilled for maintenance. All
water uses, unless small enough to qualify for a groundwater exception, would require a water right.
It is predicted that some tunnel water would be produced during drilling of the tunnel. An accurate estimate of the
inflow rate will require detailed hydrological modeling and direct geotechnical measurements. These measurements
require test borings, which are planned in Stage Two. Collection and pumping of this water would take place during
construction and would likely continue during the operation of the laboratory. This water may need to be treated
The initial point of contact on this request will be the Leavenworth District of the Wenatchee National Forest.
and discharged into the ground via an injection gallery or as surface water (requiring federal and state discharge
permits). The amount of water is expected to be much too small to have any appreciable effect on enhancing stream
flows. There may also be an opportunity to use this water as an industrial source for laboratory. Any discharges
would require permits from the Department of Ecology.
In addition to groundwater produced from the tunnel, there are several options being considered for obtaining water
for construction, operations, and filling water detectors. Possibilities include 1) applying for new water rights and 2)
acquiring existing water rights by lease or purchase, while changing the water use to meet the tunnel and laboratory
needs. If rights are acquired by lease or purchase, any water covered by the right that is surplus to the needs of the
laboratory, either during construction or later, could be dedicated in trust to enhance instream flows.
During Stage One of the DUSEL-Cascades Project development, all water source options within the Wenatchee
River Basin will be surveyed to determine the sources most likely to be permitted within the anticipated construction
period. The results will help the Project minimize environmental impacts while enhancing stream flows in Icicle
New water rights
Washington State law requires users of public water to receive approval of the State prior to use. A water right is
necessary to divert any amount of surface water for any use and to withdraw ground water for any use unless the
total groundwater diversion is less than 5,000 gallons per day for purposes including industrial use. Water rights are
granted by the Washington Department of Ecology only if the proposed use meets the following requirements: the
water will be put to a beneficial use, the use will not impair an existing right, water is available for appropriation,
and issuance of the requested water right will not be detrimental to the public’s welfare. In making a decision to
issue a water right, Department of Ecology considers basin assessments, basin management plans, stream closures,
instream flows, hydraulic continuity, and availability of alternative water supplies. Any issued water right permit
would be based on a “first in time, first in right” premise, meaning that it may be regulated or modified if it
adversely affects existing rights, including, in the case of groundwater, interconnected existing surface water rights.
Filing an application to appropriate public waters with Department of Ecology’s Central Regional Office would
begin the process for obtaining a water right for the DUSEL-Cascades Project. The application would specify the
amount, purpose, and place of diversion and use. Once the Department of Ecology determines that the application is
complete, it would send the University a legal notice for newspaper publication for two consecutive weeks offering
the public 30 days to protest if they feel the proposed use would impair other uses of the resource. Whether or not a
protest is filed, Department of Ecology would conduct an investigation of the application resulting in a Report of
Examination. The report contains the Department of Ecology’s decision on the water right request, which will
recommend either a denial or an approval. An approval generally contains conditions for using the water. If any
party with standing objects to the approval, denial or conditions, that party can appeal the decision within 30 days.
The appeal process starts with a quasi-judicial appeal to the Pollution Control Hearings Board, which generally takes
approximately 6 months to a year for a decision. If unsatisfied, one or more parties can appeal this Board’s decision
into the Washington court system.
After the permit is granted, the applicant has a certain amount of time to put the water to beneficial use as part of the
intended project. The permit will identify the length of time and the steps necessary to show a good faith effort to
put the water to use. When the water is put to use in compliance with the conditions of the permit, a water right
certificate would be issued.
Within the Wenatchee River basin, many water right applications are awaiting investigation by Department of
Ecology. Any prior application that is deemed by the Department of Ecology to conflict with an application by the
DUSEL-Cascades Project proponent would have to be processed first. State law allows the Project proponent to pay
for the expedited processing of all prior conflicting application along with the processing of the Project application.
The Project proponent would enter into an agreement to reimburse the Department of Ecology for all the
applications’ processing costs (including legal costs) through the administrative appeal. The time required to
investigate prior conflicting applications in the Wenatchee River Basin is estimated to be one year.
Change in existing water rights
Because much of the water in Wenatchee River watershed has been allocated or claimed, the availability of existing
water rights to purchase or lease would be explored. Existing water rights could be purchased or leased and then
changed to allow the water to be used in the tunneling and operations of the laboratory. This would require an
application to the Department of Ecology to approve changing the place of use, point of diversion or withdrawal,
additional point(s) or diversion or withdrawal, or purpose of use (including season of use). In reviewing an
application to change a water right, Ecology would consider whether 1) the water right to be changed actually exists
(i.e. the right has not been abandoned or relinquished for non-use, and the source of water will not change); 2) the
change does not impact any existing rights; 3) the change is not detrimental to public welfare (for ground water
rights only); and 4) the change will not increase the amount of water use either instantaneously or annually.
Changing an existing water right does not change the original priority date of the water right. The priority date
determines the seniority of the water right, which is important during times of shortage because senior right holders
have their water needs satisfied first.
As with the applications for new water rights, there is a publication of notice, a 30-day protest period, and a 30-day
appeal period following the Department’s decision. Also the Department of Ecology’s process can be expedited by
paying for the costs of processing the water right transfer application and any prior conflicting applications.
The Chelan County Water Conservancy Board located in Wenatchee Washington also has the authority to process
water right transfer applications and make records of decision on the proposed applications. This alternative filing
location was intended to assist with a backlog at the Department of Ecology. However, the Department of Ecology
has final review authority of each record of decision and its administrative order to affirm, modify, or reverse the
Conservancy Board’s record of decision. This decision is also subject to the same appeal process as a new water
Other considerations for the Wenatchee River Basin.
The Department of Ecology is required by law to protect instream flows by adopting regulations and managing
water uses that affect stream flows to protect, and where possible enhance and preserve a variety of instream
beneficial uses, such as fish, wildlife, navigation, recreation, aesthetics and other environmental values. Water
rights existing at the time an instream flow is adopted are unaffected by the instream flow rules and those water
rights issued after rule adoption are subject to the requirements of the rule. For example, a water right issued after
the instream flow rule was adopted must contain provisions requiring the diversion of water to cease when the
stream flow drops to the levels protected in the rule. An Instream Flow Protection Program was established in 1983
for the Wenatchee River Basin, known as Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA) 45. For the Project, a new
water right or a transferred water right with a post-1983 priority date would be interruptible during periods of low
Washington State Indian Tribes have an interest in the maintenance of instream flows in support of their fisheries.
The DUSEL-Cascades Project proponents have written the two tribes known to have interests in the Cashmere
Mountain area and will follow up to identify concerns and opportunities.
The 1998 Washington Legislature authorized local governmental entities, the state and local governments, affected
Tribes, public water purveyors and other stake-holders within each WRIA to evaluate water quantity issues and
make plans to meet future water needs. Watershed planning began in the Wenatchee Watershed (WRIA 45) in
1999. The Wenatchee Watershed Planning Unit (WWPU) is made up of a diverse group of stakeholders representing
local governments, tribes, state and federal agencies, irrigation, agriculture, forestry, community groups,
conservation groups, economic development, recreation, and individual citizens. In addition to the required water
quantity component, the Planning Unit decided to address the instream flow, water quality, and habitat components.
Currently, the WWPU is in Phase II - Assessment, of the Watershed Planning process. Technical assessments will
focus on each component and the data will be used to develop recommendations in Phase III - Plan Development.
The Wenatchee Watershed Plan will be completed in 2006 and will include strategies for implementation.
For the Project, the WWPU would be consulted for any activities or mitigation measures that have the potential to
impact the water quality or flows of Icicle Creek or the Wenatchee River. Through production of groundwater and
storage capabilities, potential exists to design the DUSEL-Cascades Project to mitigate or enhance flow conditions.
Water protection measures
Water may be discharged to surface water at various times during the life of the Project. During construction,
groundwater from the tunnel may need to be discharged either back to the ground or to surface water. This water
would be tested, appropriately treated and discharged only in accordance with state and federal discharge permits
(National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits). The U.S. EPA, the Department of Ecology, and the fish
and wildlife agencies would be consulted regarding the appropriate permits and standards. If possible, the DUSEL-
Cascades Project proponent would seek to make this water available for use in the Project or to enhance the
Other state requirements, including a Stormwater General Permit, Notice of Intent to Drill, and permissions to
decommissioning a well would be complied with to assure environmental and public health protection.
Other State / local regulatory issues at Underground Laboratory Site
There are several other permits that would be required for the construction and operation of the underground
laboratory site. Use of Icicle Creek Road, Bridge Creek Road, and a small side road off Bridge Creek Road both
during construction and subsequently would require Chelan County and Forest Service Road Use Permits. On Icicle
Creek Road, pre-construction improvements will likely be necessary for the portion owned by the Forest Service and
structural improvements may be necessary for the County-owned bridge across the Wenatchee River. Post-
construction road improvements will likely be necessary along Icicle Creek Road and other portions of the rock-
Prior to the initiation of adit or tunnel excavation, an Explosives User Permit would be required of the contractor
from the U.S. Treasury Department (Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and an Explosive License from
the Washington Department of Labor and Industries under chapter 70.74 RCW. Notice of Construction Approval
under chapter 70.94 RCW will be required from the Department of Ecology for any construction-related to air
emissions. The disposal of the excavated rock may require a Surface Mine Reclamation Permit from the
Department of Natural Resources.
For operation of the underground laboratory, an Air Contaminant Sources Operating Permit under chapter 70.94
RCW will be required from the Department of Ecology for any air contamination sources. Permits would also be
required from either the Department of Ecology or the Department of Health depending on the chosen personnel-
sewage-disposal method (State Waste Discharge Permit or Sewage Disposal Permit).
The presence of hazardous substances and the disposal of hazardous wastes with require a Spill Prevention Control
and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan and a Notification of Hazardous Waste through the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the Department of Ecology. Examples of such materials commonly employed in
experiments include plastics and liquid scintillator.
VI. CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATIONAL APPROVALS FOR THE SURFACE RESEARCH CAMPUS
AND VISITOR EXPERIENCE CENTER
Siting of the Surface Research Campus and Visitor Experience Center
The DUSEL-Cascades Project Proponents desire to locate both the Surface Research Campus and the Visitor
Experience Center within an approximate 12-mile travel distance from the DUSEL-Cascades laboratory site. This
siting would allow for support of the underground laboratory and for collaborations between the scientists at the
Surface Research Campus and the educators at the Visitor Experience Center. These two centers would be located
within the Leavenworth area, but outside the Icicle Valley residential and recreational areas.
The Surface Research Campus and the Visitor Experience Center could either be co-located or sited separately.
Potential savings could be achieved through co-location by consolidating permitting, design, construction and
operation. However, the decision on whether to co-locate or separate the facilities will depend on community
preferences and on the availability of sites in the Leavenworth area that best fulfill the siting criteria.
The following criteria would be considered for any site:
• Approximately 20 acres of land total for co-located facilities (or 10 acres for each facility if sited separately).
Parcels containing environmentally critical areas, shoreline or riparian areas must contain at least 25 acres of
• Availability of water hook-ups or associated water rights for approximately 30,000 gallons per day (18,000 for
the Surface Research Campus and 12,000 for the Visitor Outreach Center). This may be reduced with
sustainable-design buildings and landscaping.
• Sewer service availability for approximately 30,000 per day (20,000 for the Surface Research Campus and
10,000 for the Visitor Outreach Center), or a potential for septic or drainage field approvals.
• Availability of municipal and utility services: electrical utilities, fiber optics, solid waste disposal, and police
and fire protection.
• Road access for large trucks, school buses, and other traffic from the regional highway.
• Potential for parking for 200-400 visitors and employees.
• Consistency with applicable City of Leavenworth and/or County Comprehensive Plans
• Consistency with applicable zoning codes
• Potential for collaborations with other educational centers
Preliminary research indicates that several suitable sites for both facilities exist in the Leavenworth area.
Permitting of the Surface Research Campus and Visitor Experience Center
There are several permits that would be required for the construction of the Surface Research Campus and the
Visitor Experience Center. The specific permits would depend on whether the facilities are located within the City
of Leavenworth or in the surrounding unincorporated area, and whether the development is occurring in close
proximity to the shoreline zone. All permitting decisions would be informed by the EIS prepared under SEPA, as
described earlier in this Appendix.
Following a determination of conformance of the development with the applicable comprehensive plan, the City or
County would make permitting decisions including the decisions on the permits required for construction: Master
Use Permits, Shoreline Conditional Use Permits (if within the shoreline zone), building permits, and road and bridge
use permits. The State Department of Ecology would require a Notice of Construction for air contamination sources
during construction and NPDES Stormwater permits.
For operation of the Surface Research Campus and the Visitor Experience Center, an Air Contaminant Sources
Operating Permit under chapter 70.94 RCW would be required from the Department of Ecology for any air
contamination sources. Permits would also be required from either the Department of Ecology or the Department of
Health depending on the chosen sewage disposal method (State Waste Discharge Permit or Sewage Disposal
Permit). The presence of hazardous substance and the disposal of hazardous wastes will require a Spill Prevention
Control and Countermeasure (SPCC ) Plan and a Notification of Hazardous Waste through the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the Department of Ecology. Water and sewer service agreements would have to be entered
into. If the City of Leavenworth does not supply the water, then the analysis of the availability of water resources
would be as described above for the underground laboratory site.
VII. SITE TESTING APPROVALS
The environmental review and permitting process for portal, tunnel, and underground laboratory construction and
operations, described above, is the second and more complex of two such processes. The first, the environmental
review and permit applications for geotechnical testing of the proposed site, is discussed below. Several of the
required permits for site-testing are similar to those already described for laboratory construction and operations.
An important goal of the planning stages of DUSEL-Cascades Project is to gain greater knowledge of the geology
and hydrogeology of the tunnel path and laboratory area. Such preliminary exploration is generally accepted as
prudent and cost effective, minimize construction risks and the associated possibilities of cost overruns and Project
delays. The Project proponents advocate an early testing program to provide both project engineers and decision-
makers with accurate assessments of costs and risks, prior to the NSF siting and funding decision. We would
anticipate that the NSF would be an active participant in planning the exploration and analyzing the results.
The proposed geotechnical exploration program is described in detail in the Geotechnical Report (Appendix A).
Important components of this program involve visual or other noninvasive explorations that require no special
environmental reviews or permitting. Other essential components, such as the drilling program to obtain core
samples, do require such review and permits. Thus, the first decisions connected with the DUSEL-Cascades Project
will be the NSF’s decision whether to fund a coring program (and associated probes) and the Forest Service’s
decision whether to permit such exploration on its lands. It is contemplated that the coring program will be the
subject of an initial NEPA/SEPA test-drilling process that precedes the NEPA/SEPA process for the construction
and operations of the Project.
The first stage of any drilling program would likely include a deep coring of the area that would hold the laboratory
caverns and a second coring of the portal site. If permitted and funded, the latter would be conducted from an area
near Icicle Creek Road. This drilling program would include a continuous coring extending several hundred meters
along the tunnel alignment. Directional drilling could extend exploration an addition thousand meters, with selected
core samples taken. The deep coring will require a deep pilot hole from Forest Service lands on the flank of
Cashmere Mountain, at an angle about 30° from the vertical. By setting wedges to deflect the drill string, the region
around the base of this pilot hole could be explored. A variety of downhole tests would be done, in addition to core
A specific engineering plan for the coring has not yet been developed. The Project proponents expect the staging
area to be quite small. The effort will require transport of water and fuel to the area, using portable tanks. The
required drilling rig is smaller than a conventional water-well drilling rig. Equipment, supplies, and personnel
would be transported into the staging area by helicopter in order to minimize land surface disturbance. The main
use of water is as a coolant. Core samples and any rock debris would be transported away from the staging site by
helicopter. At the end of the testing, the core opening would be closed in accordance with state law. One expects
no permanent sign to remain of the coring activity. In the permitting and funding stages, the staging procedures and
duration of the coring will be specified. It is anticipated that all work would be done in the fall, to avoid critical
Exploration of the portal area would require a second staging area near Icicle Creek Road, on Forest Service lands
accessible by road. The drilling equipment, personnel, water and fuel would be transported over the same county
and Forest Service roads and bridges as would be utilized later for construction and operation access to the tunnel
The design of the coring program depends very much on the views of the Project sponsor, the National Science
Foundation, on risk assessment. While general rule-of-thumb estimates exist for geotechnical exploration, the
specific engineering plan will depend both on site geology and the degree to which the sponsor is risk adverse. The
initial coring plan described above could be more extensive, involving, for example, two or more deep pilot holes
from a single staging area. Furthermore, a second stage of exploration could follow the first, if results of the first
effort indicate that more exploration is appropriate. The Geotechnical Report (Appendix A) also discusses an
alternative to deep coring, the boring of a test adit from the portal area to the proposed laboratory location, which
would expose the entire tunnel path to inspection. It is expected that Project proponents and the NSF would decide
on general outlines of a coring plan, which would then be incorporated into a detailed engineering proposal. We
anticipate that the proposal would envision one or more follow-up phases of coring, should that prove necessary.
This engineering proposal, including foreseeable future steps, would be presenting to the appropriate regulatory
bodies as part of the permitting and environmental review process.
The permits that may be required for the testing program include:
• a Special Use Permit from the Forest Service;
• road use permits for testing in the proposed portal area;
• Notice of Construction Approval under chapter 70.94 RCW from the Department of Ecology for any
construction-related to air emissions; and
• a Surface Mine Reclamation Permit from the Department of Natural Resources for disposal of excavated rock.
Additional permits could be required if a test adit were bored, including
• an Explosives User Permit from the U.S. Treasury Department (Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and
• an Explosives License from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries under chapter 70.74 RCW.
Because the water transported for the core drilling could come from outside the Icicle Valley, all water source
options within the Wenatchee River Basin will be surveyed to determine the sources most likely to be permitted
within the anticipated testing period. The results will help the Project minimize environmental impacts while
enhancing stream flows in Icicle Creek. In addition, any water that could potentially flow into surface water
sources would be managed in accordance with state and federal discharge requirements. We would comply with
other state requirements, which may include a Stormwater General Permit, Notice of Intent to Drill, and permission
to decommission a well, that might be applicable for environmental and public health reasons. Finally, the use of
helicopters within Icicle Creek may require consultation with the fish and wildlife agencies regarding any potential
impacts to threatened and endangered species.
Appendix B Addendum: DUSEL Outreach and
Information Gathering Meetings (Public and Agencies)
Project proponents, project consultants, and representatives of the University of Washington have taken part in a
series of public or agency meetings in which DUSEL-Cascades has been discussed:
September 2003: meeting with US Forest Service, Leavenworth Ranger District personnel, and Chelan County
October 2, 2003: meeting with Department of Ecology, Central Regional Office staff in Yakima WA.
October 27, 2003: meeting with local environmentalists at Sleeping Lady in Leavenworth, WA. (12 attendees)
October 27, 2003: meeting with the Port of Chelan County
October 27, 2003: radio interview on KOHO in Leavenworth, WA.
October 27, 2003: meeting with Chelan County permitting staff
October 27, 2003: meeting with City of Leavenworth economic development and permitting staff
November 7, 2003: meeting with residents of Icicle Island area, Leavenworth, WA (9 attendees)
November 7, 2003: meeting with residents near intersection of Icicle Creek Road and East Leavenworth Road,
Leavenworth WA (15 attendees)
November 7, 2003: meeting with residents near Bridge Creek on Icicle Creek Road, Leavenworth WA (5
November 7, 2003: meeting with US Forest Service, Leavenworth Ranger District and Wenatchee National Forest
November 19, 2003: meeting with regional environmentalist in Seattle WA (12 attendees)
November 24, 2003: meetings with State Senator, City of Leavenworth mayor and administrators, Leavenworth
Chamber of Commerce staff and members, Port of Chelan County, staff and board members, PUD staff (20
attendees at several meetings)
November 24, 2003: public meeting at high school in Leavenworth, WA (approximately 350 attendees)
November 24, 2003: radio interview with KPQ in Wenatchee, WA.
November 25, 2003: radio interview with KOHO in Leavenworth, WA
November 25, 2003: presentation to Chelan County Commissioners at public meeting, Wenatchee WA
November 25, 2003: meeting with State Representative from Wenatchee, WA
December 19, 2003: meeting with State Office of Regulatory Assistance, Governor’s Policy Office, and Department
of Community, Trade and Economic Development, Olympia WA.
January 13, 2004: meeting with Department of Ecology Headquarters (Acting Ecology Director, Water Program
and Central Regional Office)
January 22, 2004: meeting with Senator Cantwell’s staff
January 16, 2004: meeting with Chelan County, Port of Chelan County and Department of Community, Trade and
Economic Development, Olympia WA.
February 3, 2004: meeting with regional environmentalist and several Leavenworth residents in Seattle WA (13
February 5, 2004: meeting with a local group intent on forming a local coordinating council, Leavenworth, WA
February 5, 2004: meeting with the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust to talk about mitigation, Wenatchee, WA
February 5, 2004: meeting with the Chelan County Public works director and two of his staff, Wenatchee, WA
February 24, 2004: presentation to the Chelan County Public Utility District Board Retreat and public, Cashmere,
WA (approximately 30 attendees)
February 26, 2004: presentation to Department of Ecology engineers, Lacey, WA (20 attendees)
March 12, 2004: attendance at meeting of Local Coordinating Council made up of the local governments and the
Leavenworth and Wenatchee Chambers of Commerce, Leavenworth, WA
March 29, 2004: participation in NSF DUSEL “roadmap” meeting, Washington D.C.
April 2, 2004: radio interview with KOHO radio, in Leavenworth, WA
In addition, there have been presentations in Leavenworth area schools and school tours of University of
Washington physics facilities to promote educational awareness of underground science.