Environmental review process.
Issue identification procedures.
Preparation and content of the EA or EIS.
EIS hearing procedures.
Review of and comment on an EIS.
Environmental impact statement charges.
The purpose of this chapter is to:
Establish a policy to assure governmental consideration of the short- and long-term environmental and economic effects of policies, plans and programs upon the quality of the human environment.
Provide principles, objectives, definitions and criteria to be used by the department in the implementation of ss. 1.11
, 23.11 (5)
, and 23.40
, Stats. Implementation includes the evaluation of proposed actions; the study, development, and description of alternatives where proposed actions involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources, investigation and consideration of energy conservation in major decisions which would significantly affect energy usage; and the preparation and review of environmental impact statements (EIS's).
Establish the identification of major actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment and the need for an EIS.
Provide guidance to applicants seeking permission to proceed with a proposed action, which the department may grant, in determining the applicable procedure affecting the department's review of their proposals, and to establish a mechanism for early review of an applicant's proposal to determine the need for an environmental impact report (EIR) and EIS.
Provide an opportunity for public input to the decision-making process.
NR 150.01 History
Cr. Register, January, 1979, No. 277
, eff. 2-1-79; am. Register, February, 1981, No. 302
, eff. 3-1-81; am. (2), Register, February, 1984, No. 338
, eff. 3-1-84.
This chapter shall apply to all department actions which may affect the quality of the human environment.
NR 150.015 History
Cr. Register, February, 1981, No. 302
, eff. 3-1-81.
"Action" means any final decision by the department to commence, engage in, fund, approve, disapprove, conditionally approve or otherwise carry out any activity, pursuit or procedure, including proposals for legislation, which may affect the quality of the human environment.
"Alternatives" means other actions or activities which may be reasonably available to achieve the same or altered purpose of the proposed action including the alternative of no action.
"Appropriate participation" means effective participation by the department with another state or federal agency in preparation of a NEPA or WEPA EIS or EA including one or more of the following, but not limited to, preparation of portions of the EIS or EA within the department's jurisdiction or expertise, appropriate review and comment on the other agency's document or procedures, development of standards of document adequacy, determining content of the EIS or EA, involvement in public participation activities and hearings, policy development and decision-making.
"Approval" means, for the purposes of categorizing actions under s. NR 150.03
, the full range of affirmative final decisions of the department including approve, renew or conditionally approve.
"Approve" means the affirmative authorization to other persons, by means of licenses, permits, rules, leases, variances, or other entitlements of use, to engage in activities which would otherwise be prohibited by law.
"Compliance with s. 1.12
, Stats., alleviation of energy shortages" means the satisfactory completion of an EA or EIS in which the department evaluates the impact on energy resources of a proposed department decision which would significantly affect energy usage, and department consideration of those energy impacts in making its final decision.
"Cooperating agency" means any state or federal agency, other than the lead agency, which has jurisdiction by law over the proposed action or which has special expertise with respect to any relevant environmental issues.
"Department" means the department of natural resources.
"EA" or "environmental assessment" means an environmental analysis which is prepared to inform decision-makers of a proposed action's effect on the environment, and which develops, describes and evaluates alternatives, and provides sufficient evidence to determine whether the proposed action is a major action.
NR 150.02 Note
Note: An EA serves as the primary document of the department's reviewable record of its factual investigation to identify relevant areas of environmental concern, and permit a reasonably informed prediction of a proposal's effect on the environment.
"EIR" or "environmental impact report" means a disclosure document, submitted under s. 23.11 (5)
, Stats., by a person seeking a permit or approval.
"EIS" or "environmental impact statement" means an environmental analysis which is prepared to inform decision-makers and the public of a proposed action's effect on the environment, and develops, describes and evaluates alternatives in the detailed statement required by s. 1.11
"Environmental analysis" means a written comprehensive analysis prepared under s. NR 150.22
to evaluate a proposed action's effect on the environment; and to study, develop and describe alternatives. It includes EAs as well as EISs.
"Human environment" means the natural or physical environment, and the relationship of people with that environment.
"Informational meeting" means an optional, informal proceeding conducted by the department to receive public comments on an EA, EIS or an EIR.
"Lead agency" means the state or federal agency with primary concern or responsibility for a given action as determined through interagency consultation or written agreement.
"Major action" means an action of such magnitude and complexity that the action will have significant effects upon the quality of the human environment. It does not include actions whose significance is based only on economic or social effects.
"Major decision which would significantly affect energy usage" means a decision of the department which would result in an increase in the use of energy to the extent that availability of local energy supplies to other users could be expected to be measurably affected.
"Mitigating measure" means an activity proposed or undertaken by federal or other state agencies, the department or project sponsor to reduce the severity or extent of adverse environmental impacts that would result from a proposed activity. The conveyance of land, or other assets, to local units of government, the state of Wisconsin or the federal government to offset the adverse impacts of a proposal is not considered a mitigating measure.
"Person" means any person, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, association, public or private corporation, the state of Wisconsin and all political subdivisions, cooperative, estate, trust, receiver, executor, administrator, fiduciary, and any representative appointed by order of any court or otherwise acting on behalf of others.
"Preapplication services" means those services necessary to evaluate the environmental impact of a project or proposed activity, monitor major developments, and expedite the anticipated preparation of an EIS prior to submission of formal applications, and are part of EIS preparation for the purposes of this chapter.
"Preapplication services agreement" means a written under standing between the department and a person proposing a large, complex, or environmentally sensitive action.
In part by the department and in part by applicants for department permission, or applicant's consultants upon review and approval under s. NR 150.22 (1) (a)
"Proposal" means the full range of activities of the entire project proposed. This includes the entire project proposed whether or not the department's action relates to the entire project or to a segment or component of it.
"Significant effects" means considerable and important impacts of major state actions on the quality of the human environment.
"Unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources" means a department action where an unsettled disagreement between a project sponsor and one or more persons or the department involves the utilization of a substantial natural or physical resource. To be considered an unresolved conflict concerning alternative uses of available resources, the disagreeing parties must have identified a technically and economically feasible alternative use of the contested physical or natural resource, or both, and have the ability to reasonably implement that alternative.
"WEPA" means the Wisconsin environmental policy act (ch. 274
, laws of 1971, as amended by ch. 204
, laws of 1973, which includes s. 1.11
NR 150.02 History
Cr. Register, January, 1979, No. 277
, eff. 2-1-79; am., Register, February, 1981, No. 302
, eff. 3-1-81; renum. (2) to (27) to be (3), (6) to (15), (17) to (19), (21), (24) to (32), (4) and (36) and am. (3), (4), (7), (17) to (19) and (28), cr. (2), (5), (16), (20), (22), (23), (33) to (35), Register, February, 1984, No. 338
, eff. 3-1-84; cr. (28m), Register, March, 1986, No. 363
, eff. 4-1-86; r. and recr. (1), r. (2), (6), (10) to (15), (17), (18), (20), (25), (29) to (31), (33) and (35), renum. (3) to (5), (9), (16), (19), (21), (22) to (24), (26) to (28), (28m), (32), (34) and (36) to be (2), (3), (6), (10), (14), (15), (16), (17) to (19), (20) to (22), (23), (25) to (27) and am. (10), (14), (16) and (23), cr. (4), (5), (9), (11) to (13), and (24), Register, January, 1987, No. 373
, eff. 2-1-87.
In accordance with the Wisconsin and national environmental policy acts and regulations issued by the president's council on environmental quality, it is the intention of the natural resources board to declare a policy that will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony among people and their environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment; and to enrich the under standing of the important ecological systems and natural resources of the state.
The board recognizes the potential for impact of many state and federal actions on all components of the human environment. Therefore, the board declares that it is the continuing policy of the department of natural resources, as the primary environmental agency in state government, to develop an understanding of the environmental consequences of its actions and to use all practicable means and measures to create and maintain conditions under which people and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the requirements of present and future generations.
In order to carry out the policy set forth above, the department shall:
Acknowledge WEPA as an obligation shared by all units of the department to the extent that any unit contemplating regulatory, management or administrative actions subject to WEPA review under this chapter must evaluate and be aware of the environmental consequences of such actions.
Recognize its role as an environmental agency in state government and that it shall set an example in meeting the spirit and intent of WEPA.
Develop, where possible, agreements and understandings with other state, federal and local agencies to provide for early environmental reviews of their major actions, minimize duplication in meeting environmental impact requirements and establish a mechanism for resolution of interagency conflict.
Develop appropriate environmental impact information and analysis along with a discussion of meaningful alternatives and make this available to the decision-maker in a timely manner for all actions where such an evaluation is required by this chapter; and recognize that decisions subject to WEPA requirements cannot be made until the appropriate environmental impact review process is completed.
Implement the environmental review procedure as an integrated process, not a separate sequence of activities, that must be part of the initial planning process for department projects and initiated at an early stage of the regulatory review process.
Consider the findings of EIS's, EA's and comments received from the public in making decisions on proposed actions.
Insure that compliance with s. 1.12
, Stats., alleviation of energy shortages, is achieved in carrying out its WEPA responsibilities and that conservation of energy resources is considered as an important factor when making any major decision which would significantly affect energy usage.
Recognize that where an EIS is required for a major state action, it serves as a coordinating mechanism for a comprehensive department analysis of the entire project and for informing the public and/or obtaining comments on the proposed action.
Recognize that the department has an affirmative duty within its resources to comment on the EIS's of other agencies by virtue of its jurisdiction by law, special expertise or authority.
NR 150.025 History
History: Register, February, 1981, No. 302
, eff. 3-1-81; renum. (2) (g) and (h) to be (2) (h) and (i), cr. (2) (g), Register, February, 1984, No. 338
, eff. 3-1-84; am. (2) (e), Register, January, 1987, No. 373
, eff. 2-1-87.
Action type list.
The action type list established in subs. (5)
shall be used to determine the category of the proposed action and the minimum procedural requirements of this chapter as described in s. NR 150.20
(1) Type I actions.
Type I actions are major actions which would significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
(2) Type II actions.
Type II actions have the potential to cause significant environmental effects and may involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources.
(3) Type III actions.
Type III actions normally do not have the potential to cause significant environmental effects, normally do not significantly affect energy usage and normally do not involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources.
Emergency activities to protect public health, safety, the human environment;
Ancillary activities which are part of a routine series of related department actions; or
Actions which individually or cumulatively do not significantly affect the quality of the human environment, do not significantly affect energy usage and do not involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources.
(5) Department facilities development, operations, and other resource management.