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Register July 2002 No. 559
Chapter TCS 12
WISCONSIN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT PROCEDURES
TCS 12.01   Purpose.
TCS 12.02   Definitions.
TCS 12.03   Board action type list.
TCS 12.04   Preparation of an environmental assessment.
TCS 12.05   Scoping.
TCS 12.06   Contents of an EIS.
TCS 12.07   Distribution and review of the DEIS.
TCS 12.08   Conversion of DEIS to FEIS.
TCS 12.09   Distribution and review of the FEIS.
TCS 12.10   Contested case hearing.
TCS 12.11   Record of decision.
Ch. TCS 12 Note Note: Chapter VTAE 12 was renumbered chapter TCS 12 under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., Register, June, 1994, No. 462.
TCS 12.01 TCS 12.01 Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to:
TCS 12.01(1) (1) Establish procedures for board consideration of short-term and long-term environmental and economic effects of board actions upon the human environment.
TCS 12.01(2) (2) Establish definitions and criteria to be used by the board for the implementation of s. 1.11, 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; and the preparation and review of environmental impact statements (EIS's).
TCS 12.01(3) (3) Provide guidance to districts seeking permission to proceed with a proposed action, determine the applicable procedure affecting the board's review of a proposal, and establish a mechanism for early review of an applicant's proposal to determine the need for an EIS.
TCS 12.01(4) (4) Identify major actions significantly affecting the quality of human environment and the need for an EIS.
TCS 12.01(5) (5) Provide an opportunity for public input in the decision-making process.
TCS 12.01 History History: Cr. Register, April, 1987, No. 376, eff. 5-1-87.
TCS 12.02 TCS 12.02 Definitions. In this chapter:
TCS 12.02(1) (1) "Action" means any activity initiated by the board, or any activity subject to the regulation or approval of the board, which may affect the quality of the human environment.
TCS 12.02(1)(a) (a) "Type I action" means a major action which significantly affects the quality of the human environment and requires the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS).
TCS 12.02(1)(b) (b) "Type II action" means an action which may or may not significantly affect the quality of the human environment and requires the preparation of an environmental assessment (EA) to determine whether the action significantly affects the human environment and whether an EIS must be prepared.
TCS 12.02(1)(c) (c) "Type III action" means an action which normally does not have the potential to cause significant environmental effects and normally does not involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources, and unless the board determines otherwise, an EA or EIS will not be prepared.
TCS 12.02(2) (2) "Alternatives" means other actions which may reasonably be available to achieve the same or altered purpose of the proposed action, including the alternative of no action.
TCS 12.02(3) (3) "Board" means the technical college system board.
TCS 12.02(4) (4) "CEQ" means the council on environmental quality.
TCS 12.02(5) (5) "DEIS" means draft environmental impact statement which is a preliminary format of the final environmental impact statement.
TCS 12.02(6) (6) "District" means a technical college district established under ch. 38, Stats.
TCS 12.02(7) (7) "EA" or "environmental assessment" means a brief but comprehensive analysis of a proposed Type II action to determine its environmental impact; to study, develop and describe alternatives; and to determine whether the proposed action constitutes a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment or involving unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources.
TCS 12.02(8) (8) "EIS" or "environmental impact statement" means a written report prepared pursuant to s. 1.11, Stats., in accordance with the CEQ guidelines, which contains an analysis of anticipated impacts of a proposed action upon the human environment, and alternatives to the proposed action. The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) is a preliminary format of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS).
TCS 12.02(9) (9) "FEIS" means final environmental impact statement.
TCS 12.02(10) (10) "Finding of no significant impact" means a completed environmental assessment which indicates that the proposed action is not a major action which will significantly affect the quality of the human environment and that no EIS is required.
TCS 12.02(11) (11) "Human environment" means all conditions and influences, natural and artificial, which surround and affect all organisms, including people.
TCS 12.02(12) (12) "Major action" means an action which will significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
TCS 12.02(13) (13) "NEPA" means the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. s. 4321, et. seq.).
TCS 12.02(14) (14) "Resources" includes land, water, air, energy forms, plant life and wildlife, aesthetic, social, economic, historical and archeological factors, and labor and materials used in the proposed action.
TCS 12.02(15) (15) "Scoping" means an early process for identifying the anticipated range of issues to be addressed by an EIS, the extent to which the identified issues will be addressed, and the significant issues as seen by the public.
TCS 12.02(16) (16) "Significant effects" means the considerable and important impacts, beneficial or adverse, of actions on the quality of the human environment.
TCS 12.02(17) (17) "WEPA" means the Wisconsin Environment Policy Act, s. 1.11, Stats.
TCS 12.02 History History: Cr. Register, April, 1987, No. 376, eff. 5-1-87; correction in (3) and (6) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6., Stats., Register, June, 1994, No. 462.
TCS 12.03 TCS 12.03 Board action type list. The board shall review its proposed action and determine what impact the proposed action will have on the quality of the human environment. The board has reviewed its actions and has categorized these actions into 3 types as specified in Table TCS 12.03. Table TCS 12.03 shall be used to determine the category of the proposed action and the type of environmental analysis that is required.
TCS 12.03(1) (1)Type I action. If it is determined from Table TCS 12.03 that the proposed action is a type I action, an EIS shall be prepared. These are major board actions which would significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
TCS 12.03(2) (2)Type II action. If it is determined from Table TCS 12.03 that the proposed action is a type II action, an EA will be prepared. These actions have the potential to cause significant environmental effects and may involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources.
TCS 12.03(2)(a) (a) If the EA discloses that the proposed action is a major action that will significantly affect the quality of the human environment, an EIS shall be prepared.
TCS 12.03(2)(b) (b) If the board finds in the EA that the proposed action is not a major action that will significantly affect the quality of the human environment, the EA shall be filed in the office of the WEPA coordinator as a finding of no significant impact and shall be provided to interested parties upon request.
TCS 12.03(3) (3)Type III action. A type III action normally does not have the potential to cause significant environmental effects and normally does not involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources, and, unless the board determines otherwise, these actions will not require an EA or EIS.
TCS 12.03(4) (4)Other actions. Every action other than those specified in subs. (1) to (3) shall be evaluated for determination of the type of action.
Table TCS 12.03 Board Action Type List - See PDF for table PDF
TCS 12.03 History History: Cr. Register, April, 1987, No. 376, eff. 5-1-87; corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, June, 1994, No. 462.
TCS 12.04 TCS 12.04 Preparation of an environmental assessment.
TCS 12.04(1)(1) Content. To determine whether a Type II action is major and significantly affects the quality of the natural and physical environment of human beings, and to describe the alternatives to the action, the board shall conduct an EA and shall prepare a reviewable record in the form of a concise report. The preparation shall be done as early as possible in the planning process, but, in any event, before contracts are let if the action involves construction by a district. The report shall include:
TCS 12.04(1)(a) (a) A brief description of the proposed action, the purpose of the action, the need for the action, and maps, graphs and other materials where appropriate.
TCS 12.04(1)(b) (b) A brief description of those factors in the human environment affected by the proposed action.
TCS 12.04(1)(c) (c) A brief evaluation of the most significant primary and secondary environmental effects that would result if the proposal is implemented.
TCS 12.04(1)(d) (d) A brief study developing and describing reasonable alternatives to the proposed action, including the alternative of no action, and a brief evaluation of the significant environmental effects that are different from the anticipated impacts of the proposed action.
TCS 12.04(1)(e) (e) A listing of other agencies or groups contacted and the comments of, and other pertinent information from, the agencies and groups.
TCS 12.04(1)(f) (f) An evaluation section which contains brief discussions of the specific factors in this paragraph. If the proposed action will lead to any of these results, the need to prepare an EIS is increased.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)1. 1. Irreversible environmental effects.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)2. 2. Stimulation of secondary (indirect) effects.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)3. 3. Creation of a new environmental effect.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)4. 4. Impacts on geographically scarce environmental features.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)5. 5. Precedent-setting nature of the action.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)6. 6. Significant controversy associated with the action.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)7. 7. Conflicts with official agency plans or local, regional, state or national policy.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)8. 8. Cumulative impacts of repeated actions of this type.
TCS 12.04(1)(f)9. 9. Irrevocable foreclosure of future options.
TCS 12.04(1)(g) (g) A preliminary recommendation on the need for an EIS.
TCS 12.04(2) (2)Generic EA. Where proposed actions are likely to be repeated on a recurring basis or where they have relevant similarities such as common timing, impacts, alternatives, methods of implementation, or subject matter, a generic EA may be prepared. The board shall, when addressing a single action already covered by a generic EA, consider the relevance of the generic EA to the specific action.
TCS 12.04(3) (3)Notice.
TCS 12.04(3)(a)(a) Content. The board shall develop a notice for EA as prepared under this section. The notice shall state that the EA has been prepared and is available for review and shall include the following information:
TCS 12.04(3)(a)1. 1. The name of the proposed action and an identification of the district where the proposed action will occur.
TCS 12.04(3)(a)2. 2. A brief description of the proposed action, including location.
TCS 12.04(3)(a)3. 3. The board's preliminary determination of the need for an EIS.
TCS 12.04(3)(a)4. 4. The name of a contact person within the board who can supply copies of the EA and can answer questions about it.
TCS 12.04(3)(a)5. 5. The latest date on which the board will accept and consider comments before making a final decision on the need for an EIS.
TCS 12.04(3)(b) (b) Distribution. The board shall send copies of the notice to all individuals, agencies, and organizations that have requested notification of the EA or of all EA's and, in the case of a project in a particular area of the state, to the news media in the vicinity of the project.
TCS 12.04(4) (4)Public comment and input. Following the deadline for receipt of public comment on the EA, appropriate board staff shall review the EA, consider all public comments, make modifications as judged necessary, and approve the EA which shall include a finding either of no significant impact or of the need for an EIS.
TCS 12.04(5) (5)Findings.
TCS 12.04(5)(a)(a) If a finding is made in the EA of no significant impact, no EIS shall be required, the environmental review is complete and the original EA shall then be filed in the office of the WEPA coordinator as a finding of no significant impact.
TCS 12.04(5)(b) (b) If a finding is made in the EA that an EIS is required for a proposed Type II action, the board shall proceed with the preparation of an EIS under ss. TCS 12.05 to 12.11.
TCS 12.04(5)(c) (c) The board's finding on the need for an EIS becomes final upon signing by the state director or designee.
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