Register May 2020 No. 773
Chapter NR 150
ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS AND REVIEW PROCEDURES
Environmental analysis of department actions.
EIS action analysis.
WEPA Compliance determination.
Cooperation with other agencies.
Document retention and management.
NR 150.01 Purpose.
This chapter outlines the definitions, procedures and criteria to be used by the department in the implementation of s. 1.11
, Stats. The purpose of this chapter is to assure that the department decisionmakers, other decisionmakers, and the interested public have information to be able to fully consider the short- and long-term effects of department policies, plans, programs, and actions on the quality of the human environment.
NR 150.01 Note
, Stats. was enacted as ch. 274
, laws of 1971, amended by ch. 204
, laws of 1973, and is known as the Wisconsin environmental policy act or WEPA.
NR 150.01 History
History: CR 13-022
: cr. Register March 2014 No. 699
, eff. 4-1-14.
NR 150.02 Applicability.
This chapter shall apply to all department actions which may negatively affect the quality of the human environment and to consideration of strategic natural resource issues or policies which may involve unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources.
NR 150.02 Note
There are several statutory exemptions from s. 1.11
, Stats., including the following: s. 30.025
, Stats. (construction of certain high voltage transmission lines); ss. 160.23
, Stats. (responses to groundwater standards exceedances); s. 283.93
, Stats. (WPDES permit actions, except for WPDES permit actions for new sources); s. 285.60 (2g) (b)
and (3) (b)
, Stats. (air registration permits and general permits); and ss. 295.44
, and 295.645
, Stats. (ferrous mining exploration licenses, bulk sampling approvals, successor operators, and responses to groundwater standards exceedances). The department may have previously conducted environmental analyses under s. 1.11
Stats., for actions that are exempt under s. 283.93
, Stats., even though the department was not statutorily required to do so.
NR 150.02 History
History: CR 13-022
: cr. Register March 2014 No. 699
, eff. 4-1-14.
“Action" means any final decision by the department to exercise the department's statutory or administrative rule authority that affects the quality of the human environment including actions under s. NR 150.20 (1m)
, but not including policies as defined in sub. (19)
“Alternatives" means other actions or activities which may be reasonably available to achieve the same or altered purpose of the proposed action or project, including the alternative of no action.
“Applicant" means a person who applies for a permit, license, or approval granted or issued by the department.
“Cumulative effects" means compounding effects resulting from repeated or other proximal actions, activities or projects.
“Department" means the department of natural resources.
“Department facility" means department infrastructure, including dams, buildings, roads, and trails for resource management, public use, or other purposes.
“EIS" means environmental impact statement.
“Environmental analysis" means a detailed analysis that evaluates a proposed action or project's effect on the human environment and studies, develops and describes alternatives to the proposed action or project.
“Environmental effect," “effect," “environmental impact," “impact," “effect on the environment," or “environmental consequence" means a direct, indirect, secondary, or cumulative change to the quality of the human environment.
“Human environment" means the natural or physical environment, including the components, structures, and functioning of ecosystems, and the relationship of people with that environment, including aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, and human health-related components.
“Integrated analysis action" means a department action for which department programmatic procedures provide for public disclosure and include an environmental analysis that provides sufficient information to establish that an environmental impact statement is not required.
“Issue" means a general subject, topic or question concerning the use of, or effect on, natural resources about which the department may or may not have authority.
“Lead agency" means the state or federal agency with primary concern or responsibility for a given project or action as determined by law, interagency consultation, or written agreement.
“Minor action" means a department action that is not subject to s. 1.11 (2) (c)
, Stats., because it is not in conflict with state or federal environmental policies and is not likely to do any of the following:
Set precedent for reducing or limiting environmental protection.
Result in long-term deleterious effects that are prohibitively difficult or expensive to reverse.
Result in deleterious effects on especially important, critical or sensitive environmental resources.
Result in substantial risk to human life, health, or safety.
“Mitigating measure" means an action or activity proposed or undertaken by federal or other state agencies, the department or an applicant to reduce the severity or extent of environmental effects that would result from a proposed action or activity.
“Natural resource management, timber management, or environmental restoration" includes all actions associated with the management, economic production, protection, and restoration of native and non-native fish, game, plants, trees and timber, habitat protection, habitat management, habitat restoration, silvicultural practices, forest inventory, chemical and mechanical site preparation, timber harvesting, timber sales, timber transporting, tree planting, direct seeding, forest type conversions, invasive species control, timber stand improvement activities, forest nursery operations, prescribed burning, fire prevention, fire detection, fire suppression, rehabilitation of fire burned areas, environmental remediation, fish hatchery operations, state game farm operations, pesticide or herbicide applications, and field surveys for environmental protection.
NR 150.03 Note
Section 283.01 (8)
, Stats., defines “new source" to mean any point source the construction of which commenced after the effective date of applicable effluent limitations or standards of performance.
“Person" includes any natural 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.
“Policy" means a written plan or set of guiding principles, priorities, or protocols to guide department action that has been issued as a department manual code, or approved in writing by the natural resources board or the department secretary, but does not include actions as defined in sub. (1)
“Prime farm land" means land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and that is available for these uses, as defined in U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service National soil survey handbook, title 430-VI.
“Prior compliance" means that one or more environmental analysis documents exist for prior actions that are similar to the proposed action in kind, scale, and environmental setting.
“Project" means one or more actions and other activities related to a single undertaking by the department or an applicant.
“Protocols" means written department procedures to guide department action, other than statutes or administrative codes, that have been approved by the natural resources board or the department secretary.
“Publicly announce" or “public announcement" means publication on the department's internet web site, or other reasonable methods to provide public notice.
“Secondary effects" means reasonably foreseeable indirect effects caused by an action or project later in time or farther removed in distance, including induced changes in the pattern of land use, population density, or growth rate and related effects on the human environment.
alternatives analysis of an issue or policy.
of available resources" means an unsettled disagreement between experts, policymakers
of local, state, or tribal governments, or citizen interest groups in Wisconsin concerning a policy affecting the utilization of a substantial natural or physical resource where the utilization would be of sufficient magnitude that, on a statewide or regional basis, it would have a considerable and important impact to the natural resources of the state.
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.