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Ch. PSC 4 Note Note: Chapter PSC 4 establishes procedures to provide the public service commission of Wisconsin with adequate information on the short-term and long-term environmental effects of its actions, as required by the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act, ch. 274 , section 1, laws of 1971 and s. 1.11, Stats.
PSC 4.05 PSC 4.05Definitions. In this chapter:
PSC 4.05(1) (1) “Cogeneration facility" means a type of electric generation facility that simultaneously generates electrical power and useful heat from the same primary fuel source.
PSC 4.05(2) (2) “Commission" means the public service commission of Wisconsin.
PSC 4.05(2m) (2m) “Constructing an electric transmission line" means either of the following:
PSC 4.05(2m)(a) (a) Installing new conductors, insulators, and structures.
PSC 4.05(2m)(b) (b) Adding an additional circuit to an existing electric transmission line.
PSC 4.05(3) (3) “Distribution line" means an electric line whose main function is to deliver energy from a distribution substation to individual customers.
PSC 4.05(4) (4) “Distribution substation" means an electric substation whose primary function is to transform the voltage of incoming power to the primary distribution voltage.
PSC 4.05(5) (5) “Electric energy storage facility" means a supply facility that does not transform fuel or energy into electricity, but stores electricity or power capable of being transformed into electricity, including:
PSC 4.05(5)(a) (a) A magnetic energy storage system.
PSC 4.05(5)(b) (b) A battery.
PSC 4.05(5)(c) (c) Pumped water.
PSC 4.05(6) (6) “Electric generation facility" means a physical plant used for generating electrical power and includes multiple generating units installed over time as part of an overall development project. It also includes situations, such as wind farms, where multiple small generators are installed as part of a single, overall project. In the case of multiple units at a single site or proximate sites, the environmental review will be predicated on the total project rather than unit by unit.
PSC 4.05(7) (7) “EA" means an environmental assessment.
PSC 4.05(8) (8) “EIS" means an environmental impact statement.
PSC 4.05(9) (9) “Human environment" means the natural or physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment.
PSC 4.05(10) (10) “kV" means kilovolt.
PSC 4.05(11) (11) “MW" means megawatt.
PSC 4.05(12) (12) “Person" has the meaning specified in s. 990.01 (26), Stats. “Person" also includes the state of Wisconsin and its political subdivisions.
PSC 4.05(13) (13) “Rebuilding an electric transmission line" means modifying an existing electric transmission line to increase its capacity to carry current at the same voltage, including changing conductors, insulators or structures.
PSC 4.05(14) (14) “Scoping" means a process by which the commission requests other agencies and the public to help identify major environmental issues and how they will be addressed in an EIS.
PSC 4.05(15) (15) “Upgrading an electric transmission line" means modifying an existing electric transmission line to increase its capacity to carry current and increasing its voltage, including changing conductors, insulators or structures.
PSC 4.05(16) (16) “WEPA" means the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act, chapter 274, section 1, laws of 1971, and s. 1.11, Stats.
PSC 4.05 History History: Cr. Register, July, 1995, No. 475, eff. 8-1-95; am. (1), (6), (9), (13) and (15), cr. (2m), Register, June, 2000, No. 534, eff. 7-1-00.
PSC 4.10 PSC 4.10Categorizing commission actions.
PSC 4.10(1)(1)Type I actions. Type I actions are major actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of s. 1.11 (2) (c), Stats. The commission shall prepare an EIS on any of the proposed actions involving a request for commission approval, categorized as Type I actions, listed in Table 1. The commission shall also prepare an EIS for actions not listed in Table 1 that it determines are Type I actions.
PSC 4.10(2) (2)Type II Actions. Type II actions are proposed actions involving requests for commission approval that have the potential to significantly affect the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of s. 1.11 (2) (c), Stats. Unless the commission decides an EIS is necessary, the commission shall prepare an EA on any of the proposed actions involving a request for commission approval, categorized as Type II actions, listed in Table 2.
PSC 4.10(3) (3)Type III Actions. Type III actions are proposed actions involving requests for commission approval that normally do not have the potential to significantly affect the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of s. 1.11 (2) (c), Stats. As such, they do not normally require an EA or an EIS. An evaluation of a specific Type III proposal, however, may indicate that the preparation of an EA or EIS is warranted for that proposal. Type III actions are listed in Table 3.
PSC 4.10(3m) (3m)Actions not requiring environmental assessment.
PSC 4.10(3m)(a)(a) Commission actions not specified under sub. (2) do not normally require an environmental assessment except as otherwise determined by the commission under par. (b).
PSC 4.10(3m)(b) (b) Notwithstanding par. (a), the commission shall prepare an EA on a proposed action if it finds that:
PSC 4.10(3m)(b)1. 1. The action may be a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment within the meaning of s. 1.11 (2) (c), Stats., and that an EIS may be required; or
PSC 4.10(3m)(b)2. 2. The action involves unresolved conflicts concerning the use of available resources within the meaning of s. 1.11 (2) (e), Stats., such that the commission is required to study, develop and describe alternatives to the proposed action, and the commission has not studied, developed, and described alternatives in writing by other means.
PSC 4.10(4) (4)Categorizing transmission lines. If an electric transmission line is designed with a combination of the structure height and strength, line insulators, right-of-way and other elements that would allow the line to be easily modified to operate at a higher voltage than the initial operating voltage, the type of environmental review under this section is based on the line's potential higher voltage level.
PSC 4.10(5) (5)Reasonable alternative proposals.
PSC 4.10(5)(a)(a) If a reasonable alternative to any proposed action specified in subs. (2) to (3m) exists, and the alternative would require review under sub. (1) as a Type I action, the proposed action shall be reviewed as a Type I action.
PSC 4.10(5)(b) (b) Unless par. (a) applies, if a reasonable alternative to any proposed action specified in subs. (3) to (3m) exists, and the alternative would require review under sub. (2) as a Type II action, the proposed action shall be reviewed under sub. (2) as a Type II action.
PSC 4.10 History History: Cr. Register, July, 1995, No. 475, eff. 8-1-95; am. (1) to (3), renum. (5) to be (5) (a) and am., cr. (5) (b), Register, June, 2000, No. 534, eff. 7-1-00.
PSC 4.20 PSC 4.20Environmental assessment procedures.
PSC 4.20(1)(1)General information. The commission shall prepare an EA as a concise document that provides a factual investigation of the relevant areas of environmental concern in sufficient depth to permit a reasonably informed preliminary judgment of the environmental consequences of the proposed action. The EA shall include a recommendation whether the proposed action is a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of s. 1.11 (2) (c), Stats., for which an EIS is required.
PSC 4.20(1m) (1m)Public notice. When it commences the preparation of an EA, the commission shall make a diligent effort to notify the public that an EA is being prepared. The announcement may be included with a notice of investigation or notice of hearing. The announcement shall describe the proposed action, including a map where appropriate, list a commission contact person and indicate how comments may be submitted. The announcement shall specify a public comment period lasting at least 10 days, beginning on the date the announcement is distributed. The commission shall distribute its announcement that an EA is being prepared to:
PSC 4.20(1m)(a) (a) Any person with a demonstrated interest or who has requested to receive this type of information.
PSC 4.20(1m)(b) (b) Area legislators.
PSC 4.20(1m)(c) (c) For a proposed action affecting a local area:
PSC 4.20(1m)(c)1. 1. The county clerk and the town or municipal clerk for the project area, with a request that the clerks post the announcement publicly.
PSC 4.20(1m)(c)2. 2. The county, town, village or city chief executive officer in the project area.
PSC 4.20(1m)(c)3. 3. Local news media.
PSC 4.20(1m)(c)4. 4. The regional planning commission.
PSC 4.20(1m)(d) (d) For a proposed action affecting a region of the state or the state as a whole:
PSC 4.20(1m)(d)1. 1. The county clerks in the area affected, with a request that the clerks post the announcement publicly.
PSC 4.20(1m)(d)2. 2. The county chief executive officers in the area affected.
PSC 4.20(1m)(d)3. 3. Regional news media.
PSC 4.20(2) (2)Environmental assessment preparation. Following the deadline for public comment, commission staff shall complete an EA to develop information for the commission's use and to determine whether an EIS is required. Each EA shall include the following information:
PSC 4.20(2)(a) (a) A description of the purpose and need for the proposed action.
PSC 4.20(2)(b) (b) Maps, graphs or other description of the proposed action's location and design.
PSC 4.20(2)(c) (c) A description of those environmental factors the proposed action affects most directly.
PSC 4.20(2)(d) (d) An evaluation of significant positive and negative, short-term and long-term environmental effects that would result if the commission approves the proposed action. In preparing this evaluation, the commission shall consider:
PSC 4.20(2)(d)1. 1. Effects on geographically important or scarce resources, such as historic or cultural resources, scenic or recreational resources, prime farmland, threatened or endangered species and ecologically important areas.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)2. 2. Conflicts with federal, state or local plans or policies.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)3. 3. Significant controversy associated with the proposed action.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)4. 4. Irreversible environmental effects.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)5. 5. New environmental effects.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)6. 6. Unavoidable environmental effects.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)7. 7. The precedent-setting nature of the proposed action.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)8. 8. The cumulative effect of the proposed action when combined with other actions and the cumulative effect of repeated actions of the type proposed.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)9. 9. The foreclosure of future options.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)10. 10. Direct and indirect environmental effects.
PSC 4.20(2)(d)11. 11. Other environmental matters the commission considers relevant.
PSC 4.20(2)(e) (e) An evaluation of the reasonable alternatives to the proposed action and significant environmental consequences of the alternatives, including those alternatives that could avoid some or all of the proposed action's adverse environmental effects and the alternative of taking no action.
PSC 4.20(2)(f) (f) A list of other persons contacted and summary of comments or other information received from them, including information regarding whether the proposed action complies with the regulations of other governmental units.
PSC 4.20(2)(g) (g) A recommendation as to whether the proposed action requires an EIS.
PSC 4.20(2)(h) (h) The name of the person preparing the EA.
PSC 4.20(3) (3)Preliminary findings.
PSC 4.20(3)(a)(a) The commission shall make a preliminary determination about the need for an EIS, based on the information collected for the EA under sub. (2).
PSC 4.20(3)(b) (b) The commission shall notify persons who were provided the announcement of the EA for the proposed action, and other persons the commission knows to be interested in the proposed action, of the preliminary determination. The notice of preliminary determination shall include a description of the proposed action, the preliminary determination whether an EIS is needed, any significant concerns raised about the proposed action, the name of a commission contact person and the period for comment. The commission shall make copies of the EA available to those persons who request it.
PSC 4.20(3)(c) (c) The commission shall authorize at least 15 days for public comment on the preliminary determination, commencing with the date the notice under par. (b) is distributed.
PSC 4.20(4) (4)Determining need for an environmental impact statement.
PSC 4.20(4)(a)(a) When the comment period expires, the commission shall determine whether the proposed action is a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment within the meaning of s. 1.11 (2) (c), Stats., for which an EIS is required. The determination shall be based on the EA prepared under sub. (2) and any comments received on the preliminary determination under sub. (3).
PSC 4.20(4)(b) (b) If a finding of no significant impact is made, the commission shall enter the EA as part of the case file for the proposed action and shall send a copy of the EA to each county clerk, city clerk, village clerk, and town clerk in the area of the project.
PSC 4.20 History History: Cr. Register, July, 1995, No. 475, eff. 8-1-95; r. and recr. (1), cr. (1m), am. (2) (d) (intro.), 11., (g) and (3), renum. (4) to be (4) (a) and am., cr. (4) (b), Register, June, 2000, No. 534, eff. 7-1-00.
PSC 4.30 PSC 4.30Environmental impact statement procedures.
PSC 4.30(1)(1)General information.
PSC 4.30(1)(a)(a) An EIS shall inform the commission and the public of significant environmental impacts of a proposed action and its alternatives, and reasonable methods of avoiding or minimizing adverse environmental effects. The environmental analysis shall be consistent with the regulations issued by the U.S. council on environmental quality, 40 CFR Parts 1500 to 1508.
PSC 4.30(1)(b) (b) Each EIS shall evaluate reasonably foreseeable, significant effects to the human environment and significant socioeconomic effects of the proposal and its alternatives. If information relevant to evaluating these effects is incomplete or unavailable, the EIS shall:
PSC 4.30(1)(b)1. 1. Indicate the availability of the information.
PSC 4.30(1)(b)2. 2. Describe the information's relevance.
PSC 4.30(1)(b)3. 3. Summarize available, credible scientific evidence that is relevant to the evaluation.
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Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.