Register October 2019 No. 766
Chapter Trans 400
WISCONSIN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT
PROCEDURES FOR DEPARTMENT ACTIONS
Federal regulations adopted.
Action designation and environmental documentation.
Categorization of department actions.
Preparation and content of environmental documents.
Distribution and review of environmental documents.
Decision on proposed action.
DEIS and FEIS reevaluation and supplement.
As specified in s. 227.01 (13) (d)
, Stats., the definition of “rule" and the requirement to promulgate statements of general policy and interpretation of statutes as administrative rules do not apply to action or inaction of the department which relates to the use of highways and is made known by signs or signals, relates to the construction or maintenance of highways or bridges, except as provided in ss. 84.11 (1r)
, Stats., or prescribes measures to minimize the adverse environmental impact of bridge and highway construction and maintenance.
As specified in ss. 20.395 (9) (qx)
, 84.01 (15)
and 84.03 (1)
, Stats., the department is directed to construct and maintain highways and related projects within the meaning of title 23, United States Code, and all acts amendatory and supplementary thereto, and the federal regulations issued under that code, as well as to receive and expend all funds in accordance with the requirements of acts of congress making such funds available.
Trans 400.01 History
Cr. Register, April, 1992, No. 436
, eff. 5-1-92.
Trans 400.02 Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to implement the Wisconsin environmental policy act, s. 1.11
, Stats., by establishing the policy by which the department will consider environmental effects of its major actions on the quality of the human environment, by identifying actions under the jurisdiction of the department that have the potential to affect the quality of the human environment, by determining the appropriate environmental analysis and documentation necessary for each action, by ensuring an opportunity for public participation in the process, and by establishing procedures by which the department will consider the effects of its actions on the quality of the human environment.
Trans 400.02 History
Cr. Register, April, 1992, No. 436
, eff. 5-1-92.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all department actions which may affect the quality of the human environment.
Where another state or federal agency has concurrent responsibility with the department for a proposed EA action, a joint environmental assessment, or EA, may be prepared with the other agency if the EA meets the requirements of this chapter. The department shall make an independent judgment on the need for an environmental impact statement, or EIS, in accordance with this chapter.
Where a proposed action involves another state or federal agency approval or decision, and it has been determined that an EIS shall be prepared in accordance with NEPA or WEPA, the WEPA requirement for an EIS under this chapter may be waived if:
After review of the other state or federal EIS by the department, it appears that the requirements as to content of the EIS prescribed in s. 1.11
, Stats., and this chapter have been met, and the EIS was developed and prepared through appropriate participation by the department with the other agencies in a coordinated effort to satisfy the requirement of NEPA and WEPA.
If the joint EIS under sub. (3)
appears to comply with the requirements of WEPA and this chapter, public hearings shall be held in accordance with this chapter unless they are held in Wisconsin by the lead agency with effective participation by the department.
The department may accept certification of compliance by a county, city, village or town with any environmental laws applicable to improvements under the jurisdiction of the local government for which reimbursement is sought from the department through the local roads improvement program in s. 86.31
Trans 400.03 Note
The Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA), s. 1.11
, Stats., requires environmental documentation for major department actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment. The National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA) and its implementing regulations similarly require environmental documentation
for major federal actions, such as a federal agency approving the use of federal funds or issuing a permit for department actions. F
or department actions that require federal approval, the department
required environmental documentation. Where NEPA applies to a department action, WEPA typically also applies. The intent of this chapter
is to implement WEPA regulations that are consistent with NEPA and its implementing
for all department actions to which these laws apply
Trans 400.03 History
Cr. Register, April, 1992, No. 436
, eff. 5-1-92; am. (2), Register, February, 1999, No. 518
, eff. 3-1-99.
“Access roads" means the various, incidental, public roads that provide service and access to state parks, national and state forests, and state institutions.
“Alternatives" means other reasonable actions or activities which may achieve the same or altered purpose of the proposed action including the alternative of taking no action.
“Categorical exclusion" means an action which meets the definition of the term in 40 CFR 1508.4
and in 23 CFR 771.116
, 23 CFR 771.117
, 23 CFR 771.118
, or chapter 6 of order 5050.4B of the federal aviation administration of the United States department
transportation, or other actions of the department for which neither an EA, EIS nor other environmental documentation is required by this
Trans 400.04 Note
The specific versions of federal regulations and
federal agency orders
400.05 and are reproduced at appendix 1 to this chapter.
“Cooperating agency" means any Native American tribe, or any local, state, or federal agency, other than the lead or transportation agency, which has jurisdiction by law over the proposed action or which has special expertise with respect to any relevant environmental effect generated by the proposed action or alternative.
“Department" means the Wisconsin department of transportation
“DEIS" or “draft environmental impact statement" means the preliminary version of an EIS.
“EA" or ``environmental assessment" means a concise, comprehensive document containing an analysis of a proposed action to determine the significance of the action's environmental effects and whether or not the action constitutes a major action.
“Environmental effect" or “environmental impact" means a beneficial or adverse influence resulting from an action of the department. The term includes ecological, aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social or health effects.
“EIS" or “environmental impact statement" means a written report containing an analysis of a proposed major action and its alternatives to identify and address their effects on the quality of the human environment.
“ER" or “environmental report"
means a brief document used
internally by the department to demonstrate a proposed action fits the criteria
or conditions for approval as a categorical exclusion under s. Trans
(d) or has
been properly coordinated with other agencies having jurisdiction by law over specific activities.
“FEIS" or “final environmental impact statement" means the final version of an EIS.
“FONSI" or "finding of no significant impact" means an approved, completed EA containing a finding that the proposed action is not a major action.
“Human environment" means the natural or physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment.
“Joint lead agency" means the department together with any local, state or federal agency having equal responsibility for the preparation, content and processing of an environmental document for a proposed action.
“Lead agency" means the local, state or federal agency preparing or having taken primary responsibility for preparing the environmental document for a proposed action.
“LEIS" or “legislative environmental impact statement" means a written report containing an analysis to identify and address the effects on the quality of the human environment of a department-initiated report or recommendation on a proposal for legislation.
“Major action" means an action that will have significant effects on the quality of the human environment. It does not include actions whose significance is based only on economic or social effects.
“Major and significant new proposal" means a new proposal developed by the department which, if legislatively authorized and funded, may significantly affect the quality of the human environment and represents a significant departure from, or expansion of, the department's existing responsibilities by substantially expanding or substantially reducing total resources allocated to any existing programs.
“Mitigation" means avoiding, minimizing, rectifying, reducing, eliminating or compensating for adverse environmental effects of a proposed action.
“Notice of availability," “notice of intent," “notice of opportunity for public hearing" or “notice of public hearing" means a class 1 notice as defined in ch. 985
“Participating agency" means any Native American
in the project. “Participating agency" includes cooperating agencies but does not include nongovernmental organizations or other private