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Wisconsin State Environmental Review (9-WI-a)

In Wisconsin, state agencies must consider environmental impacts of a proposed project in their decision-making process pursuant to the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (“WEPA”). 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11. Similar to the federal National Environmental Policy Act, WEPA is a state law designed to encourage environmentally sensitive decision-making by state agencies. Agencies must also look at appropriate alternatives to the particular course of action they are proposing. If the action is a “major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” the law requires agencies to consult with other agencies about possible environmental impacts, prepare and circulate an environmental impact statement (EIS), and hold a public hearing. Citizen Guide to WEPA, a p. 1.


Under WEPA, the lead agency responsible for coordinating the environmental review and complying with WEPA depends on development permit pursued. The lead agency is the agency that has the principal responsibility for carrying out or approving a project, which may have a significant effect upon the environment. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (“WPSC”) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (“WDNR”) are the lead agencies responsible for complying with WEPA for energy construction projects. WPSC and WDNR must comply with WEPA when reviewing proposed energy construction projects, including electric generating and transmission projects seeking WPSC statutory approval. The WPSC coordinates with the WDNR to review the environmental impacts of a proposed energy construction projects to ensue compliance with WEPA pursuant to Wisconsin Cooperative Agreement Between Department of Natural Resources and the Public Service Commission, at p.1 (“Cooperative Agreement”). The Cooperative Agreement “…pertains to all energy construction projects that are subject to WPSC authority. In particular, the agreement relates to the applications for Certificate of Authority (“CA”) and CPCN.” Cooperative Agreement, at p.2.

WEPA applies only to the actions of state agencies. The law does not apply to local governments or private parties unless their actions involve state agency regulation or funding. Citizen Guide to WEPA, a p. 1.


State Environmental Review Process

9-WI-a.1 to 9-WI-a.2 – Is the Project Subject to WEPA?

Unless exempt, “…major agency actions,…”including but not limited to licensing, permitting, and leasing decisions “…significantly affecting the quality of the human environment…” must comply with WEPA. 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11; N.R. 150 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 150.04; P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.10.


9-WI-a.3 to 9-WI-a.4 – Does an Exemption Apply?

Proposed projects that do not have the potential to significantly affect the quality of the human environment do not normally require an Environmental Assessment (“EA”) or an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”). P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.10(3) Table 3. WPSC generally finds that projects classified, as Type III Actions do not require an EA or EIS. The following is an abbreviated list of projects that are classified as Type III Actions:

  • Construct an electric transmission line designed for operation at a nominal voltage of less than 100 kV;
  • Rebuild or upgrade an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of less than 100 kV;
  • Construct an electric transmission line designed for operation at a nominal voltage of less than 345 kV, if all related construction activity takes place entirely within the area of an existing electric transmission line right− of−way;
  • Upgrade an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of less than 345 kV, if all related construction activity takes place entirely within the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way;
  • Rebuild an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV or less, if all related construction activity takes place entirely within the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way;
  • Construct an electric distribution line;
  • Construct an electric substation, designed for operation at a nominal voltage of less than 100 kV, or construct a distribution substation; and
  • Modify an existing substation.

Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 3. Type III Actions.

Find a full list of Type III Actions at Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 3. Type III Actions.


9-WI-a.5 – Notice of Intent

Any person intending to file an application for WPSC approval of a Type I or Type II proposed project must contact the WPSC. The applicant (developer) must submit a Notice of Intent (“NOI”) to the WPSC at least thirty (30) days before filing, and at least thirty (30) days before providing an engineering plant to the WDNR if required for CPCN approvals in accordance with 196 Wis. Stat. §§ 196.491 et seq. | 196 Wis. Stat. §§ 196.491(3)(a). The NOI must:

  • Describe the developer’s tentative plans, designs, and timing;
  • Request a preliminary determination from the WPSC on alternatives to the proposed action that must be evaluated and the information necessary to complete the environmental review;
  • Request input concerning other agencies the developer may be required to contact; and
  • For a Type I proposed action, the applicant (developer) must obtain information on WPSC methods and timing for public notice and scoping procedures.

P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.70(1).

Type I Actions are “…major actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11(2)(c). An abbreviated list of Type I Actions include:

  • Construct an electric transmission line designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV, if the line is more than 10 miles long and if any related construction activity takes place outside the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way;
  • Upgrade an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV, if the line is more than 10 miles long and if any related construction activity takes place outside the area of an existing electric trans- mission line right−of−way;
  • Construct an electric transmission line or substation designed for operation at a nominal voltage greater than 345 kV;
  • Rebuild or upgrade an electric transmission line or substation to a nominal voltage greater than 345 kV;
  • Construct, at a new electric generation site, any of the following electric generation facilities: a combustion turbine facility; a combined cycle facility; or a cogeneration facility; and
  • Construct a hydroelectric generating facility at a new dam site.

Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 1. Type I Actions.

Find a full list of Type I Actions at Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 1. Type I Actions.

Type II Actions are “…proposed actions involving requests for WPSC approval that have the potential to significantly affect the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11(2)(c). An abbreviated list of Type II Actions include:

  • Construct an electric transmission line designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 100 kV to 345 kV, if any related construction activity takes place outside the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way (does not include those electric transmission facilities listed in Table 1);
  • Rebuild or upgrade an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 100 kV to 345 kV, if any related construction activity takes place outside the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way (does not include those electric transmission facilities listed in Table 1);
  • Construct an electric transmission line designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV, if all related construction activity takes place entirely within the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way;
  • Upgrade an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV, if all related construction activity takes place entirely within the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way; and
  • Construct an electrical substation designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 100 kV to 345 kV (not including distribution substations).

Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 2. Type II Actions.

Find a full list of Type II Actions at Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 2. Type II Actions.



9-WI-a.6 – Hold Initial Consultation

The WDNR and WPSC must consult regarding the level of environmental review that is appropriate for compliance with WEPA for each specific construction project. Often times this initial consultation is part of the pre-application meeting for WPSC CPCN and CA approvals. For details, see:

WPSC Certification Process for Transmission Facilities:
8-WI-c


Prior to filing an Application for a CPCN or CA (“Application”), the developer must consult with the WPSC staff, in cooperation with staff from WDNR, on the scope of the proposed project, the alternatives that must be considered in the Application, and additional information that the WPSC may require as part of the Application. 111 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 111.51(2)(b); P.S.C. 112 Wis. Admin. Code § 112.06(1)(b). At the pre-application meeting, the applicant, WPSC, and the WDNR may discuss all of the following:

  • The project scope including need and system level considerations;
  • Which of the steps in this coordinated review process are applicable relative to the complexity of the project;
  • The system alternatives, geographical scope of the project, and potential routes;
  • Tentative project timeline;
  • Stakeholder identification;
  • Potential routing and siting constraints, issues, and concerns;
  • Preliminary assessment of applicable WDNR regulations, anticipated permits and potential for compliance;
  • Anticipated WPSC and WDNR Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA) review process and needs;
  • Initial identification of the agency review teams and establishment of primary points of contact for WPSC, WDNR and the applicant; and
  • Information applicant will be required to provide and timing of filing information.

WPSC – Application Filing Requirements for Transmission Line Projects, at i.


9-WI-a.7 to 9-WI-a.9 – Initiate Environmental Assessment (EA) Process

The WPSC, in consultation with the WDNR, will prepare an environmental assessment (“EA”) on most transmission projects. The WPSC “…must prepare an Environmental Assessment (“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 must include a recommendation whether the proposed action is a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.10.

The WPSC and WDNR must independently determine the review that is appropriate based on considerations such as:

  • Existing administrative rules;
  • The extent of the agencies’ authority over the project;
  • The type of technology proposed (including ancillary facilities); and
  • Site characteristics for the proposed project and the ancillary facilities.

Cooperative Agreement, at p.4.


In some cases, the WEPA decision process may result in each agency conducting a different process or level of review. Both agencies may decide to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), both may prepare an EA, one may prepare an EA and the other an EIS, or one agency may decide not to prepare any WEPA documentation at all. Cooperative Agreement, at p.4.


The WPSC will prepare an EA on the proposed action if it finds that:

  • The action may be a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment within the meaning of 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11(2)(c) and that an EIS may be required. EIS’s are most often required for Type I Actions, identified above;
  • Type II Actions identified above; or
  • The action involves unresolved conflicts concerning the use of available resources within the meaning of 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11(2)(e), such that the WPSC 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.

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.10 (3m) (b)(1)-(2).

Note: When assessing the type of environmental review to apply the WPSC considers transmission lines by evaluating the transmission project by “…based on the line’s potential higher voltage level…if the 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…” P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.10 (4).



9-WI-a.10 to 9-WI-a.11 – Publish Notice of EA

The WPSC must notify the public that an EA is being prepared. The WPSC may announce the preparation of the EA with a notice of investigation or notice of hearing. The announcement must describe the proposed action, including a map where appropriate, list a WPSC contact person and indicate how interested parties may comment. The announcement must also specify a public comment period lasting at least ten (10) days, beginning on the date the announcement is distributed. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20. “The WPSC must distribute its announcement that an EA is being prepared to:

  • Any person with a demonstrated interest or who has requested to receive information;
  • Area legislators;
  • For a proposed action affecting a local area:
  1. the county clerk and the town or municipal clerk for the project area, with a request that the clerks post the announcement publicly;
  2. the county, town, village, or city chief executive officer in the project area;
  3. local news media;
  4. the regional planning commission;
  • For a proposed action affecting a region of the state or the state as whole:
  1. the county clerks in the area affected, with a request that the clerks post the announcement publicly;
  2. the county chief executive officers in the are affected; and
  3. the regional news media.”

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(1m)(a)-(d).


Any interested person may comment on the EA in the method prescribed by the WPSC.

9-WI-a.12 – Prepare EA

“Following the deadline for public comment, the WPSC staff must complete an EA, in coordination with WDNR, to develop information for the WPSC’s use and to determine whether an EA is required.” P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(2); Cooperative Agreement, at p.4-5. Each EA must include, at minimum, the following:

  • “A description of the purpose and need for the proposed action;
  • Maps, graphs or other description of the proposed action's location and design;
  • A description of those environmental factors the proposed action affects most directly;
  • An evaluation of significant positive and negative, short-term and long-term environmental effects that would result if the WPSC approves the proposed action. In preparing this evaluation, the commission shall consider:
  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;
  2. conflicts with federal, state or local plans or policies;
  3. significant controversy associated with the proposed action;
  4. irreversible environmental effects;
  5. new environmental effects; and
  6. unavoidable environmental effects.
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • A recommendation as to whether the proposed action requires an EIS; and
  • The name of the person preparing the EA.

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(2)(a)-(h).

Note: The WPSC may prepare a supplemental EA, after it has prepared an EA but before it has made a final decision on the proposed action pursuant to the requirements and procedures outlined in P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.35.


9-WI-a.13 to 9-WI-a.15 – Determine Preliminary Findings

The WPSC, in consultation with the WDNR, must make a preliminary determination about the need for an EIS, based on the information collected from the EA. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(3)(a). “The WPSC must notify person who were provided the announcement of the EA for the proposed action, and other persons the WPSC knows to be interested in the proposed action, of the preliminary determination. The notice of the preliminary determination must include, at minimum, the following:

  • 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 WPSC contact person;
  • Information regarding the period for public comment.”

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(3)(b).

The WPSC must also make copies of the EA available to those persons who request it. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(3)(b).

The WPSC must hold at least a fifteen (15) day public comment period regarding the preliminary determination commencing after the WPSC has issued the public notice. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(3)(c).

9-WI-a.16 to 9-WI-a.18 – Is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Required?

When the public comment period expires, the WPSC must determine whether the proposed action is a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment within the meaning of 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11 (2)(c). The WPSC must make the determination based on the EA and any comments received on the preliminary determination. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(4)(a).


The WPSC and the WDNR must prepare Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) on major actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11; N.R. 150 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 150.04; P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.10.


Most large electric transmission projects have the potential to require the preparation of an EIS. As noted above, proposed projects classified as Type I or Type II Actions normally require the preparation of an EIS:

Type I Actions are “…major actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11(2)(c). An abbreviated list of Type I Actions include:

  • Construct an electric transmission line designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV, if the line is more than 10 miles long and if any related construction activity takes place outside the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way;
  • Upgrade an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV, if the line is more than 10 miles long and if any related construction activity takes place outside the area of an existing electric trans- mission line right−of−way;
  • Construct an electric transmission line or substation designed for operation at a nominal voltage greater than 345 kV;
  • Rebuild or upgrade an electric transmission line or substation to a nominal voltage greater than 345 kV;
  • Construct, at a new electric generation site, any of the following electric generation facilities: a combustion turbine facility; a combined cycle facility; or a cogeneration facility; and
  • Construct a hydroelectric generating facility at a new dam site.

Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 1. Type I Actions.

Find a full list of Type I Actions at Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 1. Type I Actions.

Type II Actions are “…proposed actions involving requests for WPSC approval that have the potential to significantly affect the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11(2)(c). An abbreviated list of Type II Actions include:

  • Construct an electric transmission line designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 100 kV to 345 kV, if any related construction activity takes place outside the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way (does not include those electric transmission facilities listed in Table 1);
  • Rebuild or upgrade an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 100 kV to 345 kV, if any related construction activity takes place outside the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way (does not include those electric transmission facilities listed in Table 1);
  • Construct an electric transmission line designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV, if all related construction activity takes place entirely within the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way;
  • Upgrade an electric transmission line so it is designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 345 kV, if all related construction activity takes place entirely within the area of an existing electric transmission line right−of−way; and
  • Construct an electrical substation designed for operation at a nominal voltage of 100 kV to 345 kV (not including distribution substations).

Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 2. Type II Actions.

Find a full list of Type II Actions at Wisconsin Regulations – P.S.C. 4 Wis. Admin. Code §§ 4.00 et seq., Environmental Analysis Table 2. Type II Actions.


If the WPSC, and the WDNR determine that the proposed project poses not significant impact to the quality of the human environment then the WPSC must enter the EA as part of the case file for the proposed action and send a copy of the EA to each county, city, village, and town clerk in the are of the proposed project. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.20(4)(b).

9-WI-a.19 – Initiate Scoping of EIS

The WSPC must request any person it believes is interested in scoping the proposed action. Scoping is an aid to help the WPSC identify all of a project's relevant environmental concerns and reasonable alternatives. Scoping may be achieved by means of meetings, hearings, workshops, surveys, questionnaires, interagency committees, requests for written comments, and other methods and combinations of methods that the WPSC considers appropriate. The WPSC may also integrate scoping with other public participation requirements. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(2).



9-WI-a.20 – Draft EIS

For each action requiring an EIS, the WPSC must prepare both a Draft EIS and a Final EIS, in consultation with WDNR, and other state agencies. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(1)(c); P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.60(1); Cooperative Agreement, at p.4.

An EIS must inform the WPSC and the public of significant impacts of a proposed action and its alternatives, and reasonable methods of avoiding or minimizing adverse environmental effects. The environmental analysis must be consistent with the regulations issued by the U.S. council on environmental quality, pursuant to 40 CFR §§ 1500-1508. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(1)(a).

Each EIS must 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 must:

  • “Indicate the availability of the information;
  • Describe the information's relevance;
  • Summarize available, credible scientific evidence that is relevant to the evaluation; and
  • Evaluate effects based upon theoretical approaches or research methods generally accepted in the scientific community.”

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(1)(b).

Based on information obtained from the project applicant, scoping, site inspection, WPSC research, governmental agencies and other relevant sources the EIS at minimum must include, the following:

  • “A description of the proposed action and the affected environment and other relevant information;
  • A description of the purpose of the proposed action and of the need for the proposed action;
  • An analysis of the probable impact of the proposed action on the environment, including:
  1. an evaluation of positive and negative effects on the affected local and regional environments, including the proposed action's direct, indirect and cumulative environmental effects;
  2. an analysis of any probable adverse environmental effects that would be unavoidable if the action is approved. This analysis must consider:
    • The proposed action's short-term and long-term effects;
    • Any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources;
  1. A statement of how other adverse effects could be mitigated or prevented if the WPSC approves a proposed action:
  • 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;
  • A proposed action's socioeconomic effects;
  • A proposed action's effect on energy usage, including an evaluation of the technical feasibility of alternatives;
  • An evaluation of the archeological, architectural and historic significance of any affected resources. This evaluation shall include consultation with the state historical society of Wisconsin;
  • An evaluation of the effects of a proposed action on agriculture. If the proposed action may result in condemnation of farmland, the WPSC must coordinate preparation of an EIS with the Wisconsin department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection. To the extent possible, an EIS for a proposed action that affects agriculture must incorporate the provisions of an agricultural impact statement so the EIS can also serve the functions of an agricultural impact statement; and
  • A summary of the scoping process used and the major issues identified for analysis in the EIS.

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(3)(a)-(h).

9-WI-a.21 to 9-WI-a.22 – Publish Public Notice of Draft EIS and Public Comment Period

The WPSC must distribute a copy of each Draft EIS to:

  • The governor;
  • Each county, state or federal agency and each Indian tribe the WPSC knows has special expertise or interest in the proposed project;
  • The state historical society of Wisconsin library;
  • The Wisconsin legislative reference bureau;
  • Each of the regional depository libraries;
  • The Wisconsin department of natural resources;
  • The project applicant;
  • Any person who requests a copy;
  • For a proposed action affecting a local area:
  1. The public library nearest to the proposed project;
  2. The county and the town or municipality chief executive officer for the project area;
  3. Each regional, county and town or municipal planning agency with jurisdiction over the project area;
  4. The Wisconsin department of natural resources field office with jurisdiction over the project area;
  • For a proposed action affecting a region of the state or the state as a whole:
  1. One or more public libraries whose geographic distribution provides public access without undue travel;
  2. The chief executive officer of each county in the project area;
  3. Each regional planning commission and each county planning or zoning agency with jurisdiction over the project area;
  4. Each Wisconsin department of natural resources field office with jurisdiction over the project area.

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(3)(c). The WPSC must also “…notify the public about the availability of the Draft EIS. The notice must include, at minimum, the following:

  • A description of the proposed action and of the administrative procedures to be followed;
  • The last date to submit comments on the Draft EIS to the WPSC;
  • The locations where copies of the Draft EIS are available for review;
  • The WPSC’s contact person; and
  • If known, the date of the public hearing.”

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(3)(d).

“The WPSC must deliver a copy of the notice to:

  • Any person with a demonstrated interest in the Draft EIS or who has requested to receive this type of information;
  • Any person who participated in scoping the EIS;
  • For a proposed action affecting a local area:
  1. The nearest public library;
  2. The county clerk and the town or municipal clerk for the project area, with a request that the clerks post the notice publicly;
  3. The county, town, village or city chief executive officer in the project area;
  4. Local news media; and
  5. The regional planning commission.”

P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(3)(d).


Unless otherwise provided, the WPSC must allow for a public comment period on the Draft EIS for at least 45 days, starting at the date the Draft EIS is mailed or personally served. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(3)(e)(1). The WPSC may shorten the public review period for just cause. If the WPSC determines to shorten the period of notice, the WPSC must provide notice of the shorten public comment period. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(3)(e)(2).

9-WI-a.23 – Final EIS

Following the public review period on a Draft EIS, the WPSC must prepare, in consultation with the WDNR, a Final EIS. The Final EIS may vary from the Draft EIS in scope, based on comments received on the Draft EIS or other pertinent information that becomes known to the WPSC. The Final EIS must contain the same information as necessary for the Draft EIS, described above. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(5)(a); Cooperative Agreement, at p.5.


9-WI-a.24 to 9-WI-a.25 – Publish Public Notice of Final EIS and Public Comment Period

The WPSC must “…distribute a copy of the Final EIS to the same persons who received a copy of the Draft EIS above pursuant to P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(4)(c) and to any other person who requests a copy of the Draft EIS or comments on the Draft EIS. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(5)(b).

In addition, the WPSC “…must notify the public about the availability of the Final EIS in the manner specified for a Draft EIS pursuant to P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(4)(d) or by including a statement in a notice of hearing. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(5)(a).

Further, the WPSC must “…distribute copies of the Final EIS to the public and announce its availability at least thirty (30) days before it holds a public hearing on the proposed action. The review period required commences with the date a Final EIS is distributed.” P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(5)(d)(1).

The WPSC “…may shorten the public review period…” for cause. If the WPSC shortens the public review period, the WPSC must include its notice a statement calling attention to the reduced review period, and describing the reasons why the WPSC decided to shorten the review period. The WPSC may also grant reasonable requests to extend the public review period.” P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(5)(d)(2).

9-WI-a.26 to 9-WI-a.27 – Publish Notice of Public Hearing (If Applicable)

The WPSC must hold a public hearing on a proposed action for which it has prepared an EIS before making a final decision. The commission must hold the hearing at least thirty (30) days after publishing a notice of hearing and distributing the Final EIS under P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(5)(b). P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.50(1)(a)(1).

However, the WPSC may decide to reduce the review prior to hearing for cause, as provided in P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(5)(d)(2), as mentioned above. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.50(1)(a)(2).

The WPSC must publish notice of the public hearing in pursuant to 1 Wis. Stat. § 1.11 (2)(d). In addition, the WPSC must mail a notice of hearing to known interested persons and others specified pursuant to P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.30(4)(d), as mentioned above. P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.50(2)(a). In addition, the WPSC may require the applicant (developer) to “…to place one or more advertisements about the project and the public hearing in the news media.” P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.50(2)(b).

The commission must “…conduct the public hearing as a contested case proceeding, in accordance with 227 Wis. Stat. §§ 227.44-50.

At the hearing WPSC staff must offer the Final EIS into evidence. The WPSC staff must testify about the preparation of the Final EIS and the issues it identifies, and may provide other relevant information on the environmental aspects of the case that may have come to its attention. The WPSC must receive the Final EIS into evidence. The WPSC may also receive testimony at the hearing regarding the environmental aspects of the case and the content of the Final EIS.” P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.50(3).

9-WI-a.28 to 9-WI-a.29 – Final Order

The WPSC must issue a Final Order on the Final EIS. The WPSC must then “…distribute a copy of its order on the proposed action to each agency responding to the Draft EIS or the Final EIS, to each party to the proceeding and to any person who requests a copy.” P.S.C 4 Wis. Admin. Code § 4.50(4).


9-WI-a.30 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

Any person aggrieved by a state agency decision may within twenty (20) days after service of such order or decision file with the Division of Hearings and Appeals (“Division”) a written petition for rehearing pursuant to 227 Wis. Stat. §§ 227.49. An agency or the Division may only grant rehearing for those reasons set out in 227 Wis. Stat. §§ 227.49(3). In addition, any person aggrieved by a state agency decision that adversely affects the substantial interest of said person is entitled to judicial review by filing a petition in accordance with 227 Wis. Stat. §§ 227.52-53. The interested person must submit the petition for review within thirty (30) days after service of the order disposing of rehearing an application. 227 Wis. Stat. §§ 227.52-53.




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