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A scope statement was published on September 9, 2010.
An environmental analysis is not part of the Ch. 227 Wis. Stat. rulemaking requirements, but is something controlled by the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA) codified in s. 1.11 Wis. Stats. and Ch. NR 150 Wis. Adm. Code.
Currently, the DNR is required to do an environmental analysis when rules are classified as Type I or Type II action. However most rules are classified as Type III because of the way statutes are written, so no environmental analysis is required. The rulemaking process is significantly lengthened when an environmental analysis is required.
Retooling the environmental analysis process has the potential to improve the Ch. 227 rule-making process because the analysis will provide additional data and a standard methodology for rulemaking. However, this comes at the cost of lengthening the rulemaking process and putting the power to delay in the hands of the DNR.
The 1970 Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA), codified as Wis. Stat. Sec. 1.11.
Chapter NR 150 of the administrative code would be repealed and replaced.
The proposed rule will require that the DNR:
- Identify and analyze environmental issues important for their geographic, multidisciplinary, or policy scope;
- Analyze issues earlier, when alternative options have not been foreclosed, and on an ongoing basis;
- Provide that environmental analysis information be incorporated into departmental policy and decision-making;
- Define and provide meaningful public involvement;
- Address the information/policy-driven requirements of s. 1.11(2)(e) and (h) as separate from the action/project-driven requirements of s. 1.11(2)(c);
- Identify and eliminate process requirements that have become duplicative over time as a result of changes in statutory authorities and administrative practice; and
- Replace the current Ch. NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code type list with criteria for identifying, prioritizing, analyzing, and seeking public input on relevant issues.