The Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA), sec. 1.11, Wisconsin Statutes, was created by Chapter 274, Laws of 1971 and became effective on April 29, 1972. It is closely patterned after the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which was effective January 1, 1970. WEPA requires that all state agencies prepare environmental impact statements (EIS), which is a full disclosure document that provides an assessment of significant environmental impacts and reasonable alternatives considered in connection with the proposed action.
In addition, WEPA requires state agencies to study, develop and describe alternatives when a particular course of action involves unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources. In accordance with WEPA and the regulations of the Federal Council on Environmental Quality, the UW System has developed an Action Type List to assist in determining the need for an environmental impact statement. The three classifications
- WEPA Type I: Actions which require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
- WEPA Type II: Actions which may or may not require an EIS but must be evaluated by completing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
- WEPA Type III: Actions which do not require an EIS or EIA.