Environmental Assessment

Project Introduction

The Waukegan Port District, owner of the Waukegan National Airport (UGN), is proposing to construct various airfield and landside improvement projects over the next several years, as depicted on the Sponsor’s Proposed Action Exhibit.  These improvements are to meet airport design requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  UGN is working with the FAA in the development of a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) to evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed development.  The DEA is required to follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was enacted by Congress and signed by President Nixon in 1970. NEPA is a US environmental law that promotes the enhancement of the environment and established the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). NEPA requires Federal agencies, such as the FAA, to assess the environmental effects of proposed Federal actions prior to making decisions. There are several levels of NEPA review such as a Categorical Exclusion, an Environmental Assessment, or an Environmental Impact Statement. The Waukegan Replacement Runway 5-23 Program will be reviewed as an Environmental Assessment. FAA guidance was used in the creation of this NEPA action (FAA Order 1050.1F – Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures and FAA Order 5050.4B – National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Instructions for Airport Actions)

Public Involvement

This Environmental Assessment Project Website provides everyone (airport users, local governments, commercial establishments, and most importantly the general public) information on the project and its status.  Public involvement is an important part of this process, and you can reach out through this website (Contact Us) to ask questions and provide comments about the project.  As environmental documents are prepared, reviewed, and accepted, they will be uploaded to this site for public review.

Early Coordination Letters

Early coordination of a project with resource agencies, project stakeholders and the public, will ensure an EA addresses the appropriate potential environmental resource impacts. Below please find links to Early Coordination Notification Letters that have been sent to potential Cooperating Agencies, Consulting Agencies, and Landowners in the Project Area.  The purpose of these letters is to notify everyone of this project and its forthcoming EA.  It is anticipated that certain environmental resources such as wetlands, floodplains, habitat for threatened and/or endangered species, and streams could be impacted by the proposed action. As a part of this early coordination process, we are seeking any comments on potential environmental concerns with the proposed improvements at UGN that should be addressed as a part of the EA.  Comments can be provided through the Contact Us links on this site.

Draft Environmental Assessment

An Environmental Assessment, as stated by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), is a ‘concise document’ that takes a ‘hard look’ at expected environmental effects of a proposed action.  FAA may prepare an EA on any action at any time to assist agency (FAA) planning and decision making (40 CFR 1501.3(b)).  The responsible FAA official uses the EA to meet the requirements of this Order (5050.4B) and NEPA as the basis for recommending the issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS).  FAA requires an EA to unconditionally approve an Airport Layout Plan (ALP) depicting a proposed runway at an existing airport that is not located in a Metropolitan Statistical Area or a request to use AIP funds to finance that project.  The Waukegan National Airport’s Replacement Runway Program anticipates using AIP funds for the development.

The normal format of an Environmental Assessment includes: a Purpose and Need Chapter; Alternatives Chapter; Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences Chapter; Public Outreach Chapter; and Reference Chapter.  A draft copy of the Environmental Assessment (DEA) will be available for public review and comment.

Environmental Assessment Download (Coming Here Soon)

Public Hearing Notice

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published public participation guidance in Order 5050.4B, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Implementing Instructions for Airport Actions, Paragraph 400. The paragraph states: “Like many infrastructure projects, most airport development triggers public interest, especially in those areas that would sustain development-related environmental impacts. It is through this public participation that Federal agencies disclose information about the proposed action, reasonable alternatives, and expected environmental effects. This participation also provides the Federal decision maker with information about issues most important to the public that the proposed action and its reasonable alternative(s) would affect.”

Based on the above FAA guidance, the Waukegan National Airport is preparing for a Public Hearing that will be held on the Draft Environmental Assessment. To notify the Public of the hearing, a Notice of a Public Hearing will be published once in the Lake County News-Sun, a local secular newspaper of general circulation in the County of Lake. The Notice will be published in both English (EN) and Spanish (SP). The Public Hearing Notice will include the date, time, and public hearing location. The Notice of a Public Hearing will be available for download below.

Public Hearing Notice coming soon

Draft Environmental Assessment Viewing Locations

The Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) can be downloaded from this website and will be available for review by Federal, State, and Local agencies and especially by the General Public. However, for those in the Waukegan National Airport community who have limited and/or no access to the Internet, several paper copies will be available in the area for review. Paper DEA’s will be located in government buildings (i.e., libraries, city/village offices) and will be accessible for review during normal business hours at those locations.

Internet downloading of the DEA tremendously reduces the amount of paper used in the NEPA process and continues the Airport’s theme on sustainable actions. Paper DEA’s will be available for review, thirty days prior to the public hearing and fifteen days after the public hearing.  DEA comments can be sent electronically to the Project Website Comment email and/or sent via US Postal Service to the Airport Address listed on the Contact Us page. To be included in the record of the public hearing, all comments must be received before 5:00 PM Central Time on the fifteenth day after the Public Hearing. Comments sent via USPS must be received on or before the fifteenth day after the Public Hearing.  Comments received after these dates will not be included in the record.

DEA Viewing Locations coming soon

Public Hearing Process

The Public Hearing Process is a method to provide the community with a way to find information on the Waukegan National Airport’s Replacement Runway Program and to express their opinion on the development.

The Public Hearing Process is conducted in two areas within the Public Hearing Venue.  The initial area is the Open House/Workshop area. Here, Airport Staff and preparers of the Draft Environmental Assessment are available for the public to ask questions.  Paper copies of the DEA will be available for review.  Large specific exhibits of certain environmental resources, such as noise maps, wetland maps and the like will be available for viewing by public hearing participants.  Forms will be available for the public to express their written comments regarding the project.

The second area of the Public Hearing Process is the Public Hearing Room. In this area, verbal testimony will be taken.  A Public Hearing Officer will moderate the room and a Court Reporter will be available to take testimony and create a record of the proceedings. Those wishing to give verbal testimony in the Public Hearing Room will need to complete a public hearing form.  The form will be used by the Hearing Officer to call on those wishing to testify on a first come, first speak basis.

Post-Public Hearing Process

After the Public Hearing has been held, the record for submission of comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment will be held open for fifteen days after the public hearing. During this time, written comments can be submitted either through the Comments link of the Project Website. Comments can also be submitted through the mail to the Airport’s address found on the Contacts page.

All electronic comments need to be received by 5:00 PM on the fifteenth day after the public hearing.  Comments sent through USPS must be received by 5:00 PM on the fifteenth day after the public hearing. Comments received after these times will not be included on the record.

Contact Us

General Contact Waukegan National Airport
Address: 2601 Plane Rest Drive, Waukegan, IL 60087
Phone: 847-244-0055

Submit Questions and Comments Environmental Assessment Project Team
Email: WaukeganEAComments@projectpublicmeeting.com