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Ellen Paul

FCC seeks comments on tower registration environmental assessment

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in American Bird Conservancy, Inc. v.

FCC (2008) determined that the FCC has not adequately evaluated the potential effects that its current

ASR program has on threatened and endangered species and migratory birds. The court further stated that the Commission could begin its evaluation of these effects with a PEA. In addition, the court required the Commission to provide notice of pending ASR applications that would ensure meaningful public involvement in the agency’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures.

In partial response to the court’s decision, the FCC has prepared and sought comment on draft procedures designed to help ensure that the environmental effects of proposed communications towers, including their effects on migratory birds, are fully considered prior to construction.

 

The draft procedures, if adopted, would require:

 

Applicants for new tower registration to provide a 30-day opportunity for public comment on the

environmental effects of the proposed construction; and

 

On an interim basis, pending completion of environmental review of the ASR program,

preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposed tower more than 450 feet (137

meters) in height to address its potential impact on migratory birds.

 

 

The Proposed Action consists of reviewing the existing ASR Program and NEPA compliance procedures to evaluate their effects on migratory birds and other environmental resources, in compliance with the 2008 court decision. Because of the nature of the projects under the ASR Program and in response to the 2008 court decision, this PEA primarily focuses on potential impacts to migratory birds.

 

[Editorial note: in other words, they are asking you to comment on their intention to review their current programs - Antenna Registration and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. That's all they intend to do. This isn't about tower height, structure, lighting, location, etc. They don't intend to determine the actual impact of telecommunications on migratory birds. They intend only to review the effects of these two procedural programs on mig birds. "The purpose of the Proposed Action is to examine how potential environmental impacts are evaluated as part of the ASR Program and associated NEPA review and documentation. To ensure that the FCC complies with its obligations under NEPA, there is a need to consider whether the current program should be revised to require applicants to provide more comprehensive evaluations of potential impacts on resources, especially migratory birds." Because you know that you always want the people who stand to benefit from doing the activity to be the ones to assess its potential impact].

 

The draft PEA is attached.

 

 

Comments Due: October 3, 2011

All comments must be submitted in WT Docket No. 08-61 and WT Docket No. 03-187 (for

electronic comments) or must reference both WT Docket No. 08-61 and WT Docket No. 03-187 (for paper comments). All comments regarding this document should be submitted as follows.

 

Electronic comments (preferred): http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/

 

U.S. Postal Service

Mailed paper comments: Secretary

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20554

 

Commercial Overnight

Mailed paper comments: Secretary

Federal Communications Commission

9300 East Hampton Drive

Capitol Heights, MD 20743

 

Messenger-delivered or Hand-delivered paper comments:

FCC Headquarters

445 12th Street, SW

Room TW-A325

Washington, DC 20554

(All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any

envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building. The filing hours are

8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.)

DA-11-1455A1.pdf

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