Friday, March 23, 2018
FCC Says “Nope” to NEPA and “See Ya” to SHPO
The FCC vote yesterday to exempt most small cell infrastructure siting from National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review was contentious. The vote was 3-2 and security removed two protesters from the Commission meeting room during the discussion.
The changes are for small cells not located on Tribal lands. They clarify and improve the process for Tribal participation in the historic preservation process for large wireless facilities where NHPA and NEPA review is still required. The order removes the requirement that applicants file Environmental Assessments solely due to the location of a proposed facility in a floodplain, as long as certain conditions are met. It establishes a timeframe for the FCC to act on environmental assessments.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr said the changes will save the wireless industry time and money and help the U.S. lead in 5G. O’Rielly said they would eliminate “unnecessary delays and outrageous” siting fees. Some Tribes are using tower and antenna siting “as a cash cow” while others receive payments, but then don’t respond to the providers that are submitting applications, he said. Continue Reading