11.18.2003 12:00 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
NAB, CTIA file comments with FCC opposing change to rules protecting birds

The NAB and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) have jointly filed comments with the FCC urging the Commission to refrain from revising its rules to expand protection for migratory birds from death or injury that may result from communications towers.

The NAB and the CTIA say the FCC should refrain from revising its rules to expand protection for migratory birds from death or injury that may result from communications towers. Both groups argue that more information is needed before making any adjustments to the rules.

The comments filed Nov. 12 contend that “the science regarding the effects of communications towers on the mortality of migratory birds does not support a revision of the FCC’s current regulations at this time.” In August, the Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry into whether a need exists for greater protection of migratory birds from the hazard of communications towers.

The 143-page document filed by the associations argue that no change is required for four reasons:

  1. The National Environmental Policy Act is not germane to tower design and siting because they are not “major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.”

  2. The scientific literature on the matter shows towers are not a “significant” cause of avian death.

  3. “The fragmentary and inconclusive” information on the topic does not satisfy the legal requirements for regulatory action.

  4. The Commission should delay any consideration of regulatory action until science better examines the issue and develops the literature about communications towers and bird mortality.

The comments called the Commission's efforts to consider regulatory revision “premature” and “futile” until science provides a clearer idea of the issue. Further, the associations argued even if the FCC had legal authority to require an analysis of communication siting and design on a case-by-case basis that doing so would be “administratively burdensome.” Additionally, they contended that the Commission lacks expertise in this area.

Together the members of both associations own, lease or operate tens of thousands of communications towers nationwide, the comments said, adding, “these communications towers are essential for providing advanced telecommunications and broadcast services, not only for entertainment, personal and business communications, but also for emergency communications, emergency alerts and for homeland security purposes.”

For more information, please visit: www.nab.org/Newsroom/PressRel/Filings/migratoryfiling11-12-03.pdf.

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