FCC launches new tower siting system, reaches understanding on best practices with tribal group

The FCC last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United South and Eastern Tribes Inc. (USET) regarding the best practices of siting communications towers.

The Commission also put its new Tower Construction Notification System (TCNS) online last week. Together, the actions represent milestones on the path to implementing Chairman Michael Powell’s National Environmental Policy Act action plan, which was announced last May.

In their final draft stage, the best practices identify practical, voluntary methods the communications tower industry and USET Tribes can use to work together to preserve properties of religious and cultural significance to tribes. Twenty-four federally recognized Indian Tribes from Maine to Texas belong to USET, a non-profit inter-Tribal government organization.

The FCC’s new Tower Construction Notification System is intended to help those wishing to build towers and the Commission to determine when it is necessary to protect historic property or Tribal religious or cultural sites.

A goal of the new system is to provide Tribal and state agencies charged with historic preservation with timely notification of proposed tower construction. The system does not supplant the existing National Historic Preservation Act intra-government consultation process or existing antenna structure registration requirements. Rather, it is intended to help tower companies ensure that construction complies with federal, state, local and Tribal rules.

Tower companies, consultants, federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native Villages and Native Hawaiian Organizations are intended to use the new system. Those wishing to build a tower can submit electronic notification to the FCC, which will inform the appropriate tribes, villages or organizations, and response will be sent back to the submitter of the notification.

For more information please visit www.fcc.gov

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