WASHINGTON—It apparently won't be all smooth sailing to a second term for FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, as Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.) has announced that he has placed a hold on O’Rielly’s nomination until the commissioner publicly commits to overturning the Ligado Order.
The Ligado Order refers to a modification to satellite communications company Ligado’s L-band spectrum license, which Inhofe says will allow them to operate at a power level that testing and studies prove causes significant interference with GPS and satellite communications. The FCC’s proposed mitigation strategies, Inhofe claims, are not practical or adequate.
Inhofe says that he has made several attempts to raise the issue on how the Ligado order would negatively impact the military and other GPS users since the FCC approved the order in April.
“I understand that O’Rielly has stated that he would give ‘due consideration to stay’ ‘based on new data or evidence’—but that isn’t enough,” Inhofe said. “I need his commitment in plain English to vote to overturn the order, not just consider it, before I will allow his nomination to proceed.”
O’Rielly’s nomination has already been approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, and now awaits a vote by the full Senate. As of publication, O’Rielly has made no comment in response to Inhofe.
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