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Applying for an Environmentally Sticky Tower Site? Read This

FCC lays out environmental impact certification expectations in Wyoming decision

The FCC issued a 22-page decision (PDF) this week settling a tower siting case involving White Park Broadcasting. The document offers one of the most — if not the most — thorough explanation that I’ve seen of what the commission expects applicants to do when seeking a construction permit for a tower site that can possibly have an environmental impact or affect on an historic property or tribal land.

The commission expects applicants in these cases to fill out Form 620, the New Tower Submission Packet and research areas that may be adversely affected by the construction.

White Park of Wyoming was proposing to locate three FM antennas — for KBEN, Basin, KWHO, Cody and KROW, Lowell — on a tower to be built on a mountain. White Park said the construction would not have a significant environmental impact; but Legend Communications of Wyoming opposed the applications, alleging White Park had not verified the accuracy of its certification.

White Park got its CPs but was admonished for false certification for not properly backing up its environmental certifications. (You can read details in a blog entry by broadcast attorney Harry Cole of Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth, who also writes RW’s Cole’s Law column.)

With this decision, the commission has laid down a roadmap for applicants seeking tower CPs for areas that have environmental assessment requirements. It’s now crystal-clear what the FCC expects for certification in these types of case, another legal source told me.