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FCC Streamlines Tower Siting; Signs Tower Agreement With Native Americans

FCC Streamlines Tower Siting; Signs Tower Agreement With Native Americans

Streamlined tower siting procedures for communications towers are completed, so says the FCC, which now has also signed an agreement regarding tower siting with federally-recognized Native American tribes and Alaska Native Villages, as well as Native Hawaiian Organizations. Both the Native Americans and the FCC have signed a “Memorandum of Understanding”. The agency also launched a new Internet-based tower construction notification system.
The agreement with the tribes and the best practices that it envisions will serve as a model for other potential cooperative efforts with tribes nationwide, stated the agency.
Chairman Powell stated, “The FCC strives to ensure that everyone has access to basic and advanced telecommunications services. Native Americans must be a part of this technological revolution. At the same time, we must ensure that communications services are deployed consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act mandates to protect valuable historic and environmental resources, including tribal sites of cultural importance.”
The new communications Tower Construction Notification System will help the commission and the parties it regulates in determining when protection of an historic property, Tribal religious site, or cultural site is necessary.
“By providing early notification of proposed tower construction, this new Tower Construction Notification System will increase communication between the commission, tower builders, and the communities where the towers are located,” stated Powell. “It will also improve compliance with the commission’s rules and streamline the review process for tower construction.”
The purpose of the new system is to provide tribal and state historic preservation entities with early notification of proposed communications tower construction. The new system is not intended to supplant the existing government-to-government consultation process with federally-recognized Tribes or antenna structure registration requirements, but rather is a tool to assist tower companies and others involved with towers in ensuring that construction complies with all applicable federal, state, local, and tribal rules.
The new notification system allows anyone proposing to build a tower to submit a voluntary, electronic notification to the FCC about the proposed tower construction. The commission will then provide this information to the relevant entities, which will have access to the system, and may through the secure, electronic system, submit responses to the notification that will be sent electronically back to the notifier.