The NAB and tower groups are joining with wildlife advocates in calling on the FAA to look into whether steady red obstruction sidelights can be safely eliminated from towers after decades of use.
Writing to the FAA are the American Bird Conservancy, CTIA – The Wireless Association, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense, National Association of Broadcasters, National Audubon Society, National Association of Tower Erectors and PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association.
They pointed out that the list includes leading environmental and communications infrastructure organizations. They asked the FAA to do a “conspicuity study” to see if steady red obstruction sidelights can be safely eliminated where now prescribed.
The FCC has been seeking comment on effects of towers on migratory birds. The groups told aviation regulators that they’ve been talking in a “mutual effort to open a dialogue related to avian tower safety,” and recently asked the commission to extend its time for comments, as reported here at the time. The FCC granted that extension.
The organizations said the FAA has reported increased bird deaths at towers using red steady lights even while also requiring towers that have red obstruction or dual lighting systems to use steady red obstruction sidelights at various intermediate levels. The requirement to use steady red sidelights dates back more than three decades, they noted.