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The Birds! The Birds!

FCC is asked for expedited action by wildlife defenders in the tower vs. birds debate

The migratory bird people are back with a vengeance in the debate over whether communications towers kill migratory birds and negatively affect the environment.

The FCC is looking for people to comment on a petition for expedited rulemaking “and other relief” from the American Bird Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife and National Audubon Society.

They want the commission quickly to adopt new rules — rules they say are necessary to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

This relates to the long-simmering issue of whether towers, their lights or their guy wires kill birds. Environmentalists say they do. We’ve covered this issue in Radio World several times; and broadcast engineers I’ve talked to about it say they’ve never or rarely seen a dead bird at a tower site, despite anecedotes about large kills.

The commission first studied the issue under Chairman Michael Powell, then took that a step further by initiating a proceeding under Chairman Kevin Martin.

Comments to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau are due May 29. Be sure to reference WT Dockets WT 08-61 and WT 03-187.