FCC eases NEPA rules to help broadband; call for comments

The following was written by AFCCE FCC Liaison Don Everist:
Ben Dawson has made a cursory examination of WT Docket No. 13-238 (see 13-238 NR (10-20-14) ). He directs attention to Paragraphs 145 and 181 regarding replacement structures, etc. :
145. Section 6409(a) includes a number of undefined terms that bear directly on how the provision applies to infrastructure deployments. Below, we address the meaning of “wireless tower or base station,” “transmission equipment,” “collocation,” and “substantially changes the physical dimensions.”
181. We agree with Alexandria et al., however, that “replacement,” as used in Section 6409(a)(2)( C), relates only to the replacement of “transmission equipment,” and that such equipment does not include the structure on which the equipment is located.  (Alexandria et al. Comments at 31 (arguing that replacement of a tower is not a “modification” of it and that Congress knew how to address “replacement” when that was its intent).
Even under the condition that it would not substantially change the physical dimensions of the structure, replacement of an entire structure may affect or implicate local land use values differently than the addition, removal, or replacement of transmission equipment, and we find no textual support for the conclusion that Congress intended to extend mandatory approval to new structures. Thus, we decline to interpret “eligible facilities requests” to include replacement of the underlying structure.
Ben recommends that AFCCE consider a Petition for Reconsideration.  If you are so inclined please leave a comment or contact me.