FCC > WTB > Tower/Antenna Siting > Environmental and Historic Preservation

Environmental and Historic Preservation

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires all Federal agencies to implement procedures to make environmental consideration a necessary part of an agency's decision-making process. As a licensing agency, the Commission complies with NEPA by requiring Commission licensees and applicants to review their proposed actions for environmental consequences. FCC rules implementing NEPA are found at Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1, Subpart I, rule sections 1.1301 to 1.1319. If a licensee's proposed action falls within one of the categories listed in section 1.1307, section 1.1308(a) requires the licensee to consider the potential environmental effects from its construction of antenna facilities or structures, and disclose those effects in an environmental assessment (EA) which is filed with the Commission for review. The Commission solicits public comment on the EAs and assists its licensees in working with the appropriate local, state, and federal agencies to reach agreement on the mitigation of potential adverse effects. The filing of an EA is required when a proposed facility may have an a significant on historic properties.

The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in 1966 is one of the federal environmental statutes implemented in the FCC's NEPA rules. Under the NHPA, federal agencies are required to consider the effects of federal undertakings on historic sites. Commission licensees and applicants must comply with NHPA procedures for proposed facilities that may affect sites that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This process includes consultation with the relevant State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) to whether the proposed facility may create an adverse effect on an eligible or listed historic property. Other regulations that define the process have been promulgated by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and may be found at 36 C.F.R. Part 800, Subpart B.

Nationwide Programmatic Agreement

On October 5, 2004, the Commission entered into a Nationwide Programmatic Agreement with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers regarding the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Review Process. For more information see,

NEPA & NHPA Compliance

Collocation Programmatic Agreement

On March 16, 2001, the Commission, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) entered into a nationwide programmatic agreement to streamline procedures for review of antenna collocations under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 U.S.C. ss 470 et seq. Under the programmatic agreement, most collocations on existing structures are exempted from the procedures set forth in the ACHP rules. The programmatic agreement is intended to relieve unnecessary administrative burdens on the Commission's licensees, tower construction and management companies, State Historic Preservation Officers, and the Commission, while protecting the goals of the NHPA.


The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Mass Media Bureau announce the Release of a Fact Sheet Regarding the March 16, 2001 Antenna Collocation Programmatic Agreement
pdf - text - Word
FactSheet: pdf - text - Word


Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Announces Execution of Programmatic Agreement with respect to Collocating Wireless Antennas on Existing Structures
pdf - text - Word
News Release: html - text - Word
Agreement: text - pdf - Word
Statement of Commissioner Tristani: html - text - Word

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Issues

Section 1.1307(a)(3) of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §1.1307(a)(3), requires applicants, licensees, and tower owners (Applicants) to consider the impact of proposed facilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. s. 1531 et seq. Applicants must determine whether any proposed facilities may affect listed, threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats, or are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any proposed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats. Applicants are also required to notify the FCC and file an environmental assessment if any of these conditions exist. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) provides information that Applicants may find useful regarding compliance with the ESA.

In addition, FWS has formulated and published voluntary guidelines for the siting of towers intended to address potential effects on migratory birds. These guidelines and an accompanying tower site evaluation form are posted at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bird Issues. According to FWS, the guidelines reflect FWS’ judgment of “the most prudent and effective measures for avoiding bird strikes at towers.”

Non-Federal Representative Status

On July 9th, 2003, the Commission sent a designation letter to the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), allowing Commission licensees, applicants, tower companies and their representatives to act as non-federal representatives for purposes of consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1543). This designation was made pursuant to 50 C.F.R. § 402.08.

Last reviewed/updated on 11/24/2006.