FCC > WTB > Tower/Antenna Siting Issues > Environmental Compliance

Environmental Compliance for Tower Siting

National Environmental Policy Act

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 a significant impact on historic properties.

Compliance Information

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 4/5/2011.