RE: VIOLATION OF FCC ENVIRONMENTAL RULES
Dear Ms. Weinreich:
This letter pertains to our findings that Pinellas County failed to comply with the Commission’s regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969(NEPA) and other federal environmental statutes, as well as related licensing and antenna structure registration (ASR) rules and the rule requiring truthful and accurate statements. The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has determined that Pinellas County violated Sections 1.17, l.923(e), l.929(a)(4), 1.947(a), l.1307(a)(4), 1.1307(a)(6), 1.1308(a), 1.1311 (a), 17.4, 90.5, and 47 CFR Pt.I, App. C of the Commission’s rules by constructing and operating from five public safety radio towers in Pinellas County, Florida, including two in flood plains, before completing the required environmental and historic preservation review. By this letter, we apprise Pinellas County of the implications of failing to comply with Commission regulations in the future.
Under the Commission’s rules, an applicant must consider, prior to initiating construction or deployment, whether the facility it proposes to build or use may have a significant effect on the environment. If so, the applicant must prepare an EA in accordance with the Commission’s rules. Specifically, an applicant must prepare an EA if the proposed facility meets any of several criteria specified in the Commission’s rules, including construction that may affect properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and construction in a floodplain, and it may not begin construction until the Commission’s environmental processing is completed. The Commission’s ASR rules also place a separate obligation to submit an EA with an ASR application if an EA is required under the Commission’s environmental rules. Furthermore, if a facility that may have a significant environmental impact is to be constructed to provide service pursuant to a license in the wireless radio services, its construction is considered a major modification of the license. The application for this modification must be approved by the Commission prior to construction and operation.