It has been reported that a draft Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding the effects of communications towers on migratory birds is circulating among the Commissioners. In April of this year, it was reported that an NPRM on this issue was expected in the (then) near future. (See for example, TelecomWeb and BroadcastEngineering.) It’s now the end of September, and it seems this item is finally gaining traction, according to trade press reports. These reports indicate that Chairman Martin’s office is circulating a draft NPRM on the issue on among the FCC Commissioners. In 2003, the Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry on this matter under then-Chairman Michael Powell, and opened a proceeding as docket WT 03-187. Although the NPRM was not included on the agenda for this week’s Open Meeting, it seems the item is no longer on the back burner.
Together with the FAA’s current proceeding on requiring additional FAA applications when changes are made to communications towers (which we discussed in June, here), this new proceeding could make construction and modification of new towers more difficult. Parties interested in commenting in this proceeding should sharpen their pencils and update their data, to be prepared when the NPRM is actually released.