An industry friendly bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives that says the FCC does not need to perform any environmental review for 5G and cell antenna deployment under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The bill, HR 6488, will undo last years historic ruling that vacated the FCC’s decision to do away with NEPA review of small cell deployments. Representative John Shimkus of Illinois introduced the bill which has now been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Natural Resources.
This bill would directly reverse the August 2019 decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which halted the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to expedite the deployment of 5G technology. The FCC had issued an order in March 2018 eliminating environmental and historic preservation review of so-called 5G cell towers. The FCC had reasoned that even though the industry planned to deploy as many as 800,000 of these 50-foot (possibly taller) towers in neighborhoods and historic districts around the country by 2026, it was not in the public interest to review their potential impacts. The Natural Resources Defense Council, several Native American Tribes and Environmental Health Trust’s attorney appealed this regulation and won. In 2019 the Court found that the FCC had failed to adequately address possible harms of its deregulatory efforts and the benefits of environmental and historic preservation review. Read EHT’s press release here.
This 2020 bill seeks to reverse that historic win.
What can you do?
Take action and contact your representative. Tell your representative what you think about stripping environmental review from the 5G deployment process.
Here’s the link to the bill:
H.R.6488 – To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide that the Federal Communications Commission is not required to perform any review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 or division A of subtitle III of title 54, United States Code, as a condition of permitting the placement and installation of a communications facility, and for other purposes.