. . . to Allow Local Governments Adequate Time to Respond to Wireless Equipment Rule Changes, Amid COVID-19 Response
Re: WT Docket No. 19-250: FCC Implementation of State and Local Governments’ Obligation to Approve Certain Wireless Facility Modification Requests Under Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012
June 2, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Twenty-four Democratic Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter today to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to delay a vote on a Declaratory Ruling that would limit local governments‘ role in the deployment of wireless infrastructure. The Declaratory Ruling would grant companies the right to expand existing cell sites without any regard to local processes and potential conflicting priorities, which would be especially harmful right now given the ongoing challenges that local governments face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC is currently scheduled to vote on the Declaratory Ruling on June 9.
The Members wrote:
“We are especially troubled by the burden responding to this Declaratory Ruling will place on local governments that are rightfully focused right now on combatting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Likewise, we worry that if this Declaratory Ruling does not benefit from meaningful input from local governments, the result could undermine municipalities’ ability to balance their responsibilities to public safety and community design with their desire to ensure access to affordable wireless networks and the next generation services.”
This letter follows an April request by Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and other House Committee Chairs calling for immediately extending public comment deadlines across the federal government in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Members continued:
“We believe such a delay is further warranted as local public servants and elected officials are filling the void left by their federal counterparts. These local officials cannot be expected to conduct a meaningful review and respond to an item of this nature within the very limited time provided by the FCC. If local governments are forced to respond to this Declaratory Ruling instead of focusing on their public health and safety responses, it very well may put Americans health and safety at risk.”
The letter was signed by Pallone, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL).
To read the letter, click HERE.