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Washington Gas Light

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Released: July 22, 2014
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-1007

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of

)

)

Washington Gas Light

)

File Nos.:

EB-10-CF-0209; EB-FIELDNER-

)

13-00006816

Antenna Structure Registrant

)

NAL/Acct. No.:

201132340003

Springfield, Virginia

)

FRN: 0016494148

ASR # 1035329

)

FORFEITURE ORDER

Adopted: July 22, 2014

Released: July 22, 2014

By the Regional Director, Northeast Region, Enforcement Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.

We impose a penalty of $10,400 against Washington Gas Light (Washington Gas) for

violations of the Commission’s antenna structure rules. The Enforcement Bureau alleged that Washington

Gas failed to exhibit required lighting on its antenna structure, notify the Federal Aviation Administration

(FAA) immediately of the lighting outage, and inform the Commission regarding its purchase of the antenna

structure. Washington Gas does not dispute the violations, but requests a forfeiture reduction because it

purportedly notified the FAA of the lighting outage prior to the Enforcement Bureau’s investigation and

has a history of compliance with the Commission’s rules. While we are not persuaded that Washington

Gas notified the FAA of the lighting outage in a timely manner, we find that its history of compliance

warrants a forfeiture reduction.

2.

Specifically, we issue a monetary forfeiture to Washington Gas, owner of antenna structure

number 1035329 in Prince Frederick, Maryland (Antenna Structure), for willfully and repeatedly violating

Sections 17.48, 17.51(a), and 17.57 of the Commission’s rules (Rules).1

II.

BACKGROUND

3.

On September 1, 2011, the Enforcement Bureau’s Columbia Office (Columbia Office)

issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Washington Gas proposing a $13,000

forfeiture against it for apparent violations of the Commission’s antenna structure rules.2 In its NAL

Response, Washington Gas does not dispute the NAL’s findings, but claims that a reduction in the

proposed forfeiture is warranted because it eventually notified the FAA of the Antenna Structure light

outage and has a history of compliance with the Rules.3

III.

DISCUSSION

4.

As Washington Gas does not deny any of the facts stated in the NAL, we affirm the

NAL’s findings and conclude that Washington Gas willfully and repeatedly violated Sections 17.48,

17.51(a), and 17.57 of the Rules by failing to: (1) exhibit required lighting on the Antenna Structure, (2)

1 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.48, 17.51(a), 17.57.

2 Washington Gas Light, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 26 FCC Rcd 12640 (Enf. Bur. 2011) (NAL). A

comprehensive recitation of the facts and history of this case can be found in the NAL and is incorporated by

reference.

3 Washington Gas Light, Request for Reconsideration (rec. Oct. 5, 2011) (on file in EB-FIELDNER-13-00006816)

(NAL Response).

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Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-1007

immediately notify the FAA of the Antenna Structure lighting outage, and (3) inform the Commission upon

a change in ownership of the Antenna Structure.

5.

The proposed forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in accordance with Section

503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act),4 Section 1.80 of the Rules,5 and the

Forfeiture Policy Statement.6 In examining Washington Gas’s NAL Response, Section 503(b)(2)(E) of

the Act requires that the Commission take into account the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of

the violation and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses,

ability to pay, and other such matters as justice may require.7 We have considered Washington Gas’s

NAL Response in light of these statutory factors and find that reduction of the forfeiture is warranted based

solely on its history of compliance with the Rules.

6.

Washington Gas requests a forfeiture reduction because it purportedly notified the FAA of

the lighting outage prior to the Enforcement Bureau’s investigation.8 Although the Commission will

generally reduce a forfeiture based on good faith corrective actions taken by a violator, we find no such

basis to reduce the forfeiture against Washington Gas.9 The Rules require antenna structure owners to

“immediately” report lighting outages lasting longer than 30 minutes to the FAA.10 By its own admission,

Washington Gas knew about the lighting outage by October 15, 2010, but did not notify the FAA until

October 19, 2010.11 This delay undercuts Washington Gas’s good faith compliance efforts claim. In

addition, the record indicates that Washington Gas had not reported the lighting outage until after the

Columbia Office agent inspected the Antenna Structure and contacted the FAA.12 We have repeatedly held

that corrective action taken to come into compliance with the Rules is expected, and such corrective

action does not automatically nullify or mitigate prior violations or associated forfeiture liability.13 We

therefore decline to reduce the forfeiture against Washington Gas based on its late notice to the FAA of

the lighting outage at its Antenna Structure.14

7.

Washington Gas also requested a reduction in the forfeiture amount due to its overall

history of compliance with the Rules.15 We have reviewed the Commission’s records and concur that

4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).

5 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.

6 The Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the

Forfeiture Guidelines, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recons. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999)

(Forfeiture Policy Statement).

7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(E).

8 See NAL Response at 4.

9 See, e.g., Catholic Radio Network of Loveland, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 29 FCC Rcd 121 (Enf. Bur. 2014); Argos

Net, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 28 FCC Rcd 1126 (Enf. Bur. 2013); LawMate Tech. Co., 27 FCC Rcd 15159 (Enf. Bur.

2012).

10 47 C.F.R. § 17.48.

11 NAL, 26 FCC Rcd at 12641, para. 5.

12 See id. at 12640–41, para. 3 (noting that no Notice to Airmen had been issued for the Antenna Structure lighting

outage by the time the Columbia Office agent contacted the FAA on October 19, 2010).

13 See, e.g., Mattoon Broad. Co., Forfeiture Order, 29 FCC Rcd 2925, 2926, para. 5 (Enf. Bur. 2014); Argos Net, 28

FCC Rcd at 1127, para. 4.

14 See Int’l Broad. Corp., Order on Review, 25 FCC Rcd 1538 (2010) (“To reduce the forfeiture as requested would

be to reward postponement of compliance with the Rules until after a Commission inspection. We find such an

approach contrary to the public interest.”).

15 See NAL Response at 4.

2

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Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-1007

Washington Gas has not been previously cited with a violation of the Rules. Accordingly, we reduce the

proposed forfeiture to $10,400 based on Washington Gas’s history of compliance.

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

8.

Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Act and Sections

0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, and 1.80(f)(4) of the Rules, Washington Gas Light IS LIABLE FOR A

MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of ten thousand four hundred dollars ($10,400) for

violations of Sections 17.48, 17.51(a), and 17.57 of the Rules.16

9.

Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in Section 1.80 of the

Rules within thirty (30) calendar days after the release date of this Forfeiture Order.17

If the forfeiture is

not paid within the period specified, the case may be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for

enforcement of the forfeiture pursuant to Section 504(a) of the Act.18

Washington Gas Light shall send

electronic notification of payment to NER-Response@fcc.gov on the date said payment is made.

The payment must be made by check or similar instrument, wire transfer, or credit card, and must include

the NAL/Account Number and FRN referenced above. Regardless of the form of payment, a completed

FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be submitted.19 When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the

Account Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID) and enter the letters “FORF” in block number

24A (payment type code). Below are additional instructions you should follow based on the form of

payment you select:

Payment by check or money order must be made payable to the order of the Federal

Communications Commission. Such payments (along with the completed Form 159) must be

mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-

9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank – Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-

GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.

Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank

TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001. To complete the wire transfer and ensure

appropriate crediting of the wired funds, a completed Form 159 must be faxed to U.S. Bank

at (314) 418-4232 on the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.

Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit card information on

FCC Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159 to authorize the credit card payment.

The completed Form 159 must then be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O.

Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank –

Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO

63101.

10.

Any request for making full payment over time under an installment plan should be sent

to:

Chief Financial Officer—Financial Operations, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th

Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C.

20554.20 If you have questions regarding payment

procedures, please contact the Financial Operations Group Help Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by

e-mail, ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov.

16 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80(f)(4), 17.48, 17.51(a), 17.57.

17 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.

18 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).

19 An FCC Form 159 and detailed instructions for completing the form may be obtained at

http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form159/159.pdf.

20 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.

3

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Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-1007

11.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Forfeiture Order shall be sent by both

First Class Mail and Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to Washington Gas Light at 6801

Industrial Road, Springfield, VA 22151, and to its counsel, Alan Tilles, at Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy,

and Ecker, P.A., 12505 Park Potomac, Potomac, MD 20854.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

G. Michael Moffitt

Regional Director, Northeast Region

Enforcement Bureau

4

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