This article provides information on filing an Environmental Assessment (EA) in the Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) system. An EA must be submitted if the antenna structure may have a significant environmental impact as defined by Section 1.1307 of the Commission’s rules.
Filings that Require an Environmental Assessment (EA)
An Environmental Assessment (EA) is required:
- If the facilities will be located in an officially designated wilderness area, a wildlife preserve area, or a flood plain.
- If the facilities may physically or visually affect a property significant in American history that is listed, or is eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places, as determined in accordance with the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement or the Collocation Programmatic Agreement.
- If the facilities may affect Indian religious sites.
- If the facilities may affect listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitats; or are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any proposed endangered or threatened species or likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitats.
- If construction of the facilities will involve significant change in surface features (e.g., wetland fill, deforestation or water diversion).
- If the facilities will be equipped with high intensity white lights and will be located in a residential neighborhood (as defined by the applicable zoning law).
- If the facilities will cause human exposure to levels of radiofrequency radiation in excess of limits defined by the Commission.
- If the facilities will be taller than 450 feet above ground level (AGL).
- If the processing Bureau determines in response to a petition or on its own motion that the proposed facilities may have a significant environmental impact.
What to Include in an Environmental Assessment (EA)
- A description of the facilities as well as supporting structures and appurtenances, and a description of the site as well as the surrounding area and uses. If high intensity lighting is proposed or utilized within a residential area, the EA must also address the impact of lighting upon the residents.
- A statement as to the zoning classification of the site, and communications with, or proceedings before and determinations (if any) made by zoning, planning, environmental or other local, state or federal authorities on matters relating to environmental effect.
- A statement as to whether construction of the facilities has been a source of controversy on environmental grounds in the local community.
- A discussion of environmental and other considerations which led to the selection of the particular site and, if relevant, the particular facility; the nature and extent of unavoidable adverse environmental effects, and any alternative sites or facilities which have been or might reasonably be considered.
- A discussion of the effects that the facilities may have on the environment with respect to all of the categories identified in Section 1.1307(a) and (b). If the structure will be taller than 450 feet above ground level, this discussion must also include the effects that the facilities may have on migratory birds.
Note: If you determine an Environmental Assessment (EA) is necessary after filing an antenna structure registration application and the filing is still pending, you may amend your application to add an EA, but doing so will trigger a new Environmental Notice.
Additional details can be found in Sections 1.1308 and 1.1311 of the Commission's rules, and by reviewing the Commission’s Environmental Assessment Checklist.
Confidential Submissions Related to an Environmental Assessment (EA)
Documents containing sensitive information can be submitted using the Confidential attachment type. For example, identified and documented sites that are of cultural or religious significance to Tribes or Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs), or sites containing archaeological materials that may be vulnerable to looting, may be confidential.
After an Environmental Assessment (EA) is Filed
After an application with an EA has gone on notice and the processing bureau has had the opportunity to review the submission, the bureau will either issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), require supplemental information to be submitted as part of the EA, or determine that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is necessary.
Finding of No Significant Impact: A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is issued when the agency’s environmental review finds that a project will have no significant impact on the quality of the environment. After the bureau issues a FONSI, the applicant may complete Part 2 of the Form 854 filing and certify that there is no significant environmental impact.
Environmental Impact Statement: Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the preparation of a detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for any “major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment . . .” If an EIS is required, the Commission rather than the applicant will prepare it. In preparing the EIS, the Commission must consult with any other federal agency with jurisdiction or expertise over any environmental impact involved. The EIS will address in detail:
- The environmental impact of the proposed action;
- Any adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented;
- Alternatives to the proposed action;
- The relationship between local short-term uses of the human environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity; and
- Any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved in the proposed action should it be implemented.