Public Service Towers and the FCC reached a deal to settle an investigation into whether the Georgia company violated agency rules by building a wireless facility before completing required environmental and historic reviews. The company agreed to pay a civil penalty of $16,000.
“In the spring of 2018, PS Towers engaged an independent contractor to plan and manage the construction of a proposed wireless facility in Georgia (Georgia Tower), including completion of the required environmental and historic preservation reviews,” noted the Enforcement Bureau in the consent decree adopted Friday. The contractor then hired an environmental consultant to ascertain whether the Georgia Tower would significantly affect the environment.
In May 2019, the consultant notified the Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau that PS Towers constructed the Georgia tower prior to completing the environmental and historic preservation reviews, according to the document. The FCC began a probe and determined that PS Towers told the Commission it did indeed, complete construction by late April 2019, before completing the required reviews.
The FCC stated: “The evidence in the record shows that PS Towers violated the Environmental Rules. Specifically, PS Towers failed to comply with tribal notification procedures and failed to obtain a concurrence of no adverse effect from the State Historic Preservation Office prior to breaking ground on the wireless facility. PS Towers also failed to review the potential for adverse effects to jurisdictional waters of the United States, FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Areas, and species and critical habitats protected by the Endangered Species Act.”
PS Towers and the FCC then began negotiations resulting in their deal, which ends the investigation. The Commission agreed, without new evidence, it won’t use facts developed in the case to begin a new proceeding or set a hearing for PS Towers’ basic qualifications as an FCC licensee.
In exchange, PS Towers admits liability and agrees to pay the monetary penalty. The company will hire a compliance officer within 30 days and develop a compliance plan to prevent a recurrence. PS Towers also agrees to report any future non-compliance as well as steps taken to mitigate the damage, and file regular compliance reports with the Commission.