The FCC issued a $16,000 fine against a Georgia vertical realtor aligned with an FCC licensee on Friday, after its site development contractor’s environmental consultant firm informed the agency that a new tower was erected prior to completing environmental and historic preservation reviews.
Public Service Towers (PS Towers) of Reynolds, Georgia, according to the FCC’s order, in the spring of 2018 hired an unnamed contractor to manage the construction of a tower in Georgia whose location was also unidentified in the consent decree.
In May 2019, the contractor’s environmental firm became aware that the contractor had constructed the tower without completing the environmental and historic preservation review and informed the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
The Commission’s Spectrum Enforcement Division opened the investigation.
PS Towers acknowledged on October 15, 2019 that it had completed construction of the tower by late April 2019, before completing the requisite reviews.
The FCC found that 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.
They also identified that PS Towers 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.
Since a consent order may not be negotiated with respect to matters which involve a party’s qualifications to hold an FCC license, the FCC said that in terminating their investigation they would not be reviewing PS Towers’ license status.
The FCC is also requiring PS Towers to set up a compliance training program and provide reports to the FCC for the next three years.