by Gary Taylor
The FCC’s November order establishing a “shot clock” under which state and local governments must review and act upon tower siting requests (link to previous blog posts here) has been challenged by several government entities. Five groups – The National League of Cities, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the National Association of Counties, the United States Conference of Mayors, and the American Planning Association, filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the FCC and requested that the FCC stay the effective date of the new shot clock rules. If the FCC does not stay the entire decision, however, the groups alternatively request that the FCC stay the requirement that state and local governments have 30 days to notify applicants that their filings are incomplete. The groups argue that the FCC exceeded its authority under Section 332(c)(7) of the 1996 Telecommunications Act when it created 30-day rule. The groups’ requests have been opposed by cell tower and wireless communications associations.
On January 14 the city of Arlington, Texas appealed the FCC’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. According to the city, the FCC exceeded its authority when it adopted the shot clock requirements, and the FCC’s decision is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise contrary to law. A number of cities, most recently including Portland Oregon two days ago, have joined Arlington in the lawsuit.