Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District: Letter to FCC on proposed Brockway cell tower location

[Editor's Note: The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to request that FCC deny the Environmental Assessment (EA) File A0909673 -- concerning the proposed cell tower location on Brockway Mountain -- on the basis that applicant SBA and its agents failed to Consult in Good Faith. The following is an excerpt from their letter.]

From: Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District
Aug. 19, 2014
Reprinted here in part with permission

To: The Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554

Re: ASR Filing 40909673,
Application for Antenna Structure Registration on Brockway Mountain, Keweenaw County, MI

PETITION TO DENY A0909673

The mission of the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District is "To advise and assist the people of Houghton and Keweenaw Counties to wisely manage and use our natural resources through education, information, technical assistance and land stewardship." Therefore, in order to serve our community,uphold our mission, and to protect Brockway Mountain, a local, state and nationally recognized resource of significant natural, historic, cultural and economic importance, the Board of Directors of the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District requests that you reject the Environmental Assessment (EA) File
A0909673 on the basis that SBA and its agents failed to Consult in Good Faith.

The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District discussed the EA for A0909673 at our regular monthly board meeting on July 29,2014. While our board and most constituents support providing cell service for residents, visitors and public safety, we know that this proposed cell tower will have a significant negative impact on Brockway Mountain and the Keweenaw Coastal Wildlife Corridor. We also know, as do our constituents, that the Copper Harbor area can obtain cell service without defacing Brockway Mountain. Therefore, on July 29, 2014, the Board of the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District unanimously passed a resolution for a Petition to Deny A0909673 on the grounds that SBA Failed to Consult in Good Faith.

The Role of the FCC

The FCC should carefully consider the content and not just the packaging of the EA. While it may satisfy your required "check-list," you will note, as we have, that the hundreds of pages of detail conflict with what is summarized by SBA.

The FCC should check SBA's facts. Many so-called "facts" are false.

The FCC has done a disservice to the Keweenaw Coastal Wildlife Corridor and Brockway Mountain by defining the scope of the EA for 40909673 narrowly and ignoring the impact of running electricity up bedrock of the Brockway Mountain Drive into a pristine area.

The FCC approved the SBA towers for Delaware and Medora and these towers were constructed in 2A12-2013. These towers were also positioned as necessary for public safety. However, these towers to date have not been turned on and are doing nothing for public safety even though they have been standing for more than a year.

The FCC by now understands that our Community has been trying to both communicate the negative impact of a cell tower on Brockway Mountain and to share alternatives for over two years. Many of these people live and work locally and have better things to do with their time than research technical cell tower issues and document and explain scientific, cultural and historical information when their day jobs end. The Community has funded an engineering study to try and present factual information to SBA to work collaboratively on mutually beneficial solution. We know there are alternatives and you should too.

To date the Community's communication and ours has fallen on deaf ears, but it is not too late for the FCC to listen and reverse this ill-conceived plan to deface Brockway Mountain. ...

Note: The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District requests that concerned citizens attend the regular Keweenaw County Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Aug. 20, at the County Courthouse in Eagle River.

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