FCC Fines Fort Myers Broadcasting $20,000 For Failing To Follow Environmental Review Procedures

The FCC has entered into a Consent Decree with Fort Myers Broadcasting Company and issued a $20,000 fine to resolve an investigation into whether the company began clearing land to construct a new cellular tower before completing a required environmental review as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

The decree states that in July and August 2020, Fort Myers Broadcasting “engaged a series of independent contractors to perform the required environmental review, antenna structure registration procedures, and construction for a proposed wireless communications tower within a designated critical habitat of the endangered Florida bonneted bat in Punta Gorda FL”. During the ASR application and environmental review process, the company admitted to preconstruction activities prior to gaining the approval by clearing vegetation in the area before applying for the ASR. The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunication Bureau has since concluded the review and authorized construction of the the tower.

The FCC states that “FMBC violated the Environmental and ASR Rules by failing to complete the requisite environmental review and antenna structure registration processes before initiating construction of the Punta Gorda Tower. Specifically, it failed to initiate and complete the environmental review of whether the proposed tower could have a significant effect on the environment or may affect listed threatened or endangered species prior to clearing land within the critical habitat. The Bureau and FMBC entered into a tolling agreement to toll the statute of limitations and negotiated the terms of the Consent Decree.”

Fort Myers Broadcasting Company owns WINK-TV Fort Myers, AC 96.9 WINK-FM Fort Myers, Spanish CHR “97.7 Latino” WTLQ-FM Punta Rassa and two translators in the Fort Myers market.

This story first appeared on radioinsight.com