Cell Towers and Migratory Birds

Center for Sustainable Economy (formerly Forest Conservation Council) and its co-plaintiff American Bird Conservancy won a major legal battle in their eight year campaign to protect migratory birds at cell towers authorized by the Federal Communications Commission. On February 19th, 2007 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an opinion vacating a 2006 Order by the FCC denying CSE and ABC’s 2002 petition seeking environmental review and mitigation of over 6,000 cell towers illegally authorized in the Gulf Coast region. The Court agreed with petitioners that the FCC’s Order violated the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act. Importantly, the ruling opens the door to public participation in the cell tower authorization process, mitigation of cumulative impacts, and consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when proposed towers jeopardize endangered birds.