Environmental, Geotechnical, Wetlands, Ecology, & Cultural Resources

Regulatory Summaries

ECA’s One Page Regulatory Summaries 

Learn the Regulatory Basics in About Five Minutes…

ECA provides insight on a variety of regulatory and compliance changes, trends, and issues that affect our clients. These articles are organized by industry below:

Telecommunications »
Wetlands / Ecology »
Environmental Property Services »


Telecommunication Articles

Court Overturns FCC Order that Removed Small Cells from NEPA and NHPA Review

In its Second Report and Order, effective July 2, 2018, the FCC amended Section 1.1312 of its environmental rules to clarify that the deployment of certain small wireless facilities by private parties does not constitute either a Federal undertaking within the meaning of NHPA or a major Federal action under NEPA. However, on August 9, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reached a decision that in its Second Report and Order, the FCC did not adequately address possible harms of deregulation. 

FCC Revises Procedures for Tribal Consultation

In order to streamline its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) review processes, the FCC will amend its procedures for tribal consultation on large wireless facilities that are proposed to be located off tribal lands and outside reservation boundaries. The FCC clarifies that, through its applicants, it has full discretion on how to fulfill its legal obligations to make good faith efforts to identify Historic Properties and to invite participation by tribes.

FCC Adopts New Exclusion for Pole Replacement

In cases where a federal undertaking has no potential to impact sensitive environments or historic properties, federal agencies may implement categorical exclusions to eliminate the need for certain NEPA and/or NHPA reviews. In the subject ruling, the Commission has crafted a categorical exclusion for replacement poles. It is important to note that the exclusion pertains solely to pole replacement and not to any collocation of antennas on the replacement pole.

FCC Revamps Collocation NPA to Provide Additional NHPA Exclusions

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) to consider the environmental and historic preservation consequences of its actions. On March 16, 2001, the FCC issued the first of two Nationwide Programmatic Agreements (NPAs). This 2001 NPA addressed Section 106 review of collocations and contained three main stipulations. On March 7, 2005, the FCC issued its second NPA, targeted to streamline and standardize Section 106 review of new and replacement tower structures. Additionally, on January 8, 2015, the FCC updated its NEPA/NHPA rules to facilitate the acceleration of broadband deployment.

Wireless Infrastructure Report and Order Summary

FCC FINDS NO GENERAL EXCLUSION FOR WIRELESS FACILITIES: On October 17, 2014 the FCC adopted its Wireless Infrastructure Report and Order providing wireless deployments relief from certain requirements of the NEPA and Section 106. Therein, the FCC declined to find that DAS and Small Cell deployments are not Undertakings. The FCC also found that DAS and Small Cell facilities did not qualify for a general exclusion from NEPA and/or NHPA, but instead opted for targeted exclusions.

Avoiding Delays Due to Osprey Nesting

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) are notorious for constructing nests on tower structures in coastal areas or near large bodies of water, for endangering tower climbers through aggressive behavior, and for causing deployment and maintenance delays.

Inside Towers: People Profile

Environmental Issues Don't Phase Marvin Webster. Marvin Webster, president and owner of Environmental Corporation of America, likes to say he is a technician. "I love the nitty-gritty detail of the science and of the regulations"

Environmental Notification Steps for Communication Towers

An ASR Applicant is required to provide notice at the local level (generally a publication in a newspaper of local general circulation) and national level.

Bald Eagle Nesting and Development Constraints

The USFWS National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines recommend specific buffer distances from bald eagle nests, community roosting sites, and foraging areas…The recommended buffers range from 330 feet to 660 feet. Some states recommend larger buffers.

EPA Regulations for Phase I ESA Effective November 1, 2006

According to AAI and ASTM E1527-05, information in prior Phase I ESAs that are older than 6 months may be used, but the Phase I ESA must be updated by the EP…On November 1, 2006, ASTM E1527-05 replaced the E1527-00 Standard that was in use since 2000.

Understanding the User Requirements of the New EPA All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) Rule

A Phase I older than 6 months requires substantial updates by the EP for the User to retain access to the CERCLA LLPs…According to AAI and ASTM E1527-05, information in prior Phase 1 ESAs that are older than 6 months may be used, but the Phase 1 ESA must be updated by the EP.

Understanding the FCC Nationwide Programmatic Agreement - Part 1

The NPA excludes from Section 106 review certain undertakings involving construction and modification…The NPA does not absolve applicants from evaluating other environmental review categories.

Understanding the FCC Nationwide Programmatic Agreement - Part 2

Section 106 Review: Field survey/photo-documentation is no longer necessary for all structures 50 years old or older as was customary prior to this new NPA…The applicant is required to perform an archaeological field survey unless there is evidence of previous ground disturbance at the project site.

State Wireless Associations Influence FCC "Three Strikes" Ruling

It is important to note that the clearance provided by the ruling only addresses cases referred to the FCC due to failure of Tribes to express an interest or lack of interest.

Collocation Requirements and the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement

The NPA contains specific criteria for determining when an effect is present or when more detailed historical assessments may be required.

The NEPA Checklist

Federal Communications Commission regulations (47 CFR 1.1307, et. seq.) require that owners of antenna structures consider the potential environmental effects of construction and operation of communications structures and facilities prior to construction.


Wetlands / Ecology Articles

Waters of the United States: Recent Changes and Permitting Basics

Under the Conforming Rule, some wetlands and streams that were considered WOTUS under previous rules may no longer be subject to federal jurisdiction.

How To Spot Wetlands From Miles Away in 3 Easy Steps

You want to stay clear of wetlands and waters that will result in infeasibility or drastically increase project costs and timelines before you spend thousands on other portions of your due diligence and design...


Environmental Property Services Articles

EPA Regulations for Phase I ESA Effective November 1, 2006

On November 1, 2006, ASTM E1527-05 replaced the E1527-00 Standard that was in use since 2000… According to AAI and ASTM E1527-05, information in prior Phase I ESAs that are older than 6 months may be used, but the Phase I ESA must be updated by the EP.

Asbestos in Georgia Buildings

Georgia EPD notification is required regardless of whether asbestos is present in a building…EPA regulations require that asbestos surveys and inspections be performed by AHERA Accredited Building Inspectors.


Marvin Webster, MES, REP
(770) 667-2040


Ben Salter, MS, REP, PWS
(828) 505-0755


Eric Johnson
(770) 667-2040


Dina M. Bazzill, MA, RPA
(770) 667-2040


Athulya Balakrishnan, M.Tech, P.E.
(770) 667-2040







Corporate Headquarters

Environmental Corporation of America
1375 Union Hill Industrial Court, Alpharetta, GA 30004
(770) 667-2040

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