Federal Bill Would Preempt Local Authority on Telecommunications Siting

A congressional committee advanced a bill recently that would streamline telecommunications infrastructure investments by preempting local control of siting decisions.

1 minute read

June 12, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Wireless Internet

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently marked up H.R. 3557, the American Broadband Deployment Act of 2023, which will preempt local control of wireless telecommunications facility siting.

An article by Angelina Panettieri, written for the National League of Cities, raises awareness about the consequences of the bill for local authority and criticizes the process that produced the bill’s form so far.

“When the committee held an initial hearing on broadband permitting streamlining, including a draft of the American Broadband Deployment Act, no state or local government was invited to testify. NLC and other local stakeholders highlighted the lack of local input, as well as the harms of communications infrastructure preemption for local governments,” writes Panettieri.

According to Panettieri, H.R. 3557 follows a recent pattern of federal and state laws that have undercut the authority of local governments, “from housing and ridesharing to minimum wage and telecommunications.” The impetus for H.R. 3557, according to Panettieri, comes from a desire to streamline planning processes to enable projects funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. According to Panettieri, permit process streamlining “has developed renewed interest as a policy focus for lawmakers from both parties and an opportunity for further preemption.”

Panettieri, who is the Legislative Director for Information Technology and Communications for the National League of Cities, urges local officials to call their congressional representative to oppose the bill.

Thursday, June 8, 2023 in National League Of Cities

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