27
Apr
2004

Sign the petition and pledge your support to remove the illegal cell phone tower that overlooks Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

//www.bushgreenwatch.org

April 27, 2004

PARK SERVICE DIRECTORS SILENT AS CELL TOWERS GROW IN NATIONAL PARKS

Under the watch of the Bush Administration, construction of cell phone towers in America's national parks has proliferated. As controversies have developed, however, directors of the National Park Service have remained silent. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has charged the Park Service with failure to protect the special qualities of the parks, develop a coherent management plan for locating the towers, or follow Congressional instructions to both inform and accept comment from the public.[1]

Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, federal lands were opened to the placement of cell towers. However, Congress instructed the National Park Service to develop appropriate regulations for implementing the law [2], noting that that "the Washington Monument, Yellowstone National Park or a pristine wildlife sanctuary, while perhaps prime sites for an antenna and other facilities, are not appropriate and the use of them would be contrary to environmental, conservation, and public safety laws."[3]

Last month PEER protested the placement of a cell tower that actually overlooks Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. The group stated that the NPS increased the height of the tower after submitting the plan for review to the state of Wyoming. PEER said the NPS also failed to file a notice with the Federal Register that it was considering or approving the tower -- as required by law -- and in addition it failed to allow for public comment on the plan.

PEER Board member Frank Buono, a former National Park Service manager, suggested that to the park's managers, "commercial convenience matters more than protecting a public resource. The Old Faithful viewshed is one of the most recognized assets in our national park system, but it is being managed with all the care of a strip mall." The Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office has filed a complaint with the NPS.[4]

PEER is also concerned that the directors of the Park Service are not providing a coherent management plan to guide park managers. The NPS does not know the total number of all towers currently in the parks, or their locations. No formal policy defines appropriate tower heights, configurations or placements for park superintendents.

Further, the parks have been negligent both in notifying the public and providing for public comment about new tower applications, as required by law. Towers in the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Everglades National Parks, Big Cypress and Mojave National Preserves, as well as Yellowstone, have gone up with no public notification or review. Only one NPS unit, the George Washington Memorial Parkway in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, issued public notices for both new cell tower applications and environmental reviews.[5]

"Under the Bush Administration, the Park Service leadership team is sacrificing scenery and serenity," PEER's Chas Offutt told BushGreenwatch. "We're arguing for a sound, informed public policy that will uphold the scenic values of the parks, provide the solitude visitors expect, and guide park managers as they implement the law."

PEER has learned that of the 397 units of the National Park System, only one--the Golden Gate National Recreation Area--has adopted a cell tower management plan.

TAKE ACTION

Sign the petition and pledge your support to remove the illegal construction of a 100-foot cell phone tower that overlooks Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park through PEER's website: //ga3.org/ct/3dapneF1oBp2//.


SOURCES:
[1] PEER Press Release, Apr. 8, 2004,
//ga3.org/ct/e1apneF1oBpx/.
[2] Ibid.
[3] "Height of Yellowstone Cell Phone Tower Questioned,"
Preservation Online, Mar. 18, 2004,
//ga3.org/ct/37apneF1oBpw/.
[4] PEER Press Release, Mar. 9, 2004,
//ga3.org/ct/3papneF1oBps/.
[5] PEER Press Release, Apr. 8, 2004,
//ga3.org/ct/e1apneF1oBpx/.


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