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Wireless
And Szal

Legislation introduced this week would require the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider proposed wireless infrastructure projects that are subject to federal environmental and historic reviews.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., announced the Reducing Antiquated Permitting for Infrastructure Deployments Act the same week that the FCC approved rules that exempted small cell installations from the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

The lawmakers said the measure would direct the FCC to "reexamine and revise" projects under NEPA and NHPA review within 180 days.

"The most responsible and effective way to close the growing digital gap is to grant broadband providers the opportunity to advance deployment projects without having to deal with unnecessarily complicated and duplicative federal mandates," Moran said in a statement.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who authored the sweeping rules revisions adopted Thursday, said the measure would "incentivize even greater broadband deployment, including in rural communities."

"This effort can help unleash next-generation innovation and increase broadband deployment for all Americans," Carr said in the release.

Industry group CTIA also voiced support for the RAPID Act. The wireless industry endorsed the infrastructure proposal before the FCC this week, but those changes drew opposition from Democratic lawmakers, environmental groups and tribal governments.

"The RAPID Act is a common sense measure directing the FCC to update its rules to keep pace with new technology and we look forward to its swift approval by both chambers," CTIA Government Affairs SVP Kelly Cole said in a statement.

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