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Technology
USET signs 'best practices' agreement with FCC


The United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday to protect sacred sites that may be affected by cellular phone towers.

At USET's annual impact week meeting in the Washington, D.C., area, USET President Keller George and FCC Chairman Michael Powell signed the "best practices" agreement. The first of its kind, the two leaders said they hoped it would serve as a model for tribes nationwide.

"Since USET's first meeting with Chairman Powell in September 2002, we have been impressed with his firm commitment to addressing tribal concerns,� said George. "Rarely, have I seen a federal agency come so far so fast on issues of importance to tribes."

"The FCC strives to ensure that everyone has access to basic and advanced telecommunications services. Indian Country must be a part of this technological revolution," said Powell. "At the same time, we must ensure that communications services are deployed consistent with the NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] and the NHPA [National Historic Preservation Act] mandates to protect valuable historic and environmental resources, including tribal sites of cultural importance."

The MOU provides guidance to tribes, cell tower companies and telecommunications companies to ensure protection of important sites. As part of the agreement, USET and FCC will support an electronic database and notification system to keep tribes aware of proposed tower locations in geographic areas of interest to them. The system will also keep FCC informed of tribal interests.

For more information on FCC activities affecting Indian Country, visit http://www.fcc.gov/indians.

Relevant Documents:
MOU | Public Notice