Rep. Lucas fears too much power would fall into hands of FCC in new Act


Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas isn’t so sure about a new congressional act he contends would give too much power to the Federal Communications Commission.

Lucas, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee came out against H.R. 1338, the Satellite Telecommunications Streamlining Act. He said he supports the idea of seeking ways to streamline and quicken licensing processes for commercial space operations.

“However, this bill goes beyond that and also includes a significant and unprecedented grant of authority to the FCC, explicitly directing the agency to issue rules related to both ‘space safety and orbital debris’ that applicants must comply with to obtain a license for use of FCC-controlled spectrum,” said Rep. Lucas.

“This would be equivalent to allowing the FCC to regulate the design and operations of tractor-trailers simply because the driver uses a CB system that uses FCC-controlled spectrum.”

Lucas’ full statement is available here.

Rep. Brian Babin, who chairs the Space 7 Aeronautics Subcommittee also opposes the act.

“I share the goal of shortening and streamlining the licensing process for satellites on orbit,” Babin said in his statement.

“However, I’m concerned that H.R. 1338 goes beyond the task of streamlining this process and instead grants FCC additional authorities for which it is not suited and would be duplicative of authorities at other agencies. There is no doubt that FCC has sole authority of licensing spectrum. However, HR 1338 would provide authorities to FCC on topics such as space safety and orbital debris. These would be new topics for FCC, and I am concerned that an unintended consequence would be to instead lengthen the time it takes for FCC to issue licenses.”

Read a bipartisan Dear Colleague letter from Chairman Lucas, Chairman Babin, Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren, and Ranking Member Eric Sorensen opposing the bill.

Source: Lucas release