John Latson

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This article will explore why the FCC’s current regime on categorical exclusions is ill-prepared for the developing mega-constellation industry, why the regime should be revised to require that companies launching mega-constellations file an Environmental Assessment (EA) as defined in the National Environmental Policy Act, and how such a change might fiscally impact these companies. Part II of this article will explore the National Environmental Policy Act, discussing the purpose of the Act and the goals Congress sought to accomplish. Part III will consider the FCC’s policy on categorical exclusions and EAs, with a comparison of how some other federal agencies navigate their categorical exclusions and EA policies. Part IV will discuss why, in certain circumstances, satellites should no longer be categorically excluded from environmental assessment and why the FCC should instead require the applicant company to submit an EA in those circumstances. Finally, Part V will examine the economic and fiscal impact such a change may have on companies already expending vast amounts of money on mega-constellation projects, as well as the impact on those companies with portions of their mega-constellations already in orbit.

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