Defending scenic, historic values at Idaho’s Redfish Lake
1st of Sep 2022
Today, Advocates for the West filed a Petition for Environmental Review with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect scenic and historic values from a proposed 195-foot commercial cell tower on a ridge overlooking Idaho’s iconic Red Fish Lake.
We filed the petition on behalf of the Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association and the Idaho Conservation League in response to a proposal by AT&T to construct the new cell tower on state-owned land within the boundaries of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, historic sites, and scenic vistas would all be negatively impacted by the cell tower. At three times the height of surrounding trees, the proposed tower will protrude above the landscape, impacting the views of this iconic area that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy every year.
In July 2022, Advocates for the West and our partners learned that the controversial proposal to build the new cell tower appears to be moving forward despite public opposition and indications that AT&T might abandon its proposal. The cell tower was originally pitched under the guise of improving emergency communications in the area, but AT&T now now seeks to build a standard commercial cell tower at the same site in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
Under the Federal Communications Commission’s rules for environmental review, anyone may petition for review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of any proposed cell tower that may pose significant environmental impacts and may be otherwise categorically excluded from NEPA review.
Because it may have significant impacts on the environment and the National Register of Historic Places-eligible Red Fish Lake Lodge Complex, and because better alternatives may exist to minimize visual and other impacts of the proposed tower, Advocates for the West and our partners are urging a full and public environmental analysis.