It is very frustrating to me that the federal government is holding up the project to connect public institutions across the state with broadband using EAGLE-Net Alliance (ENA). Evidently ENA had previously completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) and had a green light to go ahead with the project, but now the project has been put on hold by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant office because of concerns by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Evidently, ENA did not receive approval from the NTIA for its partially implemented new design which put it in violation of its Environmental Special Award Condition (EASAC) even though ENA has submitted supplemental Environmental and Historic Preservation (EHP) documentation.
The NTIA lists several concerns: adequacy of an EA that meets the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the satisfaction of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and finally, properly secured permits from other federal agencies including but not limited to the USDA-Forest Service (USDA-FS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Federal Communications Commission (FAA).
In the meantime ENA is sitting on its hands and the cost to the taxpayer is going up every day, not to mention that students around the state are still deprived of broadband service. It seems to me that there are a lot of agencies and bureaucrats that don't know what each is doing and are costing us taxpayers a lot of wasted money. When are we going to say enough is enough and take our country back?
J. Paul Brown
Former state representative