BBC Broadcasting tells FCC it’s dropping appeal

By Meg Olson

Members of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Towers are celebrating what they hope is the end of their long battle to stop the construction of a radio tower farm on the Point.

“This is great news!” said Mark Robbins, a coalition member and president of the Point Roberts Taxpayers Association.

In a declaration filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) November 12, BBC Broadcasting Inc. president Bagh Singh Khela stated the company did not intend to continue its appeal of Whatcom County’s refusal to allow the project to go ahead.

On October 7 a superior court judge in Skagit County upheld the decision by the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner to deny BBC’s application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to build an array of five 150′ radio towers on the corner of Tyee Drive and McKenzie Way. The hearing examiner’s decision hinged on height restrictions, and the lack of county code that would exempt a radio tower from those restrictions. The company has until November 30 to appeal that decision.

“In theory, they could still change their mind but this looks pretty final to me,” Robbins said.

The declaration was filed as part of supplemental information the company submitted in support of their application to renew its FCC broadcast license. The renewal has been pending since 2013, faced with a formal objection filed by the Point Roberts Taxpayers’ Association and several informal objections from opponents of the project.

BBC Broadcasting is asking for “dismissal of all petitions to deny and informal objections” to its license so that it can continue to operate the Punjabi radio station KRPI from its current location in Ferndale.

“Attorneys to the radio station have complained we’re pursuing this as a back door to oppose their construction permit (which was approved by the FCC in 2009),” Robbins said. “Our argument is, they are separate issues. The connection is that in our investigation to oppose the construction permit and the CUP we found information that their broadcast license shouldn’t be renewed.”

There are two arguments in the taxpayers’ association’s petition to deny the license. “We feel they have been essentially alien-controlled,” Robbins said, referring to the Canadian station Sher-E-Punjab. “There’s ample evidence they still are.”

In addition, “They have demonstrated a lack of candor” in their submissions to the FCC and the county, Robbins said. For example, engineering documents did not acknowledge the existence of Tsawwassen on the other side of the border, indicating that the closest town was Ladner.

“We believe they should not be entitled to a license,” Robbins said. “We share the radio station’s view the issue of the license renewal should be resolved, but we stand by our objections.”

  1. As a founding member of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers I can say unequivocally that we are not celebrating just yet. The so called ‘declaration’ by BBC B Inc is in fact a Supplemental Statement of BBC Broadcasting Inc. to the FCC.
    It is a non legally binding request to persuade the FCC that BBC B Inc “intends” to stop appealing any legal action in Whatcom County if BBC can be assured that their Broadcasting License renewal will be approved by FCC. This Supplemental Statement also requests that all Informal Objections be thrown out. A very tall order.
    In fact there is a deadline of Nov 30th for any appeals to be filed in Skagit County and unless and until that deadline passes without any more appeals, then and only then will The Coalition, Point Roberts and Tsawwassen be able ‘Celebrate’ and be assured the Radio Tower Farm will not be built in Point Roberts. Our fight against the radio towers has 3 prongs: FCC: fight the BBC Broadcasting Inc’s Broadcast license renewal, Whatcom County: fight the Federal CUP from allowing BBC to construct the radio tower because it violates Point Roberts special district code on height limitations and our Character Plan. CRTC: furthering investigations of violations by Sher E Punjab creating Canadian content, advertising, assessing taxable income while broadcasting across an International Border under the US broadcasting license of BBC Broadcasting Inc. This last prong is more difficult and complex but once the Nov 30th deadline passes we will reach out to the newly elected Canadian politicians for a meeting to discuss this very subject.
    The Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio towers has continued to fight BBC Broadcasting Inc on every avenue possible and we still have a balance due to our lawyers and a payback of loans from the Coalition by its members to ensure the case moved forward without interruption. There will be a final bill from our Washington DC lawyers who deal specifically with the FCC. While some results look promising thus far the bills must be paid at the end of each month. We rely on your generosity to complete this task.
    Go to: http://notowers.webs.com to help us pay off our bills and loan. Thank You

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