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House Science Committee Leaders Request FCC Delay Rulemaking on Orbital Space Debris

Apr 14, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Babin, and Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairwoman Kendra Horn sent a letter requesting that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) delay on their Proposed Rulemaking in the matter of Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age. 

The Science Committee Members raised a number of concerns with moving forward on the rule, including the timing of the action during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the immense effort undertaken to recover from the pandemic, and the potential for the FCC’s proposal to exacerbate impacts on U.S. industry and international competitiveness at a critical period in our nation’s history, we hope that you will agree to postpone future action,” the letter reads. 

The letter also raises substantive concerns with the rule itself, the rulemaking process, and the potential for regulatory and legislative inconsistency, noting significant concerns from stakeholders. 

“The proposal contradicts Executive Branch policy and is inconsistent with existing and proposed legislative action,” the letter states. “Regulatory action by the FCC at this time, without clear authority from Congress, will at the very least create confusion and undermine the Commission’s work, and at worst undermine U.S. economic competitiveness and leadership in space.”  The letter also mentions that FCC action could duplicate efforts at the Department of Commerce. 

The full text of the letter is available here.

Issues: 
116th Congress