On May 10, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comments on ways to streamline its NEPA review procedures for wireless network infrastructure projects. The notice specifically addressed changing the scope of reviews to encompass more actions in each review and establishing additional categorical exclusions.
On March 22, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission adopted an order exempting small wireless facilities from NEPA review. This is not the same as a categorical exclusion. In this order, the Federal Communications Commission determined that these infrastructure projects do not constitute a “major action,” and thus are not subject to any type of NEPA analysis, including the categorical exclusion process.