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                    SEPARATE STATEMENT OF 
             COMMISSIONER JONATHAN S. ADELSTEIN

Re: In the Matter of Review of the Emergency Alert System, 
EB Docket No. 04-296. 

     Not only does Section One of the Communications Act of 
1934 make the Commission responsible for promoting the 
``safety of life and property through the use of wire and 
radio communication,'' it also charges the Commission with 
making communications available ``to all the people of the 
United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, 
color, religion, national origin, or sex.''  In this item, 
we take a few important steps toward satisfying these 
important statutory obligations, but there remains some 
heavy lifting to do very soon.

     I am pleased to support this item, as it expands the 
obligation to transmit Presidential-level emergency messages 
from analog broadcast and cable to include new distribution 
platforms - digital broadcast and cable, and satellite radio 
and television. Equally important, this item encourages the 
voluntary transmission of multilingual emergency information 
in areas where a significant proportion of the population 
has its primary fluency in a language other than English.  
Until the Commission has had an opportunity to examine this 
issue more fully, I strongly encourage all EAS participants 
to provide this important public safety service. 

     We cannot overemphasize the importance of disseminating 
emergency information in multiple languages.  In New Orleans 
alone, it is estimated that there were more than 50,000 
Spanish-speaking residents, and the only Spanish language 
station in the area was off-air before Hurricane Katrina 
even reached city limits.  It stayed off the air for the 
next seven days.  While all Gulf Coast broadcasters 
performed admirably - with great personal sacrifice - to 
provide news coverage to millions of households, some non-
English speaking households may have been left in complete 
darkness.  As set forth in Section 1 of the Communications 
Act, we have an obligation to address this problem.

     We must find ways to ensure that all households have 
access to emergency warnings and alerts in a language they 
understand and that EAS meets the needs of individuals with 
hearing and vision disabilities.  All of us at the 
Commission should closely review and consider the comments 
of interested parties, and engage broadcasters, minority and 
disability groups in a constructive dialogue with the goal 
of achieving a sensible consensus on multilingual emergency 
alert information and disability access. 

     In the past four years, this nation has experienced 
several disasters - Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the East 
Coast blackout and, of course, the September 11th terrorist 
attacks.  Noticeably unused during all of these disasters 
was the activation of EAS  an alert system intended to 
deliver Presidential-level messages only.  
     While these recent disasters have focused attention on 
ways to improve our national system, clearly, we also need 
to focus attention on the ability of state governments to 
access EAS facilities to transmit emergency information, 
warnings and alerts.  So it's critical that we're seeking 
comment on whether we should require EAS participants to 
transmit all EAS messages issued by the Governor of the 
state in which they provide services. Additionally, I am 
pleased we are seeking comment on how best to coordinate 
with state and local governments to help implement the 
expanded EAS rules we adopt today.

     A final highlight is our request for comment on the 
integration of new technologies, primarily wireless devices 
such as cell phones, pagers, and PDA's, into our current 
emergency response system.  We seek comment, for example, on 
the benefits and limitations of the delivery of emergency 
alert messages through text-based messaging delivered by SMS 
or cell broadcast.  While these technologies would 
complement, rather than replace, the current EAS, we should 
pay careful attention to practical implications for 
underserved and rural communities.  We should also consider 
alternative wireless technologies such as a proposal to take 
advantage of an existing wireless public alert service 
provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA).

     We are acting on this issue with the urgency it 
deserves.  Just last week, the Senate Commerce Committee 
approved legislation - the Warning, Alert, and Response 
Network (WARN) Act - to create an enhanced emergency alert 
system.  The WARN Act would finance the creation of an All 
Hazards Alert System to deliver emergency warnings and 
alerts across a variety of devices, including mobile phones 
and Blackberry devices.  While the National Program Office 
would be established within NOAA, the FCC along with 
National Institute of Standards and Technology and the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency would form a working 
group to develop this new, enhanced alert system and to 
prepare guidelines for the technical capabilities of the 
system.  The Act would also give governors access to 
broadcast a message in their respective States.

     I am pleased to support our decision to expand EAS to 
require, not just analog broadcast and cable, but also 
digital broadcast and satellite radio and television, to 
transmit national emergency warnings and alerts.  The heavy 
lifting will come when we consider multilingual emergency 
information dissemination, greater disability access, 
coordination with state and local governments, and the 
integration of new wireless technologies into EAS.  I thank 
the Chairman for his leadership on this matter, and I look 
forward to working with him and all of my colleagues on 
these and other EAS-related issues as quickly as possible.