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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Washington Gas Light Antenna Structure Registrant
Springfield, Virginia ASR # 1035329 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) File No.: EB-10-CF-0209
NAL/Acct. No.: 201132340003 FRN: 0016494148
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Adopted: August 31, 2011 Released: September 1, 2011
By the District Director, Columbia Office, Northeast Region, Enforcement
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
that Washington Gas Light ("Washington Gas"), owner of antenna
structure registration ("ASR") number 1035329 in Prince Frederick,
Maryland, apparently willfully and repeatedly violated sections
17.51(a), 17.48, and 17.57 of the Commission's rules ("Rules")^ by
failing to: (1) exhibit all red obstruction lighting from sunset to
sunrise; (2) immediately notify the Federal Aviation Administration
("FAA") of a known extinguishment of any flashing obstruction
lighting; and (3) immediately notify the Commission upon a change in
ownership information. We conclude that Washington Gas is apparently
liable for a forfeiture in the amount of thirteen thousand dollars
2. Antenna structure number 1035329 (the "Antenna Structure"), located at
8950 Hallowing Point Road in Prince Fredrick, Maryland, is 502.8 feet
above sea level and is required to exhibit marking and red obstruction
lighting from sunset to sunrise.^
3. On October 19, 2010, in response to a complaint, an agent from the
Enforcement Bureau's Columbia Office ("Columbia Office") inspected the
Antenna Structure number 1035329 during daytime hours and observed
that the tower was properly painted. A nearby property owner who was
working at the antenna structure site informed the agent during the
inspection that the antenna structure's top beacon light had been
unlit for at least a month. The agent contacted the FAA later that day
and was informed that no Notice to Airmen ("NOTAM") had been issued
for the light outage. When the agent determined that the name listed
in the Commission's ASR database was incorrect and the new owner had
not yet been identified, the agent followed up with the FAA and a
NOTAM was issued at the agent's request that same day. On October 20,
2010, the agent returned to the antenna structure site during evening
hours and confirmed that the top beacon was unlit.^
4. On October 21, 2010, after determining that the tower is owned by
Washington Gas, the agent spoke to a representative of Washington Gas,
who confirmed that Washington Gas owns the Antenna Structure. The
Washington Gas representative advised the agent that Washington Gas
also notified the FAA of the light outage on October 19, 2010.
5. On December 7, 2010, the Columbia Office issued a Letter of Inquiry
("LOI") to Washington Gas seeking additional information about the
light outage and confirming ownership of the antenna structure.^ In
response to the LOI, Washington Gas confirmed that it purchased the
Antenna Structure in September 2010 and that it did not file updated
ownership information with the Commission until December 9, 2010.^
Additionally, Washington Gas stated that a construction worker at the
site notified them on October 15, 2010 that the top beacon was unlit
and that they notified the FAA of the light outage on October 19,
2010.^ Washington Gas also reported that the entire lighting system
was replaced the week of December 9, 2010.^
6. Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"),^
provides that any person who willfully or repeatedly fails to comply
substantially with the terms and conditions of any license, or
willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with any of the provisions of
the Act or of any rule, regulation or order issued by the Commission
thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture penalty. Section
312(f)(1) of the Act defines willful as the "conscious and deliberate
commission or omission of [any] act, irrespective of any intent to
violate" the law.^ The legislative history to section 312(f)(1) of the
Act clarifies that this definition of willful applies to both section
312 and 503(b) of the Act^ and the Commission has so interpreted the
term in the section 503(b) context.^ The Commission may also assess a
forfeiture for violations that are merely repeated, and not willful.^
The term "repeated" means the commission or omission of such act more
than once or for more than one day.^
7. Section 17.51(a) of the Rules requires all red obstruction lighting to
be exhibited from sunset to sunrise unless otherwise specified.^
Section 17.48 of the Rules requires that owners of registered antenna
structures that have been assigned lighting specifications report
immediately by telephone or telegraph to the FAA any observed or
otherwise known extinguishment of any flashing obstruction light not
corrected within 30 minutes.^ On October 20, 2010, an agent from the
Columbia Office observed that the top beacon on antenna structure
number 1035329 was not lit after sunset. In response to the LOI,
Washington Gas admitted that it learned of the light outage on October
15, 2010, but did not notify the FAA of the outage until October 19,
2010. Thus, based on the evidence before us, we find that Washington
Gas apparently willfully and repeatedly violated sections 17.51(a) and
17.48 of the Rules by failing to exhibit the top red beacon on the
Antenna Structure number after sunset and by failing to notify the FAA
immediately of a known light extinguishment.
8. Section 17.57 of the Rules requires that the owner of an antenna
structure immediately notify the Commission using FCC Form 854 upon
any change in structure height or change in ownership information.^ In
response to the LOI, Washington Gas reported that it purchased the
Antenna Structure on September 1, 2010 and that it filed an FCC Form
854 on December 9, 2010. Because Washington Gas failed to notify the
FCC of a change in the structure's ownership until December 9, 2010,
we find that Washington Gas apparently willfully and repeatedly
violated section 17.57 of the Rules.
9. Pursuant to the Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and section
1.80 of the Rules, the base forfeiture amount for: (1) failure to
comply with prescribed lighting and/or marking is $10,000; and (2)
failure to file required forms or information is $3,000.^ In assessing
the monetary forfeiture amount, we must also take into account the
statutory factors set forth in section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, which
include the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the
violations, and with respect to the violator, the degree of
culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other
such matters as justice may require.^ Applying the Forfeiture Policy
Statement, section 1.80 of the Rules, and the statutory factors to the
instant case, we conclude that Washington Gas is apparently liable for
a total forfeiture in the amount of $13,000.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and sections 0.111, 0.311,
0.314 and 1.80 of the Commission's rules, Washington Gas Light is
hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the
amount of thirteen thousand dollars $13,000 for violations of sections
17.51(a), 17.48, and 17.57 of the Rules.^
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to section 1.80 of the
Commission's rules within thirty days of the release date of this
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, Washington Gas Light
SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a
written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed
12. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by credit card, check or
similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal Communications
Commission. The payment must include the Account Number and FRN
referenced above. Payment by check or money order may be mailed to
Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO
63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to U.S. Bank -
Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St.
Louis, MO 63101. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number
021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account number 27000001. For
payment by credit card, an FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be
submitted. When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the NAL/Account
number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and enter the letters
"FORF" in block number 24A (payment type code). Requests for full
payment under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial
Officer -- Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625,
Washington, D.C. 20554.^ If you have questions regarding payment
procedures, please contact the Financial Operations Group Help Desk at
1-877-480-3201 or Email: ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov. Washington Gas Light
shall also send electronic notification on the date said payment is
made to NER-Response@fcc.gov.
13. The written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the
proposed forfeiture, if any, must include a detailed factual statement
supported by appropriate documentation and affidavits pursuant to
sections 1.80(f)(3) and 1.16 of the Rules.^ Mail the written statement
to Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Northeast
Region, Columbia Office, 9200 Farm House Lane, Columbia, Maryland
21046 and include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption.
Washington Gas also shall e-mail the written response to
14. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner submits:
(1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2)
financial statements prepared according to generally accepted
accounting practices ("GAAP"); or (3) some other reliable and
objective documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner's
current financial status. Any claim of inability to pay must
specifically identify the basis for the claim by reference to the
financial documentation submitted.
15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture shall be sent by both Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested, and regular mail, to Washington Gas Light, 6801 Industrial
Road, Springfield, VA 22151.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
^ 47 C.F.R. S 17.47(a)(1), 17.48(a), 17.51(a) and 17.57.
^ See Antenna Structure Registration Database, Registration Number
1035329. See also 47 C.F.R. S 17.21 (generally requiring towers exceeding
200 feet in height to be painted and lit).
^ At the time of the inspection, the agent also observed that the side
lights at the one-quarter level, the side-lights at the three-quarter
level, and the beacon at the one-half level were lit.
^ Letter from Salomon Satche, District Director, Columbia Office, to
Washington Gas Light, dated December 7, 2010.
^ Letter from Orlando Spencer, Communications Architect, Washington Gas
Light, to Salomon Satche, District Director, Columbia Office, dated
January 24, 2011.
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b).
^ 47 U.S.C. S 312(f)(1).
^ H.R. Rep. No. 97-765, 97^th Cong. 2d Sess. 51 (1982) ("This provision
[inserted in section 312] defines the terms `willful' and `repeated' for
purposes of section 312, and for any other relevant section of the [A]ct
(e.g., section 503).... As defined ... `willful' means that the licensee
knew that he was doing the act in question, regardless of whether there
was an intent to violate the law. `Repeated' means more than once, or
where the act is continuous, for more than one day. Whether an act is
considered to be `continuous' would depend upon the circumstances in each
case. The definitions are intended primarily to clarify the language in
sections 312 and 503, and are consistent with the Commission's application
of those terms ...").
^ See, e.g., Application for Review of Southern California Broadcasting
Co., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991) ("Southern
California Broadcasting Co.").
^ See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359, 1362 P 10 (2001) ("Callais
Cablevision, Inc.") (proposing a forfeiture for, inter alia, a cable
television operator's repeated signal leakage).
^ Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S 312(f)(2), which also applies
to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under section 503(b) of
the Act, provides that "[t]he term `repeated', when used with reference to
the commission or omission of any act, means the commission or omission of
such act more than once or, if such commission or omission is continuous,
for more than one day."
^47 C.F.R. S 17.51(a).
^47 C.F.R. S 17.48(a).
^47 C.F.R. S 17.57.
^ The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section
1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, Report and
Order, 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997) ("Forfeiture Policy Statement"), recon.
denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R. S 1.80.
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(E).
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b); 47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80, 17.51(a),
17.48, and 17.57.
^47 C.F.R. S 1.1914.
^47 C.F.R. SS 1.80(f)(3), 1.16.
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Federal Communications Commission DA 11-1487
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-1487