Channel Islands Telephone Company
Channel Islands Telecommunications Project

Application No. A.07-08-014

Welcome to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) website for the environmental review of the proposed Channel Islands Telephone Company (CITC) Channel Islands Telecommunications Infrastructure Project (Project). The proposed Project would include installation of telecommunications infrastructure within, upon, and near existing structures on 15 project sites. These 15 project sites are distributed over four of the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. These four islands include San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Islands, all of which are part of the Channel Islands National Park.

CITC has filed an application with the CPUC to obtain a grant for the construction and operation of the proposed telecommunications facilities and to provide local exchange and interexchange services to and with these four previously underserved Channel Islands. The CPUC is the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Lead Agency on this Project, and the National Park Service (NPS) is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Lead Agency. A joint NEPA/CEQA document was prepared to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of this Project.

The objective of the CITC-proposed Project is to provide high-quality, reliable telephone communication services between locations on the islands and between the islands and the mainland. In addition, the system would have broadband data capability that could be used by the NPS employees, other island residents, and the public to access the internet, communicate by email, make cellular telephone and payphone calls, and utilize other broadband applications.

This website provides access to public documents and information relevant to the NEPA/CEQA environmental review process.


The CPUC Application of Channel Islands Telephone Company for the Channel Islands Telecommunication Infrastructure Project may be viewed here.


Project Description

CITC proposes to install cellular telecommunications infrastructure at 15 locations on four of the Channel Islands, including:

  • San Miguel Island
  • Santa Barbara Island
  • Santa Cruz Island
  • Santa Rosa Island

The project would be located on NPS-managed land in the Channel Islands National Park. Three of the Channel Islands are under the jurisdiction of the NPS, while San Miguel Island is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy. All four islands are largely maintained in a natural state by the NPS and Navy. The Channel Islands National Park contains a limited amount of development, including research stations, campgrounds, trails, and staff residences.

The proposed project is needed because NPS and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) staff currently has limited ability to communicate between locations within the Channel Islands and with personnel and other contact points on the mainland. The islands have a very high frequency radio system that allows limited communication among radio-equipped ranger stations on the five islands, as well as from handheld radios. Limited satellite internet service is also available at some ranger stations, which allows secure access to government internet provider (IP) addresses on the mainland. NPS personnel also possess cellular telephones; however, the cellular service is unreliable because the islands are at the outer limit of the cellular service area. The location of the islands makes the cellular telephone service unreliable on some parts of the islands and wholly absent on others. Recreational visitors to the islands have no land-line telephone access, and little to no cellular telephone reception.

The proposed project would provide cellular telephone and landline service at all ranger stations, campgrounds, residences on four of the islands, the Santa Rosa Island and San Miguel Island airstrips,and all portions of the islands within an approximately 0.5-mile radius of each of the 15 facility locations. This new service is intended to be consistent and reliable, with a reliability of available service of 99.99999 percent. The new service would provide telecommunications capabilities to Channel Islands National Park staff and recreational visitors, including service for personal cellular telephone communications. 

The purpose of the proposed telephone service is to provide:

  • Improved communications for NPS and NOAA staff, researchers, NPS residents, and recreational visitors among the four islands, as well as between the islands and the mainland
  • Communication in the case of an emergency or accident to allow for swifter emergency response
  • Improved real time weather reporting data to allow for more accurate travel predictions, which will reduce unnecessary and/or aborted boat and aircraft trips to and from the islands for NPS, concessionaire, and approved charter vehicles


Environmental Review

The CPUC and NPS prepared an Environmental Assessment/Initial Study (EA/IS) to disclose the environmental effects of the project. The CPUC proposes to adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) under CEQA. The NPS will consider whether to prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) at the conclusion of the NEPA review.  

Notice of Preparation

A notice of preparation (NOP) for the CEQA/NEPA document was prepared and mailed to various agencies and interested parties on October 21, 2009. The purpose of the NOP was to solicit input from the public and agencies about the scope of analysis to be included in the upcoming IS/EA. The NOP was circulated for a 30-day review period that ended on November 20, 2009. A copy of the NOP can be found here.

The CPUC requested a list of interested tribes from the National American Heritage Commission (NAHC). The CPUC also consulted with the NPS to identify entities that have shown interest in activities on the Channel Islands. The NPS added several tribes to the scoping list, in addition to those from the Native American Contacts List provided by the NAHC. The CPUC distributed scoping letters to all of the tribes identified in the NAHC Native American Contacts List or identified by the NPS.

Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration

On November 14, 2012, the CPUC released a Notice of Intent to Adopt a MND/Notice of Availability (NOI/NOA) and an Initial Study/Environmental Assessment for the Channel Islands Telecommunications Project. The findings of the Draft IS/EA and MND are that the proposed project, as mitigated, would not have any significant effects on the environment.

The Draft IS/EA and MND can be viewed here.

The Draft IS/EA and MND are also available at the following public libraries:

Ventura County Library
Avenue Library Branch
606 N. Ventura Avenue
Ventura, CA 93001

Santa Barbara County Central Library
40 East Anapamu Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

CEQA Public Review Period

The 30-day CEQA public review period for the Draft IS/EA and MND started on November 14, 2012 and ended on December 14, 2012. 

Final Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration 

Comments on the Draft IS/EA and MND were submitted to the CPUC during the public review period ending on December 14, 2012. The cPUC's responses to the comments received are presented in Chapter 2 of the Final IS/MND. The Final IS/MND was published on December 18, 2012. The conclusions of the Draft IS/EA and MND remain unchanged in the Final IS/MND. The proposed project would not have a significant effect on the environment.

The Final IS/MND can be viewed here.

Copies of the Final IS/MND are also available at the following locations:

Ventura County Library
Avenue Library Branch
606 N. Ventura Avenue
Ventura, CA 93001

Santa Barbara County Central Library
40 East Anapamu Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

CPUC Actions after Final Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) Publication

There is no comment period following issuance of the Final IS/MND. The CPUC will determine the adequacy of the Final IS/MND, and, if adequate, will adopt the document as being compliant with CEQA. If adequate, the CPUC will issue a Proposed Decision on the Application, which will be announced and published concurrent with a scheduled Commission meeting. After the Commission makes the decision on the Application, a Notice of Determination will be mailed to the State Clearinghouse within 5 business days of the Decision. The 30-day statute of limitations for court challenges begins after the Notice of Determination is filed.

Additional NEPA Actions Related to the Project

The Project requires approval from both the CPUC and the NPS. The NPS will prepare a separate Final EA to fulfill the requirements of NEPA, and if appropriate, a FONSI. It is not known at this time if the NPS will extend the NEPA public comment period on the Draft IS/EA beyond December 14, 2012. The NPS’s schedule for the preparation of the Final EA and decision on the Project is also not known at this time. Interested parties may wish to contact the NPS directly to find more information about the completion of the NEPA environmental review process. The contact information for the NPS is provided below.

For Additional Information

The CPUC and the NPS, through its Environmental Review Team, has conducted an environmental review of the project. To request additional information or to be added to the mailing list, please contact us by email, fax, or phone, as follows:

Project email:
Project fax number: (650) 373-1211
Project voicemail: (650) 340-4821

The CPUC’s Project Manager is:

Jensen Uchida, CPUC Project Manager
California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco CA 94102
Tel (415) 703-5484
Fax (415) 703-2200

The NPS's Project Manager is:

Russell Galipeau, Supterintendent
National Park Service, Channel Islands National Park
1901 Spinnaker Drive
Ventura, CA 93001
Tel (805) 658-5702

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