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JETLaw in the News: The Fault in Our Stars Reaches the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Posted by on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 in Blog Posts.

Ramon Ryan’s paper, The Fault in Our Stars: Challenging the FCC’s Treatment of Commercial Satellites as Categorically Excluded from Review under the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law continues to push the frontiers of space law. Ryan’s paper raises several issues with the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) categorical exclusion of commercial satellites from environmental review.

In a recent filing in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the communications company Viasat, which operates a competing satellite to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite, raises an argument from Ryan’s paper in its lawsuit against the FCC. Ryan recently spoke with Scientific American about this recent development of his paper. The Scientific American feature can be found here.

Ryan is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt Law School and a former Editor in Chief of JETLaw. A copy of Ryan’s paper can be downloaded here. The paper has been reported on by Scientific AmericanBusiness Insider, and Futurism. The paper also prompted legislation aimed at creating National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review for satellite launches. In January 2020, US Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) sent a letter to the US Government Accountability Office requesting review of the FCC’s longstanding policy of excluding commercial-satellite projects from environmental review.