City of Mumbai Prohibits Cell Towers near Schools, Colleges, Orphanages
Cell towers are being dismantled by the thousands in various parts of India.
In August 2013 the city of Mumbai, the most populous city in India, prohibited cell towers within 100 meters of schools, colleges, orphanages, child rehabilitation centers, and old age homes. It ordered that existing antennas on schools, colleges and hospitals be removed. It also prohibited the installation of antennas on residential rooftops without the consent of every person on the top floor, as well as the consent of 70% of the people in the rest of the building. And it began the process of dismantling 3,200 illegal rooftop towers. The policy, first developed in January 2013, is here:
The government of the state of Maharashtra, however, in which Mumbai is located, released a draft policy in mid-October 2013 that lowers radiation limits tenfold, but otherwise ignores the policy of Mumbai. Negotiations between city and state are ongoing.
Actor and activist Juhi Chawla addresses the media at the Press Club, Mumbai
Supreme Court of India Orders Cell Towers Removed From Schools, Colleges, Hospitals in Rajasthan
On November 27, 2012 the High Court of the state of Rajasthan, India’s largest state geographically, ordered the removal of all cell towers from the vicinity of schools, colleges, hospitals and playgrounds because of radiation “hazardous to life.” The court’s amazing 200+ page decision thoroughly reviews the worldwide evidence that cell towers are harming human beings and wildlife. It is available here:
On July 5, 2013 the Supreme Court of India upheld this decision.
High Court of West Bengal prohibits cell tower for health reasons
A dispute between brothers in the village of Garankati resulted in a permanent injunction against a cell tower, issued by the High Court of the State of West Bengal on the basis of health.
Netai Chandra Haldar took his brother, Gouranga Mohan Haldar, to court, because Gouranga had entered into a contract with telecom company BSNL to erect a cell tower on his portion of their land. Netai contended that the tower would be “dangerous to the life and health of human beings and flora and fauna, and such a tower has its harmful effects to all the people of the locality which may cause many diseases including cancer.”
The judge, after reviewing the worldwide evidence about health and environmental effects, issued a permanent injunction. The judge said:
“The radiation of the said tower is dangerous to the life of human beings and also flora and fauna causing severe imbalance to the wholesome environment which is emancipated as one of the basic fundamental rights included with right to life as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”
“For an immediate financial gain,” said the judge, “the installation of the telephone tower will obviously help the defendant no.1 but in the long run it will cause greater harm to him and his family members also including the risk of so many diseases including deadly cancer.”
AT&T applied, or will apply, for cell towers at the following locations:
- Parking lot at Baillios (across the street from Vitamin Cottage)
- on the roof of Quail Run Clubhouse, 3101 Old Pecos Trail
- at Saint John’s College, near the Lower Dorm
- on the roof of Hotel Santa Fe
- at Burger King at the corner of St. Francis and Alameda, in the Dumpster area next to the gas station
- a co-location on a Qwest tower on City-owned land (I am unaware of the location)
- additional antennas on the Marcy Street tower
- Next to Capital High School, at 4851 Paseo Del Sol — already approved
- St. John’s Methodist Church (approved last year but under litigation)
- 2706 Senda Jarosa
- atop the PERA Building
- at the Agua Fria Fire Station
- Route 599 and North Saint Francis Drive
- Tano Road and US 84/285
Please contact Arthur at (505) 471-0129 if you live in the neighborhood of one of these locations and would like to get involved in fighting these proposals.
Saint John’s Methodist Church
This AT&T tower, concealed in a false chimney, is in operation. It was turned on on September 22, 2012. What used to be a small chimney now looks like this:
The new AT&T tower on St. John’s Methodist Church, Santa Fe
Hotel Santa Fe
To passersby, it looks like the hotel has built a fourth story. But it is really a façade for antennas: AT&T has installed a cell tower on the roof of the penthouse, whose walls have been extended upwards another nine feet to hide it. The hotel’s spa and fitness center are in the adjoining building on the second and third floor, just twenty feet away from where twelve antennas have been installed.
The hotel is owned by the Picuris Pueblo.
This project is still under appeal in New Mexico District Court, but construction was completed in June 2013 and the tower is fully operational.
Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
Marcy Street Tower
New antennas will not be added to this downtown tower by AT&T. AT&T never picked up its permits for these antennas, and the permits have expired.
A new 75-foot “monopole,” at this site, described by some as resembling a giant tampon, went into operation in early 2013. It is across the street from Vitamin Cottage.
Baillios, Santa Fe, NM
Capital High School
A new 100-foot-tall fake pine tree, adjacent to both Capital High School’s football field and its day care center, is also up and running.
Capital High School, Santa Fe, NM
This project will require a public hearing because AT&T is applying for exemptions from height and setback requirements, and also because it is a new tower in a historic district. The hearing is scheduled for November 12, 2013. The plans shows a 64-foot tower similar to the one recently built at Baillios.
Quail Run Clubhouse
This was originally planned as a 28-foot tower, but the Quail Run management decided that would be an eyesore, and so invited AT&T to put hidden antennas on the Commons Building instead. Unfortunately, the Commons Building doesn’t just house Quail Run’s administration. It also has a library, gym, spa, restaurant, and other facilities on the first floor. And on the second floor, directly beneath the planned antennas, are condos where residents live. This tower has been defeated. Due to opposition from Quail Run residents, the Quail Run board has voted not to sign a contract with AT&T.
St. John’s College
AT&T is preparing to apply for a 50-foot cell tower, disguised as a pine tree, to be located near the lower dorms at St. John’s College. The Early Neighborhood Notification meeting was held September 4, 2013.
Recent Fires in Illinois, Pennsylvania Add Urgency to Calls for Moratorium
Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition
Center for Safer Wireless, StopSmartMeters.Org, Maine Smart Meter Safety Coalition, Naperville Smart Meter Awareness, Maryland Smart Meter Awareness, We the People Are the 9-12 Association, Inc., W4AR (Michigan), Cellular Phone Task Force, Spruce Creek Patriots, Wireless Education Action, Florida Coalition for Health Against Smart Meters, Vermont Stop Smart Meters!
Contact: Joshua Hart, Spokesperson
Friday, September 21st, 2012 National Campaign to Stop Smart Meters
(831) 421 0822/ firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC- Citing thousands of instances of ‘smart’ meter fires, health problems, and violations of privacy laws, the National Campaign to Stop Smart Meters and Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition are calling for a National Day of Action on October 4th to demand an immediate moratorium on “smart meter” installations. ‘Smart’ meters are digital devices that monitor utility usage and maintain continuous two-way communication between the customer’s property and the utility company. Utilities are replacing traditional analog meters on homes and businesses all around the country as a supposed energy-saving measure.
Campaign organizers say that these energy savings are failing to materialize, and point to the need for massive new data storage facilities, energy consumption of the meters themselves, and the need for frequent replacement as evidence that “smart” meters are not so “green.” They say smart meter mesh networks are in fact consuming significant energy as part of their routine operation, sending out pulses of microwave radiation day and night, and subjecting residents to health problems, increased risk of fire, rising energy bills, and even power disruption.
The wave of demonstrations in early October is timed to coincide with “GridWeek,”a conference being held in Washington, DC by industry and government proponents of the smart grid. In addition to Washington, DC, other demonstrations are being planned throughout the United States to coincide with the Washington event.
“We are calling for a moratorium on the installation of “smart” meters, and for utilities to remove existing “smart” meters already in place on homes and businesses.” says Joshua Hart, spokesperson for the Campaign, “Like any defective product, whether automobile, food or drug, these meters require an immediate product recall. Analog meters were safe, accurate, and lasted for 80 or more years. My grandmother used to say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Utilities and governments now need to take responsibility and fix the mess they’ve created.”
Coalition members protesting on October 4threpresent the nationwide groundswell of opposition groups from more than a dozen different states, challenging smart meters in a wide variety of regulatory and legal venues.
“Smart” meters emit strong bursts of microwave radiation that the World Health Organization labeled a Class 2b carcinogen in May of 2011. This is the same category as lead, DDT, and chloroform. The meters are widely reported to be impacting human and environmental health. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has warned people with a number of medical conditions to avoid them. Thousands of people have reported ringing in the ears, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, nausea, heart irregularities, memory loss, and anxiety after a smart meter was installed on their home. Despite this, utilities in many parts of the country are forcing smart meters onto private property and unlawfully disconnecting people’s essential services for refusing to accept a smart meter.
A series of 26 smart meter fires in Pennsylvania forced PECO to suspend further installations in August, and this has sparked inquiries in Washington, DC, Maryland, and other states. Problems with wiring, lack of UL certification, and unprofessional, shoddy installations have been suspected as causes of these and other fires, which have already caused millions of dollars in damages. Yet installations continue in many areas. Public safety advocates are demanding an immediate moratorium on these unsafe, untested devices.
According to a Congressional Research Service Report [February 2012], the Department of Energy determined smart meters can reveal people’s daily schedules, the use of individual appliances, whether they use certain medical equipment and other personal information. “Smart meters are an invasion of privacy. They are a detailed and warrantless information gathering devices attached to our homes and businesses,” said Ed Friedman lead plaintiff in a smart meter case that has been remanded to the Maine Public Utilities Commission after a victory in the Maine Supreme Court.
The National Campaign to Stop Smart Meters and Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition are urging members of the public to do the truly smart thing: plan your own event to demonstrate against ‘smart’ meters on October 4! See http://actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org for materials and more information on planning an event, and for locations and times of events being planned around the country and internationally.
The main demonstration in Washington DC begins at 10:00 am Oct. 4th at the GridWeek conference outside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place N.W., Washington, DC 20001. For other demonstrations around the country, see http://actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org
On December 20, 2011 the opening brief was filed in an appeal involving the rights of people disabled by electromagnetic radiation. The reply brief was filed February 21, 2012.
The case, Firstenberg v. City of Santa Fe, was originally filed in state district court in New Mexico to assert the rights of people with disabilities whose lives are threatened by the proliferation of cell towers.
The rights at issue are fundamental. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires municipalities to consider the needs of people with disabilities in zoning decisions. The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees to every person the equal protection of the laws, and says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
AT&T, also a party to the lawsuit, removed the case to federal district court, where Judge James A. Parker ruled that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 preempts the ADA. He also ruled that people with disabilities are not entitled to the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment if it would interfere with the construction of a national wireless telecommunications network. This has been appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
You can read more about the case on our Litigation Page.
Donations toward this appeal can be made on this website.
On December 30, 2011 a group in Naperville, Illinois filed a federal lawsuit asking for a permanent injunction against the mandatory installation of Smart Meters in the city of Naperville. They are alleging violations of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. The lawsuit states that by installing Smart Meters without consent, the City of Naperville is invading citizens’ privacy and taking their property without due process of law. The complaint, Case No. 11-cv-9299 in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, can be read here: http://napervillesmartmeterawareness.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Complaint-for-Injunctive-Relief-11-cv-9299.pdf
A law that was due to go into effect on January 1, 2012 would have made it illegal to sell 100-watt incandescent lilght bulbs in the United States. 60-watt incandescent bulbs would have been illegal on January 1, 2013, and all incandescent bulbs would have been illegal one year later. At the last minute, in late December, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, a nine-month delay in the effectiveness of that law. At present the ban on 100-watt bulbs is due to become effective on October 1, 2012. A similar ban in Canada has been delayed until January 1, 2014.
On November 15, 2010, the world’s most powerful commercial satellite, called Lightsquared, was launched into orbit, promising to provide North America with ubiquitous 4G wireless broadband service (and nationwide radiation). That particular venture by billionaire Philip Falcone quickly ran into legal trouble, and is not up and running. In fact Sprint, which entered into an arrangement to build the terrestrial part of Lightsquared’s network, will pull out of the deal on March 15 if Lightsquared does not secure FCC approval to use the frequencies allotted to it for land-based towers as well as for its satellites. The FCC has withheld permission because of potential interference with global-positioning systems.
Now a new venture called Wild Blue Wireless has stepped into the void and launched its own powerful satellite, which promises to do not quite the same thing. It launched the ViaSat satellite on October 19, 2011, and began offering broadband service nationally from that satellite on January 16, 2012. Unlike Lightsquared, which was going to offer direct connections with Smart Phones, ViaSat is designed to deliver high speed broadband to homes and businesses via satellite dishes and will operate at 20 to 30 GHz. It is billed as “the highest capacity satellite in the world,” and aims 72 spot beams to cover the eastern two thirds of the United States, the west coast, and the Phoenix and Denver areas.
This Saturday at 10 a.m. a reporter from CBS News will be in Green Bank, West Virginia to interview people with electrical sensitivity (ES). Green Bank has attracted international media attention in recent months because increasing numbers of people with ES are taking refuge in that small town in order to escape rapidly worsening electromagnetic pollution everywhere else in the United States. Green Bank is the location of the world’s only Radio Quiet Zone with official protection from most radio frequency radiation. Cell phones will never work in Green Bank, and there will never be Smart Meters there – not as long as the West Virginia zoning ordinance protecting Green Bank’s radio astronomy observatory remains in force.
Recently, Aljazeera TV was in Green Bank covering this ongoing story. Aljazeera’s segment, broadcast February 18, can be seen here: http://www.aljazeera.com/video/americas/2012/02/20122189014951813.html.
With the opening of the school year in Israel, the Education Ministry issued new guidelines limiting the use of mobile devices by students. The guidelines were issued following an appeal by two lawyers, Vered Cohen and Raanan Bar-On. The new guidelines allow use of cell phone in schools only in designated areas.
By Dafna Liel, for Israel Channel 2. http://norad4u.blogspot.com/2011/09/israeli-ministry-of-education-is-going.html
Students are not allowed to speak on their cell phone while in school: new guidelines published by the Ministry of Education on August 30th, 2011, significantly restrict cell phone use by students on school grounds.
According to the new guidelines, students should refrain from talking on their mobile devices on school grounds and if necessary they should use only text messaging or headphones.
Students who wish to talk on their cell phone would have to go to designated areas.
The new guidelines set up by the Ministry of Education were issued following an appeal made last May to the Education Minister, Gideon Saar, by two lawyers, Vered Cohen and Raanan Bar-On.
In their appeal, the lawyers urged the Minister to take action against the widespread use of mobile phones by students, which is very common even amongst students in the first grade.
Professor Siegel Sadetzki, Director of the Cancer & Radiation Epidemiology Unit in the ‘Gertner Institute’ in ‘Tel-Hashomer’ Hospital, and the representative of the Ministry of Health told ‘Channel 2’ that “we recommended to reconsider the age in which cell phone use would be allowed, however, we cannot sweepingly ban the use of cell phones”. She added: “We recommend precautionary use of cell phones but we do not think it is necessary to prohibit the use completely”.
Children and youth are more vulnerable to damage from cell phones’ radiation “There is concern of an increased risk of developing malignant tumors from the use of cell phones, and children and adolescents are more vulnerable to the damage of electromagnetic radiation” explained Cohen and Bar-On presenting the recent recommendations of the ‘Council of Europe’ to limit children and adolescents exposure to radiation from mobile devices. In their appeal the lawyers wrote:
“Although two bills were introduced to prevent mobile phone use in order to protect the health of students, this complicated issue hasn’t been resolved so far.” They added, “this issue concerns the lives of our young children and therefore, we should take action preemptively.”
Bar-on and Cohen also explained that the risk exists even for students who choose not to use a mobile device. “The fact that some children choose not to use a mobile phone is not protecting them as the radiation is affecting them despite being ‘passive,’ because other children use the cell phones on school grounds.”
On July 20, 2011, three Green Party members of the Belgian Parliament introduced the following resolution recognizing electro-hypersensitivity:
PROPOSED RESOLUTION THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
A. Considering the growing exposure of the population to various electromagnetic fields;
B. Considering that there exist a growing number of citizens who suffer from complex effects on their physical and mental health, linked to exposure to electromagnetic radiation;
C. Considering that those complex effects can cause a very significant deterioration of the social context within which these persons are able to move;
D. Considering that few studies really take account of the link between the exposure and the evoked symptoms, nor of the potential damage to exposed but non-affected citizens;
E. Considering that professional training in this matter is almost non-existent, probably because of the present very weak state of scientific knowledge in this area;
F. Considering that there are numerous prospective studies in progress with diverse preliminary results that tend towards real messages of precaution with regard to exposure to this type of radiation;
G. Considering that developments in other countries have permitted a substantial amelioration in the lives of, and social integration of, citizens affected by these symptoms;
H. Considering that it is essential to respond in an adequate fashion to the suffering which these people report, in their everyday lives, within their families and in their work, in order to preserve a strong social link that permits them to surmount so stigmatizing a handicap;
I. Considering that the WHO has declared, following an intensive review of the scientific literature, that “however, our knowledge of the biological effects of these fields still contains gaps and research must be pursued in order to fill them”;
J. Considering that there is no broad consensus among scientists to assure a total absence of long-term harm from this radiation;
CALLS ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT,
- to officially recognize the existence of the syndrome “electro-hypersensitivity” as an illness and to recognize as a handicap the maladjustments and functional impairments that result, in consultation with the academies of medicine and the Council of Health;
- to conduct and take part in studies aimed at bringing to light the exact mechanisms and establishing the causal link between exposure and symptoms;
- to make health professionals aware of the existence of this syndrome and to strengthen their education relative to environmental illnesses both in their core curriculum and in the continuing education classes that they are required to take;
- to strongly apply the precautionary principle in the face of the significant amount of uncertainty concerning the link between exposure to electromagnetic radiation and the health effects that may be attributable to it;
- to require, in public places, zones that are free from WiFi, WiMax and DECT [cordless telephone systems], where the use of portable telephones would be prohibited, in order to protect electro-hypersensitive persons and give them access to public, social, and health services;
- to inform the managers of public establishments, including health establishments (hospitals), but also community facilities such as day-care centers, rest homes and nursing homes, about the needs of persons suffering from electro-hypersensitivity.
20 July 2011
Thérése SNOY, Green Party delegate
Muriel GERKENS, Green Party delegate
Eva BREMS, Green Party delegate
On May 27, 2011, the 47-nation Council of Europe adopted a resolution warning of the potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment. Among its many recommendations the Council advised member states to “pay particular attention to ‘electrosensitive’ people who suffer from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network.”
Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe promotes cooperation among all the countries of Europe in the areas of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Its resolutions are influential in policy-making and its decisions have often been adopted through conventions and treaties.
The resolution may be found on the organization’s Web site at http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/AdoptedText/ta11/eRES1815.htm, and the Cellular Phone Task Force has made this resolution available for download as a PDF here.
The Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (RNCNIRP) has issued a resolution, published April 2011, addressing the urgent problem of cell phone use by children.
The document cites studies showing that since 2000 the rate of nervous system disorders among 15 to 17 year olds has increased by 85%, epilepsy has increased by 36%, mental retardation has increased by 11%, and blood and immune disorders have increased by 82%. In children less than 14 years old nervous system disorders have increased by 58%, and blood and immune disorders have increased by 64%.
The RNCNIRP states that “For the first time in human evolution, the brain is daily exposed to modulated EMF at all developmental stages.” The Russian agency recommends that urgent measures be taken, including:
- all cell phones carry a label indicating that RF radiation is being emitted
- the instruction manuals be required to state that cell phones are a source of harmful RF radiation
- children under 18 years old not use cell phones
- pregnant women not use cell phones
- advertisement of cell phones for children be prohibited
The complete RNCNIRP resolution is here: iemfa.org/images/pdf/RNCNIRP_Resolution_2011.pdf
DRAFT RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
On April 11, 2011, a committee of the Council of Europe unanimously adopted a resolution calling for immediate action to protect the public from the harmful effects of cell phones, WiFi, baby monitors, and other wireless technologies. The resolution will be considered for adoption by the council’s full Parliamentary Assembly on May 27.
Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states, is separate from and larger than the European Union. Its purpose is to promote cooperation among all countries of Europe in the areas of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Though the Council of Europe cannot impose its will on governments, it is highly influential in policy-making, and its decisions have often been adopted through conventions and treaties.The European Court of Human Rights, established in 1950, is part of the Council of Europe.
In May 2009 the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs was assigned to look into “The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment.” The committee is composed of 84 Members of Parliament from member states. After two years of investigation, the committee has issued its report and adopted a resolution.
The resolution recommends that:
- Electrosensitive persons be protected by special measures, including the creation of “wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network.
- Mobile phones, cordless phones, WiFi devices and baby monitors be clearly labeled to indicate the presence of microwave radiation.
- Mobile phones, cordless phones and WiFi systems be banned from classrooms and schools.
- Zoning measures be introduced to keep high-voltage power lines at a safe distance from dwellings.
- The location of cell towers and WiMax antennas be determined in consultation with local residents and associations of concerned citizens.
The accompanying report summarizes the existing science. It states:
- Recent studies “clearly show the effects of mobile telephony microwaves on plant genes.”
Electromagnetic waves interfere with navigation and communication in certain animals and insects. This may be one of the major causes of whales being washed up on beaches or colony collapse disorder in honeybees.
- Effects on livestock — cows, horses, geese, etc. — have been observed following the installation of cell towers nearby. These effects include deformed calves, cataracts, and fertility problems.
- Recent research was performed on more than 200 people with electrosensitivity. The studies, which involved objective clinical tests done at the Association for Research and Treatments Against Cancer, proved that this syndrome does exist, with sensitivity to electromagnetic fields across the whole electromagnetic spectrum, and that the affected people “are not feigning illness or suffering from psychiatric disorders.”
- Epidemiological and clinical studies show that after relay antennas are built, people who live nearby develop sleep disorders, headaches, blood pressure problems, dizziness, skin disorders, allergies, concentration problems, and impaired attention and hyperactivity of children. Changes in stress hormones have been measured in urine samples.
- The ICNIRP, the European body that sets exposure standards for electromagnetic fields, is “suspected of having rather close links with the industries whose expansion is shaped by recommendations for maximum threshold values.”
- “33% of studies funded by industrial concerns conclude that exposure to mobile telephone radio frequencies has an effect on our organism. That figure rises to over 80% in studies carried out with public funding.” This is a “manifestly unacceptable situation pointing to conflicts of interest which undermine the integrity, the genuine independence and the objectivity of scientific research.”
- “There must no longer be situations where whistleblowers are discriminated against and renowned scientists with critical opinions are excluded when experts are selected to sit on expert committees or no longer receive funding for their research.”
The committee’s full report and resolution may be found on the organization’s Web site here: www.assembly.coe.int/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc11/EDOC12608.pdf
The Cellular Phone Task Force provides the document here as well.
Scientific studies showing negative effects of microwave frequencies on plants, insects, wildlife, farm animals, and humans “are very numerous indeed,” numbering in the thousands.
The Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly meets in Kiev on May 27. It will consider whether to adopt the committee’s resolution as a resolution of the full Council of Europe.
The FCC is proposing to take the first specific steps toward the elimination of landline telephones. Comments from the public were due on or before April 18, 2011.
Below is a summary of what is being proposed. The complete FCC proposal can be found at www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db0209/FCC-11-13A1.pdf.
Briefly, the FCC believes that the switched telephone network (i.e. telephone lines and switching centers) is obsolete and should be dismantled. Therefore FCC’s policy is to phase out telephone lines during the coming years and replace them with broadband service. In other words, the FCC wants ordinary telephones to be entirely replaced with cell phones and computers (voice over Internet). The first step is to take money that is now being used to subsidize rural telephone service and subsidize broadband (i.e. Internet) services instead.
The Universal Service Fund is a federal fund paid for by a surcharge on everyone’s long distance telephone bill. Until now, the fund has been used to subsidize telephone service in rural areas, as well as telephone service to people with low incomes, to make sure all Americans have access to a telephone.
This proposal by the FCC would eliminate some subsidies for ordinary telephone services within two years and reallocate Universal Service Fund money to pay for fixed and wireless broadband instead. This is the first step in eliminating the Universal Service Fund itself and creating a “Connect America Fund,” which could only be used to subsidize fixed and wireless broadband.
In addition, the FCC is proposing to reduce the allowable per-minute rate for long distance phone calls, which will make it less profitable for companies to operate landlines.
The most important thing the FCC needs to hear from you is that the switched telephone network must be maintained. The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (“the Access Board”), is the federal agency that administers the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the Access Board, an estimated 3% of the population, or almost 10 million Americans, have electromagnetic sensitivities (www.access-board.gov/research/ieq/intro.cfm). They cannot use wireless technology and have difficulty using computers. They depend on the switched telephone network for voice communication. “Universal Service” is not universal if it excludes 10 million people. Eliminating landlines will leave millions of Americans without even basic telephone service.
We had a major precedent-setting victory in Santa Fe Wednesday January 19, 2011. The Board of Adjustment denied AT&T a permit to hide a new base station in a church chimney because it violated a section of the City Code that requires remedies for the health and safety impacts of communication towers. The City Attorney’s office tried to tell the Board members that they didn’t have jurisdiction over health and safety because of federal law, but the Board stood firm. We had approximately 100 people show up in opposition, and everyone spoke about health. We told the board that the Telecommunications Act is not the only federal law they have to obey. There is also the ADA and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In the end they quoted the city’s own code. AT&T is expected to appeal this decision to the City Council, where a bill for a six-month moratorium on antennas and towers has just been introduced. It’s getting pretty exciting in Santa Fe.
In a related matter, the Justice Department is proposing to revise some of its ADA regulations. Read the comments of the Cellular Phone Task Force to the Justice Department.
About 100 people attended the October 25 meeting on four proposed new AT&T cell towers.
Many more applications from cell phone, WiMAX and utility companies are being submitted to the city, so many and so rapidly that it will be difficult to fight them all one by one (see list below). We need the force of sufficient numbers of citizens, acting together, to accomplish a change in city policy.
This is possible. When Miguel Chavez pushed for a moratorium on antennas and towers, he stood alone on the City Council. And I have not yet seen more than about 100 people turn out for a public hearing in Santa Fe on this issue. But we now have realtors and representatives of neighborhood associations coming to weekly meetings at Isis Medicine that are run by people with impressive talents and connections to this community. I now send these emails to 600 local people, most of whom have requested to be on this list, and some of whom have much larger email lists of their own.
Last week I sent out a letter nationwide, which some of you have received, and the response has been sobering. I will briefly tell some history, and explain what I see as the obstacles, here and nationally, and what needs doing. But first, the list of what’s coming to Santa Fe shortly:
- The four new AT&T towers already mentioned (at the Solana Center; Baillios; Fort Marcy Park; and St. John’s Methodist Church). Public hearing to be announced.
- Verizon: new microwave dishes and 4G antennas on the towers on Marcy Street (downtown) and on West Alameda near San Ysidro Crossing. Early Neighborhood Notification meeting: Nov. 15, 5:30 pm, Genoveva Chavez Community Center.
- AT&T and Verizon: new 4G antennas on the towers on Camino Entrada (near Rodeo Rd. and Airport Rd.), Sawmill Rd., and Taos St. (the sky blue tower off Cerrillos Rd.). Approval is imminent. No ENN or public hearing will be held for these.
- AT&T: new 4G antennas behind Pep Boys and on the tower above West Alameda near the transfer station. Already approved, but not yet installed because we are appealing them. Appeal date: November 17, 7 pm, City Hall, Council Chambers.
- Every other antenna and tower in the city will be upgraded to 4G in the coming months.
- Coming soon: new WiMAX towers and antennas at numerous locations all over town. Clearwire, Azulstar, TewaCom, CNSP, and other companies.
- Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)?Extenet Systems, NewPath Networks, NextG Networks: hundreds of new short cell towers all over town. The only thing holding these franchise applications up is a pending lawsuit against the City by Qwest. This lawsuit may be settled out of court later this month.
- New Mexico Gas Co. has just installed antennas on every customer’s home in Santa Fe.
- In the future PNM will install “Smart Meters” (containing antennas) on every customer’s home, along with its own network of towers for an electrical “Smart Grid.”
As many of you know, I have been personally involved with this environmental issue for 30 years, and active for 15. Fifteen years ago was when the telecommunications industry (a) determined to put a cell phone and a wireless computer in the hands of every man, woman and child on earth; (b) made plans to blanket every square inch of the planet with radiation from antennas and towers so that all those phones and computers would work; (c) lobbied Congress to make it illegal for zoning boards to consider the health effects of all this radiation; and (d) convinced Congress to prohibit the EPA from publishing RF radiation exposure guidelines that it had already drafted and that likely would have made cell phones illegal.
All of that happened in 1995.
In 1996 and 1997, when the industry began to put its plans into effect, the consequences were predictable: widespread illness and the shattering of lives. I got to know some thousands of people whose health and lives were destroyed, and I collected their stories. In 1998 the California Dept. of Health Services conducted a random telephone survey and concluded that more than 120,000 Californians, and by implication one million Americans, were already disabled (could not work) by electromagnetic radiation. Ten million Americans felt the radiation and avoided it. Dr. John Goldsmith, at Ben Gurion University of the Nege v in Israel, helped me obtain mortality statistics. They showed what we suspected: During 1996 and 1997, n almost every major city in the US, a rise in mortality of 10% to 2 5%, lasting two to three months, followed immediately upon the advertised startup date for digital cell phone service in that city.
Opposition to antennas and towers was initially loud and vocal in villages, towns, cities and counties. Hundreds of moratoriums were put in place. But the industry’s strategies succeeded: First, prohibit citizens from objecting on the basis of health or environment. This takes the steam out of the protests and reduces the number of people who bother to object. Second, make the population dependent on their wireless devices. This reduces the opposition much more: people now not only need those towers, but no longer want to think about the health effects. Third, make the devices ever faster and more powerful: Smart Phones (3G and 4G) require denser forests of antennas and towers than older (2G) phones. Fourth, divide and conquer. There have been thousands of local opposition groups, all working in isolation and not joining forces. The few groups working on a national level represent pitifully few individuals, receive no funding, and do not work together. The millions who are made ill, disabled, and/or homeless remain invisible, isolated from one another, without any resources, and with no viable organization that they can plug into.
What needs doing is clear:
- In Santa Fe, and nationally, people who are concerned about, affected by, or disabled by microwave radiation must find each other, work together, and put this issue on the map. There needs to be something like a Sierra Club for EMFs. Since the few existing groups in North America that purport to represent this issue on a national level have refused to work tog ether for the last 15 years, and since none of the others has a mailing list anywhere near as large as the one my organization (the Cellular Phone Task Force) has, we thought that the thing to do was to formally re-establish the Cellular Phone Task Force on a larger scale, with regional chapters, and membership dues so that we can function. Once we represent enough individuals in every part of the US and Canada, we can reach out to the other organizations from a position of strength.
- People who are opposed to microwave radiation for health or environmental reasons have to stop being afraid to say so. We must say so loudly, repeatedly, and in large numbers. The Emperor has no clothes. The consequences of not saying so are too great, and growing greater by the day. The primary responsibility of our elected officials is to protect our health and safety. But they won’t if we don’t demand it. Any federal law that purports to forbid them from doing so violates the US constitution as well as fundamental human rights and is null and void.
- We must become undependent on wireless technology. Right now it is mainly those who cannot use wireless technology who don’t use it, those whose lives have already been destroyed by it. To everyone else, throwing away your cell phone seems impossible. But once there is a viable, respected, national organization in place that represents this issue, and individuals, local groups, doctors, scientists and legislators are no longer afraid to speak out, this will change. It must, if we care about our planet.
During the months before July 2010, more than 100 electrically sensitive people, living in cars and RVs, converged on the Forest of Saoû, the world’s first refuge from electromagnetic radiation. Located in a remote region of the French Alps, this isolated 8-square-mile nature reserve sits in a bowl, almost completely shielded from radio waves by the surrounding cliffs. After arriving here, many of the refugees were able to sleep through the night, and wake up rested and pain-free, for the first time in months or years.
But their respite was short-lived. On July 30, 2010, this convoy of refugees was served with an eviction notice. Ten weeks later, on October 15, under threat of force and assaulted by radio waves from the communication equipment of police and media, the convoy left en masse, bound for an even more remote refuge, just as illegal, within the Regional Natural Park of Vercors. There, at an elevation of 4600 feet, they plan to brave the snows of winter in order to survive.
The land from which they have been evicted is actually owned by Next-Up, an organization founded in 2005 by one of the world’s most prominent researchers into the health and environmental effects of electromagnetic pollution, the late Dr. Roger Santini. In fact, Next-Up was formed with the goal of setting up such radiation-free zones, and it acquired the land in question for that express purpose. But powerful economic interests, who do not want to see EHS given any legitimacy, have ensured that even on its own land, Next-Up was not permitted to carry through this project.
“Although it is a large private ground which is owned by Next-Up,” wrote Michael Heiming, spokesman for the refugees, “there is a strange new law in France (LOPPSI Act) which gives much power to officials and among other things restricts how long you can put a caravan on private ground! Not more than three months on your own ground! Unless you have a special permission by the authorities!”
“This expulsion does not resolve the problem at all,” wrote Next-Up member Serge Sargentini, “because the EHS, treated like pariahs, not having any choice in order to survive, will move in convoy to another eligible zone (without radiation), evidently also classified as a protected nature reserve, but with more difficult living conditions because of its altitude. And they will be shut off by snow during the winter.”
“Will we be chased off again,” wrote the refugees in an October 15 press release, “and to go where?”
Those interested in receiving news about this ongoing situation may subscribe to Next-Up News at no charge by going to http://www.next-up.org/abonnement_desabonnement_news.php.
The refugees are currently living in an EMF Refuge in France higher in the French Alps.