OCTOBER 4: NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION CALLED AGAINST 'SMART' METERS AND GRID

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/ josh@stopsmartmeters.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

Israeli Ministry of Education Limits Cell Phone Use on School Grounds

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.”

Belgian Parliament to Consider Official Recognition of Electrosensitivity

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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,
  1. 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;
  2. to conduct and take part in studies aimed at bringing to light the exact mechanisms and establishing the causal link between exposure and symptoms;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. 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

FCC proposes to eliminate landlines

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.

Summary

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.

ADA Protection Used in Santa Fe

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.