Local Small Cell Antenna Laws- California and beyond

Only a handful of companies control all the telecommunications in America. The telecommunication industry in the U.S. has pushed state and now federal legislation (see below)  to remove local oversight for placement of cell towers stated to be “small cell” antenna. Although SB649 in California was vetoed by the governor, 13 states have passed legislation in 2017 to alter or remove local control for placement and rent for cell towers. The telecomm industry argues they need to lower the cost of installations and move more quickly to serve the demanding publics desire for more connection with 5G and Internet of Things.

They promise to solve all the internet problems with wireless instead of wired connections.  What is the downside?  Loss of local governmental control and income, loss of transparency, assuring a telecommunications monopoly, massive privacy and security issues, E Waste dilemma, increased energy consumption not to mention the obvious direct health and environmental impacts of more wireless radiation.  The Industry fails to acknowledge that improved cell phone connections could be addressed by feeding a fiber cable to every existing cell tower. Our sophisticated system of landlines are safer for all residents in emergencies, are more secure from hacking and have better voice quality.  AT&T was supposed to expand fiberoptic but now is pushing to remove copper landlines and force the market into wireless services (VOIP)  which are loosely regulated by the FCC.

SB649 Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (2017)- Vetoed

Below are several expert letters from physicians and researchers sent to California Governor Jerry Brown asking him to Veto SB649 (Hueso 2017)  for protection of health, the environment and local democratic control.

California SB649 (Hueso 2017)  Wireless Telecommunications Facilites: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB649 SB649 Legislative Bill

 SB649 proposed to streamline permits for small cell antenna throughout neighborhoods (at least every block)  and rural areas by removing local government control for rapid deployment of antenna placement other than for historical sites and fire stations (due to concern for health effects). These would be for 4G telecommunications initially and with 5G application later as the technology is developed and rolled out. As in the Telecommunication Act of 1996, there would no exemptions, nor ability to discuss openly public or individual health nor environmental considerations in the placement of antenna. SB649 was vetoed by Governor Brown because of concerns about the loss of local authority, however. These are the 13 states have passed laws similar to SB649 –Arizona (R-17), Colorado (HB17-1193), Connecticut (SB536), Florida (SB596), Indiana (SB213), Iowa (SB 431), Kansas (HB2131), Minnesota (HF739), Missouri (HB 656), North Carolina (HB310), Ohio (SB331-Overturned by Judge on technicality), Texas (SB1004- Lawsuit from Austin filed), Virginia (HB 2196). Only one state is still working through  an antenna bill – Illinois (SB1451). Cities and Counties In Illinois Love 5G But Hate State Bill 1451

For updates on these bill you can visit the Environmental Health Trust Page-Small Cell Antenna State Bills-EHTrust

Federal Small Cell Legislation Introduced 2017-2018

There is now a Federal push to have similar bills remove all “barriers” to deployment of small antenna throughout our cities and rural areas for the sake of 5G deployment and to support the Internet of Things.  No commission with all stakeholders has been convened to look at the risks of this massive new untested technology with simultaneous exposure to many layers of microwave frequencies. There has been secrecy and lack of transparency surrounding 5G likely due to proprietary information. Secrecy surrounding 5G testing

Federal legislation for 2017-2018 to “streamline” telecommunications includes.

  • The Mobile Act Now- Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act- S19 (Thune 2017) Aims to make more short millimeter wave wireless frequencies available for use in 5G systems.
  • Consolidated Reporting Act (Heller 2017) which would mandate that the FCC condense eight separate reports on competition in the communications marketplace  into just one report every two years.
  •  The Digital Act-Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act -S88(Fischer 2017) Purports to help address the increase of digitally connected products (the Internet of Things or IoT) by creating a working group to analyze best practices to promote IoT moving forward. The steering committee would be composed of stakeholders outside the federal government. The goals include:1) identifying federal laws, regulations and policies that inhibit IoT development; 2) examine how federal agencies can benefit from, use, and prepare for the IoT
  • The Speed Act-Wicker and Cortez-Masto- S1988- (2017) Streamlining Permitting to Enable Efficient Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure. This bill would streamline the permitting process for small cell tower installations previously subjected to and environmental reviews. This removes the requirement for review under the  National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).

 

California SB649 Expert Letters

Physicians for Safe Technology Letter Physicians for Safe Technology Letter to Governor Jerry Brown, SB649 2017

Devra Davis, Ph.D., Environmental Health Trust Devra Davis, PhD., Letter to Governor Jerry, SB649 2017 

Susan Foster, Health Researcher, Letter to Governor Brown Regarding Firefighter Exemption in SB649  Susan Foster Letter to Governor Jerry Brown, SB649 2017

Beatrice  Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, UCSD Dr. Beatrice Golomb Letter to Governor Jerry Brown, SB649, Sept 2017 

Lennart Hardell, M.D.,  Professor in Oncology and Cancer Epidemiology at the University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden Dr. Lennart Hardell Letter to Governor Jerry Brown, SB649 2017

Ben Ishai, Ph.D., Department of Physics, Ariel University, Israel Dr. Paul Ben Ishai, Letter to Governor Jerry Brown, SB649 2017

Michael Lipsett, MD, Public Health Physician.Dr. Lipsett letter SB649, September 2017

John West, M.D.,  Breast Surgeon, Orange County California  Dr, John West Letter to Governor Jerry Brown, SB649 2017