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Sci Tech    H4'ed 9/25/15

Rules & Regulations About Electricity, Electronics, Wireless Devices, Electric & Telecom Infrastructure: A Study Guide

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Let's get informed

In April, 2015, Norm Alster, a journalism fellow at Harvard's Center for Ethics, asked 202 people, "How likely it is that the US Congress forbids local communities from considering health concerns when deciding whether to issue zoning permits for wireless antennae?"

Only 1.5% of respondents considered this likely to be true.

This means that the vast majority of people are unaware of Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which prohibits states and municipalities from considering health or environmental concerns when a telecom corporation requests a permit to install a cell tower.

This survey, published in Alster's Captured Agency: How the FCC is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates, tells us that if people become informed about The Telecom Act's Section 704--and about the dangers of exposure to EMR from wireless technologies, then significant numbers of people might well reduce their use. So let's get informed.

Which is greater: the amount of radiation that the FDA allows a microwave oven to leak--or the amount of radiation that the FCC allows a cell phone to emit? Answer: the amount of radiation that a cell phone is allowed to emit.

How can we prevent installation of a single, new tower?

Get a copy of the deed to the property where the proposed tower will be rented. If the deed prohibits anything commercial on the land (for one example), then you may have a good case against the tower's installation, since the landowner will receive rent from the telecom corporation that installs the tower, and the corporation will receive rent from other telecoms that place antennae on the tower.

If the area is key to migratory birds, then installing a tower there could violate the Dept. of the Interior's US Fish & Wildlife's Migratory Bird Treaty Act. click here

If the proposed tower would be in a residential or business district--or an area with wildlife, then its collapsing or catching fire could threaten residents and/or sensitive habitats. Let local officials know about our growing list of towers that catch fire or collapse click here

How can we prevent installation of multiple towers?

Perhaps the only recourse your municipality to pass an ordinance ASAP! that protects your rights to determine cell tower placement and zoning. Find sample zoning regs and more in Blake Levitt's book, Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard? Proceedings of the Cell Towers Forum, State of the Science, State of the Law (SafeGoods/New Century edition, 2001; iUniverse ed., 2007).

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Katie Singer writes about nature and technology in Letters to Greta. She spoke about the Internet's footprint in 2018, at the United Nations' Forum on Science, Technology & Innovation, and, in 2019, on a panel with the climatologist Dr. (more...)

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