Citizens Against Overhead Power Lines Inc., a group of homeowners in Seattle, Washington prevented Seattle City Light from constructing a pair of 230 kV lines that would have put strong magnetic fields in their homes.
Australia - Melbourne (1988)
A 220 kV power line from Brunswick to Richmond, serving Melbourne, has been placed on hold pending a new study by a review panel. The panel will be watched closely by Powerline Action, an umbrella organization of community groups and residents based in Melbourne.
California - Fremont (1988)
The planning commission is requiring the state real estate department to warn potential buyers of homes in a new subdivision near power lines that the lines may pose a health risk.
The Brinkwood Community Association in Maryland is opposing a 500 kV power line proposed by the Potomac Electric Power Co. The line was approved subject to a hearing on health effects by the Public Service Commission. The Maryland People's Council, which represents the interests of residential electricity users, will be participating in the hearings.
United States (1988)
In its August 22, 1988 issue, Newsweek told the public what utility professionals have long known: There is a virtual moratorium in the U.S. on building new high-voltage power lines because of "community opposition and environmental worries."
New York - Goshen/Middleton (1982-1989)
Farmers and other landowners are fighting the New York Power Authority (NYPA) over the 345 kV Marcy-South transmission line carrying power from Canada to New York City.
The property owners want the NYPA to establish a 2,400 foot right-of-way limiting magnetic field exposures to 0.5 mG. They are seeking $63 million in damages, the utility has offered $400,000.
British Columbia (1989)
BC Hydro has offered to pay a fair market price to landowners concerned about increased electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from a new 230 kV power line on Vancouver Island, although they claim there is no reason to believe the line poses a health risk. 90% of those eligible have indicated an interest in the purchase offer.
Since then the British Columbia Utilities Commission has ordered BC Hydro to stop all work on the line until a public inquiry could be held into the safety of the line and ordered it to extend its offer to buy the homes along the right-of way until September 15, 1989.
On December 29, 1989 Florida's Hillsborough County challenged the state's power line electromagnetic field standards claiming that the standards disregard studies showing a potential link between increased cancer risks and magnetic field exposures at levels significantly lower than the specified limits. According to the county, they "do not further the statutorily mandated goal of protecting public health and welfare," because they are "approximately 100 times greater than the intensity of magnetic fields, which are suspected to increase the incidence of all childhood cancer by 30 percent and to double the risk of contracting childhood leukemia."
Texas - Austin (1989)
Austin, Texas City Council adopted a resolution requiring the City Manager to develop a transmission plan which will provide reliable service while minimizing the potential health effects from electromagnetic radiation and requiring that if any lines greater than 138 kV are proposed the field strengths are no greater than those of 138 kV lines with the same capacity.
On January 22, 1990 the Maryland Office of People's Counsel (OPC) challenged a December 21, 1989 Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) decision to allow the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) to complete the last segment of a 243 mile 500 kV power line loop around Washington, D.C.
The OPC challenged the PSC Hearing Examiner's decision, arguing that the "evidence clearly is sufficient to justify the commission's adoption of a 'prudent avoidance' policy in this case, and the imposition of conditions which will reduce the magnetic field exposure levels in a reasonable and prudent manner."
New Jersey (1990)
In 1990 opposition mounted by the Monmouth County, New Jersey branch of RAGE (Residents Against Giant Electric), a group of citizens concerned about the cancer hazard posed by power-line emissions, forced the Jersey Central Power & Light Company to abandon a plan to construct a pair of 235 kV transmission lines through the towns of Red Bank, Middletown, Holmdel, Hazlet and Aberdeen.
Pacific Power and Light, an Oregon utility, recently announced that it will use a "delta" tower design that will nearly halve the EMF levels along the edge of the right-of-way (ROW) of a proposed 500 kV power line. The total additional cost of the new towers is approximately $2.4 million, about 3.5% of the total cost of the project.
PugetPower, which received a permit to build the 130-mile Eugene Medford line in 1982, hit a roadblock when residents living near the proposed line banded together to fight the utility's plans. The ensuing controversy led the DOE to assemble a panel of experts to review the literature on ELF health effects.
Soviet Union (1990)
In response to citizens' protests about the siting of a high power transmission line the government ordered the utility to make the line direct current.
Voters in Whatcom County, WA, approved a citizens' initiative restricting power lines exceeding 115 kV to industrial areas. Citizens Initiative No. 4-90 marks the first successful power line siting referendum in the U.S
The 1990 Whatcom County vote stood out in a year in which many other environmental referendums were rejected. California's "Big Green" and New York's environmental bond propositions both failed, yet the Whatcom County power line initiative passed by a nearly two- to-one margin.
Virginia - Alexandria (1990-1991)
During 1990 and 1991, residents of the historic Old Town section of Alexandria, Virginia, discovered that high-current distribution wires carrying power to the city's business district were creating magnetic fields of up to 40 mG in many homes. They convinced city officials to negotiate an agreement with Virginia Electric & Power Company to share the cost of burying the offending lines and redesigning power distribution in a 36 block downtown area.
Add Wisconsin to the list of states considering a temporary ban on new power lines because of concerns over possible EMF health effects. On November 6, 1991, Maxine Hough and eight other state representatives, along with two state senators, introduced legislation calling for a three-year moratorium on new lines above 60 kV. The bill would require the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) to conduct EMF research and measurement surveys during the moratorium. "It is dangerous and foolhardy to build more high voltage power lines...until we have adequate answers to the health concerns," Hough said at an October 7, 1991 press conference.
Last year, Wisconsin legislators and their staffs were disturbed to learn that EMFs as high as 400 mG had been recorded in the buildings where they work. State legislators in Michigan, Rhode Island and Tennessee, as well as local officials in Missouri, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Washington State, have proposed power line bans.
Mothers Against Commonwealth Edison (MACE) have battled fiercely to prevent the utility from constructing new power lines and electric substations in residential areas and near schools.
In 1991, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley denied Commonwealth Edison permission to erect a 345 kV line downtown on the grounds that the electromagnetic fields given off by the line might endanger the health of people who live or work in its vicinity.
In the Village of Lincolnwood, a suburb north of Chicago, a study showing magnetic fields of more than 7.5 mG 100 feet from a Commonwealth Edison right-of-way has prompted Village officials to demand that the utility take steps to reduce the magnetic fields to a maximum of 1.5 mG at the setback line of any building in the right-of-way.
Better Electric Safety Today (BEST) is a network of citizens groups and activists in the Chicago, Illinois area fighting power lines. One of the groups - No Power Towers, in Kane County was successful in getting Commonwealth Edison (Com Ed) to indefinitely postpone plans for a new transmission line. Citizens Against Unsafe Electricity (CAUSE) in Lake County has also been fighting Com Ed. Two groups in Dupage County, in Warrenville and Wheaton. are fighting Com Ed plans as well. Another two groups have also been formed in the Chicago area.
California - Bakersfield (1992)
In January of 1992 the residents of the Campus Park subdivision in Bakersfield, California discovered that Pacific Gas & Electric had begun to erect 90 foot towers for three pairs of 115 kV transmission lines within 30 to 50 feet of approximately 70 homes. The utility claimed it need not provide any advance notice for lines under 200 kV and offered to plant trees to hide the lines from view. Residents formed the Concerned Citizens of Campus Park and filed a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission. In response, Commission representatives, at a public meeting discounted the health risk stating that the scientific evidence was inconclusive.
California - Daly City (1992)
Developers of a subdivision next to a large transformer station and under high-voltage lines have been required to give buyers a disclosure statement that warns of "possible potential adverse health effects caused by exposure to electric and/or magnetic fields generated by high-voltage lines".
Families United for Safe Energy (FUSE), a Shipshewana, Indiana based group fighting the power line issue, celebrated its first anniversary in May 1992.
The Pinckney Neighborhood Association is fighting plans by KPL Gas Service to upgrade power lines in their community from 69 kV to 115 kV. They fear increased exposure to electromagnetic fields created by the high-voltage lines. They want KPL to string the lines along the Santa Fe Railway right of way on the west bank of the Kansas River.
Pennsylvania - Scranton (1992)
Scranton, Pennsylvania Mayor Jim Connors appeared before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January to report on community concerns that a high incidence of cancer among residents on the south side of the city may be caused by a 69-kV power line running through the neighbourhood.
On September 30, 1992 officials of Sweden's National Board for Industrial and Technical Development formally announced that they intended henceforth to "act on the assumption that there is a connection between exposure to power frequency magnetic fields and cancer, in particular childhood cancer."
Shortly after this announcement, Jack Nou, Director of the Board's Department of Electrical Safety, told Louis Slesin of Microwave News that Sweden would soon set exposure standards for new homes near power lines, and for all new electrical facilities, and that these standards might require average annual exposures to be in the neighbourhood of 2 mG. In addition, Swedish regulators have declared that they will propose a ban on the construction of houses within 330 feet of high-voltage lines.
Tennessee - Tiptonville (1992)
The Lake County Commission has forced the Tennessee Valley Authority to reroute a 161-kV line residents felt was going to pass too close to their residences. "I just don't feel people will stand for it", said Shelby Barker, a Lake County executive.
Virginia - Alexandre (1992)
Residents are fighting to get the power company to remove lines near their homes and the city council is behind them.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has ordered utilities to "use best available control technology" to reduce EMFs from transmission and distribution systems.
Michigan Rep. Howard Wolpe (D) has asked Consumers Power Co. (CPC) of Jackson, MI to suspend construction of a controversial 115 mile, 345 kV transmission line, citing concerns about electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures. In an August 13, 1991 letter, Wolpe urged the utility to "announce a moratorium on this project".
Wolpe is the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, which held a hearing on August 6, 1991 in Battle Creek, MI, on the power line and EMFs.
The Michigan branch of RAGE (Residents Against Giant Electric) has succeeded in getting many of the towns along the proposed route to pass resolutions opposing the project.
As well, in 1991, a thousand landowners, business owners and local governments petitioned the Michigan Public Service Commission to halt the project on the grounds that it was unnecessary and would pose a hazard. The Commission ruled against them in the fall of 1992. However, in January 1993 a Calhoun County circuit judge ruled that the utility had not proved that the line was necessary and that the utility could not condemn privately owned land for the project.
Pennsylvania - York County (1992 - 1993)
Opponents of a proposed 268-mile 500 kV power line in northern York County, Pennsylvania have won a delay in the technical hearings on the project. The Public Utility Commission, which is reviewing the proposal for the 500 kV line, has received 9,000 letters of opposition and 600 people have filed requests to intervene in the case. The opponents, including the Citizens' Action Group, have argued that the line will decrease property values and that the electromagnetic fields surrounding the line may be harmful to human health.
On December 8, 1993 the New Jersey regulatory agency killed the project, which would have extended into New Jersey in a 3-0 decision.
British Columbia - Delta (1993)
The Planning Director for the Municipality of Delta in British Columbia has refused a request to build a subdivision under and adjacent to BC Hydro transmission lines. The developer has taken the municipality to court over the decision. The affidavit file by Delta's Planning Director states: "I consider that approving the application would significantly increase the number of people exposed to elevated levels of EMF in the course of daily living and sleeping, and potentially puts those people at an increased risk of cancer. I consider this to be contrary to the public interest, and accordingly, it was one of the several grounds on which I refused the application." The court ruled in favour of the developer, however, subsequently the subdivision was dismissed on the grounds of location specific details.
British Columbia - Prince George (1993)
Over 100 residents in Prince George, B.C., have managed to convince BC Hydro to alter its original plans for a 69 kV line through their neighbourhood. The new plan partly buries the lines and moves them to the non-residential side of the street.
British Columbia - Vancouver (1993)
A group of housing co-operative residents West 1st Avenue in Vancouver, B.C. who first expressed concerns two and a half years ago finally saw results in the spring of 1993. EMF levels of 6 to 20 mG in their homes led to a campaign that led Vancouver City Council to ask BC Hydro to deal with the problem. Hydro responded by reconfiguring the wires and the levels dropped to a safe level.
The California Public Utilities Commission in a November 2, 1993 decision has adopted an interim EMF policy that asks utilities to eliminate "unnecessary " exposures from new power lines if the mitigation costs less than 4% of a project's total budget. The decision also commits $7 million for spending on EMF research and education in the state.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has formally adopted prudent avoidance. Electric utilities are now required to consider the health effects of power line EMFs from transmission and distribution systems.
Nebraska - Omaha (1993)
Following the release of a report by the Nebraska Department of Health that identified several childhood cancer clusters in Omaha, Omaha Parents for the Prevention of Cancer (OPPC)was formed to educate the public of the health hazards associated with exposure to EMFs and to seek the reduction, mitigation, and where possible, elimination of EMF emissions and exposure as soon as possible.
New York (1993)
A recent decision by New York's highest court allows property owners to seek compensation for losses in property value due to perceived risks from power line EMFs whether or not those risks are proven. The judge stated "whether the danger is scientifically genuine or verifiable fact should be irrelevant to the central issue of its market value impact". The ruling brings New York in line with rulings in several other states, including California, Florida and Kansas.
New York - Richfield (1993)
Scores of people from Richfield to Waterville, New York banded together in to try to stop construction of a 115 kV power line that the New York State Electric & Gas Corp. wants to build through the area. Over 100 people attended an information meeting in Richfield in January of 1993.
United States (1993)
By 1993 there were over 250 citizens groups devoted to the EMF issue.
United States (1993)
The Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club has adopted a policy on electromagnetic fields that includes the following provisions:
-utilities should redesign their transmission and distribution lines to reduce the magnetic fields by 30%;
-right-of-ways should be widened to reduce the magnetic fields along the edges to 10 mG or less;
-transmission or distribution lines near schools that emit magnetic fields above 2 mG should be redesigned to reduce the fields or moved farther away.
Rhode Island (1990-1994)
On October 9, 1990 the town council of East Greenwich, RI, banned all new power lines above 60 kV for three years. The ordinance came about in response to widespread citizen concern about the EMFs from proposed new 345 kV and 115 kV lines which the Narragansett Electric Company plans to run through parts of East Greenwich. This is the first moratorium on power line construction in the U.S.
Rhode Islanders for Safe Power (RISP) pushed for the three- year moratorium because of the need for further research on the health effects of EMFs and because it "was the least noxious formula and most likely to be sustained by the PUC," RISP's Ed Seiler told Microwave News.
The nearby towns of Coventry and Foster have followed East Greenwich's lead by passing moratoriums of their own, and a statewide ban on high voltage power lines was proposed during the 1991 legislative session.
In 1994 two bills requiring that all new power lines above 69 kV be built underground was vetoed by Rhode Island Governor Bruce Sundlum after years of fighting to get the legislation passed. However, the battle continues, as over 2,500 letters and postcards have been sent to the Governor and a "Powerline Rally" was held on August 23, 1994 to oppose overhead power lines.
British Columbia - Burnaby & Vancouver (1994)
The Vancouver, B.C., and Burnaby B.C. city councils are planning to file a complaint with the BC Utilities Commission in December, 1994 requesting the undergrounding of the Boundary Road transmission lines. These 230 kV lines were installed in 1947 by the BC Electric Company, which promised at that time that the lines would be temporary. A decision on the complaint, heard on March 27 & 28, 1995 is expected within a few months. Among the participants at the hearing were Citizens Against Transmission Towers (CATT).
British Columbia - North Delta (1994)
On March 22, 1994 North Delta residents turned out in force (over 200) to oppose a BC Tel/Mobility proposal to build a cellular telephone tower (monopole). Noise and visual pollution and traffic safety, along with electromagnetic radiation were objected to. The discussions concluded when the BC Tel/Mobility spokesperson announced that the proposal would be rescinded immediately.
British Columbia - North Delta (1994)
On October 4, 1994 the Coalition to Reduce Electropollution held a public meeting to deal with health concerns related to two power lines through the community. A petition requesting that the lines be reconfigured to reduce EMFs to save levels is now being circulated.
British Columbia - South Delta (1994)
On May 5, 1994 the Coalition to Reduce Electropollution held a public meeting, attended by over 50 people, on the South Delta power lines. A petition asking that the lines be reconfigured to reduce the health risk was circulated and the municipality was asked to declare an immediate moratorium on new construction on the right-of- way.
California - El Cajun (1994)
A cancer cluster and high EMF readings have raised concerns among staff at the Grossmont College Library in El Cajun, California. The San Diego Union Tribune reported on March 7, 1994: "Faced with growing concern over cancer deaths and other illnesses among Grossmount College Library employees, administrators yesterday promised a high- priority, open-minded investigation into reports of high electromagnetic field readings in the aging facility".
At its fall 1993 meeting, the Environmental Committee of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities initiated a process which will establish a common policy on preventive measures regarding electromagnetic fields. After analyzing the results of questionnaires sent to all Canadian municipalities the federation will elaborate a common policy to protect their residents.
The Citizens Coalition for Responsible Power, Inc., applauded Florida Power`s decision to abandon the proposed Lake Tarpon to Kathleen 500 kV transmission line project and to pursue more cost- effective and environmentally sensitive solutions to the projected need for power.
"We are thrilled that after ten years of battling this project, we will finally be able to work with Florida Power and reach a solution that is acceptable to them, the residents of our community, and the environment," said Nancy Flemming, Advisor to the Board of Citizens Coalition for Responsible Power.
A 2,000 signature petition urging EMF epidemiological studies be conducted was sent to the Japanese government in May of 1994. Readings of 200 mG have been measured in some Japanese residential neighbourhoods. Little EMF research has been done in Japan, and what has been done is shrouded in secrecy. Recently residents have opposed a proposed new power line in the Tokyo area, requesting that it be rerouted.
Census Bureau employees in Maryland are suspicious that electromagnetic radiation may be responsible for a cluster of up to 20 brain tumours among the staff. A magnetic field survey conducted by Federal Occupational Health found magnetic fields of 4 to 8 mG throughout the Census Bureau offices and much higher fields near many types of electrical equipment.
Maryland - Baltimore County (1994)
Citizens in the Falls Road corridor of Baltimore County, Maryland are outraged over the Zoning Commissions decision to grant Baltimore Gas & Electric Company`s (BG&E) request for a Special Exception and Zoning Variance enabling the public utility to purchase property in a residentially zoned area and build a 20,000 square foot high voltage electrical substation. A group of concerned citizens known as "Friends of the Ridge" have joined together to protect the rights of homeowners in Baltimore County. Friends of the Ridge concerns include: the numerous studies linking electromagnetic fields to increased risk of childhood leukemia, breast cancer and Alzheimer`s disease; the attraction these substations may be to adolescents and teenagers, fearing injury to children; and the impact these structures have on property values.
In Nuevo Leon, Mexico, a group of citizens objected to the construction of a 400 kV distribution line being built in conjunction with a project being coordinated by Industrial Worthington, an American company. After the activists were told the lines would not be built due to their protests, construction began and the activists camp was destroyed by police who arrested two of the protesters.
United States (1994)
The January 1994 cover story of the American Bar Association Journal was entitled "Why Electromagnetic Field Litigation Could Be The Next Asbestos". The author pointed out that "presently, more studies exist that appear to link EMF exposure to an increased risk of cancer than existed linking asbestos exposure to an increased risk of cancer at a similar embryonic stage of asbestos litigation". Litigation concerning EMF exposure is being filed at a brisk rate and appears sure to dwarf the asbestos claims of the past decade. It even has its own journal, EMF Litigation News, which is published monthly.
Current litigation includes: a suit alleging fraud against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for failure to warn of EMF health effects when it sold Michael and Jacqueline Keogh a parcel of land in California near power lines in 1980; a suit against Consolidated Edison of New York by Stuart and Barbara Schirota seeking $700,000, the market value of their property, as well as consequential damages caused by the presence of EMFs emitted by a high voltage power line; and a suit by Melissa Bullock, and her mother Suzanne, against Northeast Utilities and Connecticut Light & Power Co. alleging that EMFs from power lines and a substation near their home in Guilford, CT, are responsible for Melissa's brain cancer.
Since 1985 more than 100 EMF lawsuits have been launched in the United States.
Ontario - Ottawa (1989-1995)
A dispute between an Ottawa, Ont. Housing Co-op (Fairlea Park Housing Cooperative) and Ontario Hydro has resulted in a November 16, 1995 Ontario Assessment Board reduction of approximately 5% of taxes for housing units bordering Ontario Hydro corridors. This and a previous ruling in the Bridlewood community in Kanata, near Ottawa, establishes in Ontario law that hydro lines do reduce property values.
During the summer of 1989 Co-op members were informed of the installation of a line of 500 kV lines and accompanying 180' towers by the loud announcement of huge borers and helicopters appearing in their southern easement. A number of co-op members became concerned about this. With the assistance of Eastern Ontario members on Ontario Hydro's Board, overtures were made to establish a collaborative and participatory pilot project in the Eastern Region, which would have included Bridelwood. Co-op members had felt treated as adversaries, from the start and thought that a change was vital to the way Ontario Hydro dealt with its neighbours. Unfortunately, Ontario Hydro's Board did not take up the project. Ontario Hydro was, however, willing to implement an $85,000 landscaping plan.
ALERT, Alliance to Limit Electromagnetic Radiation Today, with over 2,000 active members, is working to educate Connecticut residents about the health hazards of EMFs. ALERT has instituted monitoring of EMF levels around the state, are working to have power lines relocated, and are participating in a property devaluation suit. The group assisted in drafting new legislation, signed into law in June of 1994, that gives consumers a voice for the first time to counter the massive lobbying effort of Northeast Utilities.
In 1993 ALERT launched an appeal against a 15.3 mile high- voltage line between Bridgeport and Norwalk which was dismissed by the state Supreme Court. However on April 24, 1995 the state Appellate Court over-turned that decision and ruled that the organization will be able to present its case in court.
EMF-Link (Information Ventures, Inc.) reports that a complaint filed in Dade County 11th Circuit Court in January 1994 claimed that EMF exposure from a Florida Power & Light distribution line and transformer near the Coral Gables home of Leonard and Elsa Glazer led to Elsa's death from complications of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and to Leonard's own diagnosis of CML. In October 1995 the case was continued until mid-January 1996.
South East Queensland Against Eastlink (SEQAF)has united together to fight against a proposed power line. The easement traverses the headwaters of the most important agricultural region in Australia, the Murray Darling Basin, and the last 50 km crosses, Brisbane's "salad bowl", an intensive horticultural region. The line will require the removal of between one and two million trees along the easement and access roads. Sarah Moles of SEQAY wrote in Network News:
"In spite of there being many viable alternatives to Eastlink - some of which offer solutions to other serious environmental problems - no cost benefits analysis for Eastlink has ever been made public. Nor has any account been taken of environmental or social impacts. We believe that the social costs, particularly those arising from electromagnetic field radiation (EMR) health effects, will be a considerable burden in the future when compansation claims are made, a burden that our community cannot afford."
California - San Diego (1995)
The Peninsula at Del Mar Highland Homeowners Association has filed a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission regarding construction of an electrical substation next to Torrey Pines High School. The homeowners contend that the substation was built without consideration of the adverse impact on human health, public safety and property values resulting from increased levels of electromagnetic fields.
The California Alliance for Utility Safety and Education (CAUSE) and the Utility Consumer Action Network (UCAN) have been appointed as Intervenors.
Hong Kong (1995)
The Black Point Routing Objection Association, which represents a large number of residents of Clear Water Bay and Fei Ngo Shan areas in Hong Kong, is objecting to the construction of a high voltage line built by the China Light and Power Company metres away from their homes.
FACTS (Folks for Appropriate Cellular Tower Sites), a group of citizens of Great Barrington, Massachusets, is opposing the construction of a cellular tower on the campus of Simon`s Rock of Bard College. FACTS concerns include: aesthetics, property values, and above all, health due to increasing research pointing to immune system breakdown, proliferation of cancer cells such as leukemia, lymphomas and brain cancers and behaviourial and learning disturbances.
Michigan - Farmington Hills (1995)
Farmington Hills, Michigan, imposed moratoriums on cell towers pending the development of local safety guidelines.
Michigan - Warren (1995)
Citing EMF health risks, residents of Warren, Michigan convinced the local planning commission to deny Cellular One's request to site a cellular tower near senior citizens housing. The planning commission subsequently adopted a proposal requiring such installations to be at least 300 feet from residentially-zoned property.
On February 8, 1995 Paul Brodeur appeared before the Natural Resources Committee of Nebraska on behalf of People Organized for Wise Energy Representation (POWER). The EMF citizen activist group is opposing a proposed 96 mile 345 kV Pauline-Moore transmission line.
New Jersey - Princeton (1995)
Magnetic fields as high as 5.9 mG measured in the Princeton Public Library have been attributed to adjacent underground transmission lines. The Princeton Citizens Coalition on EMF requested that Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) release grid maps with the locations of electric facilities in Princeton so that the citizens group could review the maps with local public health officials and municipal engineers for other potential sources of EMF exposure.
Coalition director Bill Ravanesi told the EMF Clearinghouse that the group has been turned down in their request to view the grid maps, and the utility has not responded to their request to place a set of grid maps on deposit with the local health department where interested parties could review the maps by appointment.
New Zealand (1995)
Concerns about health risks from cellular towers are being raised in New Zealand. On November 18, 1995, The Environmental Protection for Children Trust, the Christchurch City Council and the Canterbury Regional Council sponsored what they billed as the first comprehensive scientific symposium in the world to debate health hazards for people living in the vicinity of cellular sites.
Oregon - Umatilla (1995)
Residents of Umatilla, Oregon are concerned about the path of a proposed new 500 kV transmission line, the Hermiston Power Project (HPP), that would be located within an existing 70 foot wide country road. The proposed path avoids condemnation actions to acquire new right-of-way from landowners on the west side who are concerned about the impacts of the elevated magnetic fields, visual degradation and possibly noise from the line. If their efforts to reroute the line are not successful they may be forced into a lawsuit involving property value loss as a result f inverse condemnation.
Rhode Island - East Greenwich (1995)
Residents of East Greenwich, Rhode Island have reached an out-of-court settlement with Narragansett Electric in their lawsuit over a 115 kV line proposed for their neighbourhood. The residents had asked that the lines be buried. The utility agreed to move the lines 125 feet further away, resulting in EMF levels similar to those that would result from burying the lines in the original location.
Texas - Houston (1995)
In March of 1995 a lawsuit was filed against both Houston Lighting & Power and the Electric Power Research Institute, on behalf of eleven families with children suffering from cancer. The suit charges both the power company and EPRI with "fraudulent concealment" of the carcinogenic nature of the fields "that secretly and silently invaded their homes."
The Pend Oreille County Chapter of the EMR Alliance has asked the Cusick City Council to take action on an ordinance the group proposed in August 1995 in conection with their concerns about the north-south transmission line project under way by the Pend Oreille Public Utility District. The ordinance is modeled after one recently approved by the City of Camus, Washington, and would prohibit the construction of overhead transmission lines within the city limits of Cusick and require any future power facility construction to follow prudent avoidance measures.
West Virginia (1991-1996)
Residents of Mercer, Monroe, and Summers Counties in West Virginia have been fighting Appalachian Power Company's (now known by its parent company's name, AEP--American Electric Power) proposed 765 kV line since 1991. The residents are concerned about clear cutting, herbicide use, health risks, noise pollution, water pollution, impact on livestock and wildlife, damage to scenic views and historic sites, and a poorer quality of life.
Despite an AEP/APCo big money campaign, grassroots opposition to the project has been effective. APCo's first Public Service Commission (PSC) application for the line was withdrawn in September 1992, and a second application was dismissed by the PSC on May 10, 1993. AEP is expected, however, to refile a West Virginia application during 1996.
The Gauss Network, established in 1993, is concerned with EMF problems caused by high voltage power lines and other sources of EMF radiation. With 600 members it publishes a newsletter, holds meetings and seminars and lobbies the government on EMF issues.
In 1995, at the invitation of the Gauss Network author Paul Brodeur traveled throughout Japan lecturing on the EMF issue.
Local protests have increased recently in Japan. In 1995 residents opposed a proposal to increase the voltage of power lines in Nara prefecture from 77 kV to kV.
In 1996 residents in Itakura-cho, Fukushima prefecture protested against Tokyo Electric`s plans to build a 1,000 kV transmission line, and Hiroshima residents opposed a proposal to build an underground substation.
United Kingdom - England (1994-1996)
EMF-Link (Information Ventures, Inc.) reports that legal aid for three families from Birmingham, North Yorkshire, and Manchester, England was restored by the London High Court legal aid board to support their efforts to litigate for compensation for their children's' cancers that they claim are due to exposure to EMFs from the electrical transmission system. The families were originally awarded the legal aid in 1994, but appeals by the National Grid led to revocation of the aid in mid-1995.
The case will go to trial in the next two years with each family seeking up to 100,000 pounds. One claimant, Ray Studholme, seeks compensation for his 13-year-old son Simon's death from leukemia that Studholme attributes to EMF exposure from a sub- station near his home in Manchester. Martyn Day, attorney for the families, is quoted in a report by Andrew Woodcock of PA News as saying, "Although I accept the legal right of the National Grid to try to stop legal aid being granted, I think there is a moral issue here and I believe it was quite wrong of them to try to prevent these families taking these cases through to trial."
California - Orange County (1995-1996)
Two lawsuits have been filed in relation to a Grubb & Ellis real estate office with high electromagnetic fields, The suits deal with exposures between 1980 and 1994 in an office in Orange County, CA .The office, located directly above three 12 kV electrical transformers, had EMF readings as high as 190 mG, which were reduced to 32 mG after some of the electrical equipment was moved in 1992. An epidemiological analysis showed that the longer employees worked there, the greater their liklihood of developing cancer.
The Electromagnetic Radiation Alliance of Australia is concerned about the increasing number of scientific studies showing a positive link between exposure to electromagnetic fields and adverse health effects. The alliance is also concerned with the plight of individuals who have developed electrical hypersensitivity (ES). Health Action Alliance International is another Australian organization concerned with the EMF issue. Health Action International is establishing a database at Coffs Harbour that will include all known health hazards such as chemicals, toxic products, as wealth as EMFs.
California - Los Angeles (1996)
According to the Los Angeles Times, Roughly 2,000 new antennas are to be mounted throughout Los Angeles, California in the next several years. The antennas will service personal communications services - a digital form of cellular that can handle more call volume more reliably and cheaply than traditional analog cellular technology.
Local residents have concerns ranging from health hazards to community development. "They're ugly and they're a nuisance," said Tim Sanders, president of the Eagle Rock Association, which successfully fought PacBell over a proposed antenna site in the middle of a strip the neighborhood was hoping to turn into a pedestrian mall.
Others are concerned about the antennas' potential for physical harm. "I'm scared about the effects of low-level electromagnetic emissions," Shelley Ward, an office manager in a downtown building next to a proposed LA Cellular site, told Associate City Zoning Administrator Albert Landini at a hearing. Wireless companies contend there are no harmful effects from radio frequency emissions.
California - San Diego (1996)
The California Alliance for Utility Safety and Education (CAUSE) has filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego and the City Council for violations of the Brown Act and the City Charter. In a closed session the city released the San Diego Gas and Electric Company from commitments to spend $200 million undergrounding overhead power lines. In exchange the city received $1.4 million and a promise of $2 million at a later date.
California - San Francisco (1996)
On September 26, 1996, the San Francisco planning department passed an 18-month moratorium on placing any new wireless transmitters in residential districts. The ban gives time for the city`s general plan to be amended to include guidelines for siting wireless facilities. It was passed shortly after the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance establishing a commission to review the city`s telecommunications policy, including specifics on the siting of wireless antennas.
"There has been massive opposition from industry to this plan," June Gutfleish, a staff member with the Board of Supervisors, told Microwave News. The primary reason for the commission - which has been in the works for three years - was health, she said.
Illinois - Aurora (1996)
In February of 1996 residents of Aurora, Illinois received news that PCS PrimeCo was proposing to erect a 15 story tall cellular tower near a school, church, parks and homes. Over 50 community members armed with a 600 name petition attended a public hearing on the issue and were successful in obtaining at least a temporary denial of the application.
EMRIN, the ElectroMagnetic Radiation Information Network, was recently formed in Ireland.
In August 1996 it was announced that the Japanese trade ministry will provide financial aid to manufacturers developing technology to reduce electromagnetic wave emissions from electronic devices or to shield electronic equipment from such waves.
The move comes at a time when consumers are becoming increasingly vocal over the possibly harmful effects of electromagnetic waves on the human body and the malfunctions they can cause in vital, high-tech equipment, officials said.
Missouri - Joplin (1996)
The Empire District Electric Company in Joplin, Missouri has announced plans to construct a 161 kV transmission line in the front yards of a fully developed residential neighbourhood on a 35 foot right-of-way. This means that most of the homes will be within 40-50 feet of the centre of the right-of-way and some of the children's bedrooms will be within 50-60 feet of the right-of-way. Virtually all of their front yards are consumed by the right-of-way.
Led by the local medical community, residents are protesting the plans. The Joplin Globe reported on October 4, 1996 that members of Citizens Concerned for Our Children's Future plan to picket the company's headquarters at 602 Joplin Ave. A member of the group, Dr. Jeffrey Greenberg, a Joplin neuro-surgeon, said: "Our concerns first and foremost, are potential health risks to our community and its children. The fact that considerable doubts have been raised by scientists and physicians over the world, concerning electromagnetic field exposure, warrants further discussion and investigation prior to placement of high-voltage lines through residential areas."
New York - Harrison (1996)
Citizen activists in Harrison, N.Y., won a legal fight to set strict guidelines for installing cellular towers and antennas.
New York - New York City (1996)
The EMR Alliance and the Cellular Phone Task Force are opposing a proposal to grant communications companies the right to erect 3,000 transmission antennas on lamp posts throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
In a movement that mirrors a groundswell of international opposition to such cellular transmission facilities, the Cellular Phone Taskforce is alerting the New York community to the development of this dangerous situation. The Cellular Phone Taskforce has collected in excess of three hundred newspaper articles that have reported on citizen opposition to the placement of cellular facilities in the past two years alone. Numerous cities have passed laws banning or restricting cellular transmission antennas pending further research into this very serious issue. Dobbs Ferry, Greenburgh, Mamaroneck and Pound Ridge, New York are among them.
The EMR Alliance receives dozens of inquiries each week from individuals and grassroots organizations concerned about the health effects, as well as esthetics and property devaluation, resulting from close proximity to cellular transmission facilities.
In December 1996, in co-operation with the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the National EMR Alliance published Your Community Guide to Cellular Phone Towers to educate the public and assist them in opposing the placement of such facilities in their communities.
Priest Father Shay Cullen and a colleague Lowell Maglaqui were beaten by Philippine police on June 13, 1996 after being arrested for protesting the contruction of high-voltage lines near a home for destitute children in Olangapo, according to statements he made to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
In Northern Spain residents have organized the Cantabrian Association of People Concerned by high power lines (ACAAT) to fight proposed 400 kV lines. The residents, mostly farmers, have held demonstrations and taken the matter to the courts.
Washington - Central Washington University (1996)
Citizens of the community and students have joined together to form Citizens for a Beautiful Community to oppose a new 230 kV power line that Puget Power constructed through the university campus during the 1996 spring break. They have asked to have the hearing process reopened so that they may present evidence regarding the aesthetic and property devaluation effects of the lines as well as the health effects from the electromagnetic fields emitted by the lines.
Washinton - San Juan County (1996)
In September 1996 San Juan County Commissioners approved a six month moratorium on all new cellular phone tower applications after hearing testimony from local residents that the towers may be a health risk and hurt propertt values.
Washington - Seattle (1996)
The Seattle Post Intelligence reported on March 1, 1995 that neighbourhood groups persuaded the Snohomish County Council last week to nix a proposed US West Cellular tower near Edmonds, and others are staging a rally today to challenge an antenna the company wants to place atop a Ravenna apartment house.
"Maybe the scientific verdict in not quite in", says Ravenna`s George Curtis, whose living room is directly under the proposed rooftop antenna. "But that`s exactly why this doesn`t belong near people`s homes."
Curtis, the building manager, said the mostly low-income tenants don`t use cell phones. In his view, their health is being sacrificed for the benefit of a company that makes money on a luxury service.
New York - Stony Point (1992-1997)
The Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment (SPACE) is opposing the placement of an electrical substation in a residential area of Stony Point, NY. Their objections are based on health concerns, the potential for increased EMFs. The location is also within a few yards of a 16 inch active gas main and fire is a big concern. A daycare center is located nearby and the impact on property values is also a concern to the neighbors.
The utility company (Orange & Rockland Utilities) applied to the town in 1992 for a special permit to build the substation and their request was turned down by the town board. After that decision, O&R sued the town and the court's reversed the town's decision, granting the special permit. Now the utility is proceeding with their application before the town planning board.
Ontario - Windsor (1996-1997)
The South Walkerville Neighbourhood Coalition, which is comprised of residents living in the South Walkerville neighbourhood of Windsor, Ontario, are concerned about plans by Ontario Hydro, in conjunction with the Windsor Utilities Commission, Chrysler Canada Ltd., Ford Motor Company of Canada and General Motors of Canada Ltd., to run an overhead 115KV transmission line directly adjacent to a residential area, as close as 25 metres to at least 100 homes.
The residents are concerned about the health effects of the electromagnetic fields from the lines, as well as the effects of chemical solvents sprayed on the lines to clean them, the possibility of a line coming down, children playing in the area, the highly flammable properties of the line, etc. They have proposed alternative routes or the undergrounding of the lines.
This struggle has a successful conclusion. Through persistence, they were able to convince Ontario Hydro to keep the power line at a safe distance from their residential area and to run it underground using state of the art technology.
Many councils around Australia have established policies on the siting of mobile phone towers. The first such policy was devised by Sutherland Shire Council in January 1997 and this has since been adopted by many councils around Australia and modified by a few, to the point where 300 metres has become something of a "defacto" standard.
Sutherland Council's policy is as follows requires that towers be sited at least 300 metres from any residence, school, childcare centre, hospital or aged care centre, unless annual average exposure at nearest residence is less than 0.2 +/- 0.02 uW/cm2
A much stricter policy is Wollahra Council's "Code on Mobile Phone Towers & Public Health". This provides that "Councils shall oppose all proposed activities within a four kilometre radius of sensitive areas. In this context 'sensitive areas' include schools, hospitals, day care centre,s nurseries, kindergartens, aged care centres and residences and the like."
In October 1997 the NSW Local Government and Shires Association passed a resolution stating that all councils should adopt planning controls that: limit the location of mobile telephone base stations (and other commercial electromagnetic emitting facilities) to greater than 500 metres from residences, schools, child care centres, hospitals and nursing homes; require that emissions be no more than 0.001 microwatts per square centimetre; and that the owners of mobile telephone base stations monitor emissions in accordance with this level and report to the appropriate council at least yearly on levels achieved.
An article in the August 10, 1997 Sunday Herald Sun entitled "Cancer watch on mobile phones" reports that: Legal giant Slater and Gordon is preparing for action against mobile phone makers on behalf of people who claim to have contracted cancers or other illnesses from regular mobile phone use. Company partner Andrew Grech has confirmed researchers are collating details of cases against mobile phone manufactures overseas that could support claims by Australians. While no Australian case is thought to be imminent, one or more was almost certain within the next few years, Mr Grech said."
In South Australia, the communications transnational VODAFONE has had more opposition than anywhere else on the planet (from one of their press releases earlier this year).
For example, a local Residents' Action Committee, in Fulham Gardens (just a normal suburb) has blocked completion of the main base station planned for the whole state by keeping a picket line going. These are ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. That is why the company has resorted to some VERY dirty tricks and that is why the residents have gone international. All the news is there at their Web site.
California - San Francisco (1997)
After four months of activisim and a weekly picket line that continued for nine weeks, the Noe Valley Families Against the Antennas has caused PacBell and Cellular One to drop plans to install six cellular phone antennas in the steeple of their neighborhood Presbyterian church. They were active on every front, including the gathering of nine hundred signatures opposing installation of the antennas.
They are now in the midst of shifting their focus to demanding a city-wide telecommunication plan (they now have an interim plan that permits violation of basic zoning laws and installation of cellular phone antennas particularly on churches, schools, and hospitals), as well as laying the research groundwork to oppose the up-coming increase in exposures due to the increased transmission needs by digital television. The city-wide plan would delve into the banned issues of health and safety and until such a plan is instituted would presumably lead to controls prohibiting further cellular phone antennas until hearings and environmental impact statements have been completed.
Concerns over cellular phone towers and health are being raised in Germany. A letter in Network News points out that more than 200 citizen action groups against cellular towers have been founded in Germany.
Italy - Assisi (1997)
ENEL, the Italian electric company, plans to run a series of giant towers carrying high tension power lines through the hills surrounding Assisi, where St. Francis walked. The projected "elettrodotto" of 150,000 volts would extend 25 kilometers from Pianello (near perugia) to Nocera Umbra passing near Rocca S. Angelo, S. Gregorio, Valfabbrica, Porziano, and S. Maria di Lignano. It would cross hills and valleys of farmland and woods, past medieval villages and monasteries -- an area already suffering the devastation of violent earthquakes this year.
Comitato "Difesa Vallata Di Porziano" is attempting to stop this powerline before the project has been approved by the regional government. They have organized and continue to organize well publicized encounters to increase public awareness of this issue. Many Italians are unaware of the serious health risks associated with living in close proximity to an lectromagnetic field and ENEL is attempting to get the project approved without informing the population. In Italy we see new houses being built right under such high voltage lines.
Massachusets - Boston (1997)
More than 40 researchers and faculty members at Harvard's School of Public Health have signed a petition urging state officials to block Sprint from turning on a new enhanced cellular phone network that opponents say poses a health threat.
The petition, cites ``the biological plausibility of negative health impacts'' from the system's pulsed digital waves and calls for ``a full review and determination of its safety by the scientific community.'' In recent years, a number of studies have suggested that cell-phone-type microwave radiation could cause brain cancer, eye damage, asthma, and lymphoma in mice.
Nevada - Henderson (1997)
A citizen coalition formed in Henderson, Nevada was sucessful in its fight against high EMFs from a planned power line between two substations. The coalition brought expert witnesses before the planning commission that testified about the health risks as well as the differences in EMF levels for overhead and buried ines. A mediator was appointed and a decision to bury the lines and reduce the EMF levels to safe levels was agreed to.
Nevada - Reno (1997)
Residents of Reno, Nevada, and neighbouring Washoe county are opposing a 345 kV powerline proposed by Sierra Pacific. The route will run adjacent to Hwy 395 from Alturas, CA to Reno, NV. The route follows a major entrance into Reno
The 130 foot tall, 8 foot diameter(at the base) towers are adjacent to the highway and the street in front of residents homes and will conflict with the view of the beautiful mountains that surround them. The towers will be rated at 17 to 20 mG with a 50 foot easement. The original route which went over the mountain was rated at 1.2 mG.
United Kingdom (1997)
An article in The Daily Mail reports that: "A mobile phone company is being sued for millions of pounds following the death of a heart surgeon from a brain tumour. Dr. Dean Rittmann's family has filed a civil suit against Motorola plc claiming his illness was caused by radiation emitted from his phone. The test case follows disturbing studies into the potential health risks of using handsets. If it succeeds, it could have devastating implications for the mobile phone industry worldwide and a London firm of lawyers has already indicated it is preparing cases of its own.
"Dr. Rittmann, who lived in Texas with his wife Ellen and four children, died aged 41 in October 1994, following a brief illness. He was a heart transplant surgeon in Houston and had been fit and healthy until shortly before the tumour was diagnosed. Mrs. Rittmann is suing Motorola and two other firms, NEC and General Electric. Her husband owned a Motorola phone for several years and had also used models from the other two companies."
In Venezuela opponents are calling for a revision of a powerline project due to start in next month in the Canaima Park World Heritage Site. The Pemon indians of Venezuela's Bolivar State have voiced their opposition to the plans to build high tension powerlines across their land and through the Sierra de Lema mountain range, and have stopped surveying work on several occasions. They have since written to the Director of the World Heritage Centre, Bernd von Doste, asking for help.
The powerline project is a high-level governmental mandate and Venezuela's environmental institutions - including INPARQUES, the National Institute of Parks, the agency responsible for managing the site - have been ordered to obey high-level policy.
Environmentalists have opposed the project on the grounds of its disastrous impact on the Park's ecosytems, its indigenous people and huge tourist potential, but also fear the installation of high-power electricity augurs the growing expansion of mining activities along Venezuela's border with Brazil. Damage by formal and informal sector mining operations to the Caroni and Paragua watersheds - essential to Venezuela's hydroelectric generation - has increased rapidly over the last decade, and more power will certainly facilitate larger operations in the region.
Greece - Athens (1988-1998)
In 1988 the Greek Electricity Company proposed to install a 400 kV high voltage line alongside existing 150 kV and 400 kV power lines that ran through the suburb of Kryoneri in Athens. Residents manage to avoid this for ten years but in 1998 the new lines were erected.
The following statement was made by the opponents of the power line: “We the residents of Kryoneri appealed the case in court; but the electricity company decided to go regardless our attempt to stall the works until the trial of the case was violently suppressed by an unprecedented operation of the police assisted by mob control forces. It must be mentioned that the government through the minister of Industry and Development Mrs Vasso Papandreou, misinforms the people that there no hazardous effects to our health, this contention is based on assurance made by scientists employed by the Electricity Company.”
British Columbia (1996-1998)
Residents have successfully prevented the proposed West Kootenay Power (WKP) transmission line from being built on the International Hike and Bike Trail. West Kootenay Power planned to remove the existing 60 kV transmission line from the Osoyoos Indian Band Reserve and have it replaced by a new 138 kV transmission line located on the west side of the Okanagan River right-of-way running parallel less than 10 feet from the International Hike and Bike Path, and within the close vicinity of local homes.
The residents are now in the midst of a second similar struggle to prevent the utility from erecting a new transmission line on another section of the International Hike and Bike Trail, also on the valley's river channel. A public hearing was held and both the regulatory agency (British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) and the utilty company (West Kootenay Power owned by Utilicorp of Kansas City) have now for the first time represented their official stance towards EMF. In short, they say, that there is no scientific conclusive proof that EMFs are not safe so they do not consider EMFs in their decision making. The struggle continues.
Alberta - Calgary (1997-1998)
In January of 1998 residents in the Calgary community of Oakridge were successful in their battle to remove a Cantel cellphone tower. Concerned about property values and health effects they formed CANT - Communities Against Neighbourhood Towers in October of 1997.
Committees were formed, a petition and a massive letter-writing campaign launched, alternate sites located and financial pledges obtained to pay for legal counsel. The group contacted local politicians and warned other communities.
In January of 1998 all the major players were brought together to attend a public meeting. Cantel's representative was the bull's-eye at the head table. Lesser targets included reps from the city, Industry Canada and Telus, the provincial phone company. The four local TV stations were there. This meeting was probably the turning point. Two weeks later, on January 28, Cantel agreed to relocate the tower to the top of a high-rise, two blocks from where it originally stood.
On March 11, Calgary's operations and environment committee adopted a formal process, the first of its kind in Canada, dealing with "residentially based telecommunications structures." A community-consultation process was agreed on that will force cellphone carriers to follow predefined steps involving community-association executive members, city planning and building departments, local residents, the alderman and Member of Parliament. Calgary has recognized the community's role in what goes on, or up, in a neighbourhood. But carriers in the rest of Canada are still free to put towers where they please, the decision being made by corporations and private landowners.
British Columbia - Saanich (1997-1998)
In late 1997 Microcell Connexions built a 60' cellular tower in the Municipality of Saanich (just outside of Victoria, B.C.). In the early spring of 1998 the neighbors became aware than an application would be made for a permanent tower. Eventually (August 31 1998) the request came before city council. The application was to move the temporary tower to a more permanent location closer to one of the concerned neighbors. It would seem that the company was so confident in having the tower application approved that they installed the power feed/pole in the general area of where the permanent tower was to be placed.
In preparation for the city council meeting: a petition was organized and presented to council and a video of a CBC program (Undercurrents) of the potential health effects of cellular phones was presented to each member of council. At the meeting people directly affected spoke with passion on the lack of process and not being informed of the structure being built in their neighborhood. At the end of the evening - council did not approve the application for the permanent tower.
Finally after continous pressure from residents it was announced that the temporary tower would be removed. Microcell is still seeking a permanent location for the proposed tower.
An important report about high-power lines prepared by "El Defensor del Pueblo" was issued in eary 1997. "El Defensor del Pueblo" is a prestigious and independent Spanish Institution reporting to the Congress of Deputies whose task is similar to the Ombudsman in the United Kingdom.
This report represents a comprehensive "state of the art" of the power-lines issue and contains scientific and regulatory arguments calling to move as soon as possible all the high-power lines away from residential areas, schools and public gardens. The entire document has 32 pages in spanish and calls for new regulations preventing the possible health risks derived from the proximity to power lines.
The report has been made at the request of an Association of residents living in the proximity of a 220 Kv high power line in the northwest surrounding area of Madrid that has been requesting for years the removal of 220 Kv pylons and wires placed very close to the houses and all over 5 Km of the neighbourhood. The report contains a specifc recommendation on this particular issue: "El caso Aravaca".]
Since then the regional government of Madrid has issued new regulations prohibiting the construction of new buildings and residential areas near power transmission lines, as well as aiming to eliminate the existing ones over the metropolitan area of Madrid.
Residents of Monterrey are opposing 115 kV high voltage lines being built in their area. According to a spokesman for the protestors: “We have a social movement, we are 40 people approximately - we were in a pacific"Planton" 21 days the 24 hours of each day, with posters rejecting the electrical installation (high voltage) so near our homes. I do not know the word in English, but Plantón means to stay in the same place 24 hours avoiding that the workers from electrical companies start their jobs, I mean, the works for installing the towers or posts in Spanish they call them "tronco conicos de 115KV". But remember that our pacific protest was not only by the transmission lines, we were protesting also for the electrical plant and substation near our houses. The Economical Power won and we lost. Even worse the responsible of the Health Secretary of the Government published a letter saying that the electromagnetic fields are not dangerous, can you imagine, so they do what they want".
New Zealand (1998)
Residents of Ouruhia, New Zealand, led by Dr Neil Cherry, Regional Councillor, agricultural meteorologist and electromagnetic radiation researcher, are extremely concerned about health problems caused by radio towers in the area. The source of concern is towers erected in 1980 and 1988. The 1980 137.2m (450 ft) tower emits AM radio waves, and since 1990, 12000 watts of FM have also been transmitting from the tower.
FM towers are usually sited on a high point so that residential properly are well below the FM beam. There is no high point at Ouruhia. It's all as flat as a pancake. The beams of course, do not stop at Ouruhia. They travel on across Christchurch, down the coast through Brighton, across Redwood, up the Kaikoura coast, narrow at the start, and widening out the further they are away. Small relay towers boost their power along the way.
Since the erection of the towers, and particularly since the introduction of the increased FM transmissions, residents claim a steady increase in serious health problems. These include wide-spread M.E./CFS, heart attacks, bypasses and general heart problems; bone pain and inexplicable deaths. "The health problems at Ouruhia, including leukaemia, depression and asthma, are consistent with international and national studies," Dr. Neil Cherry says. "Of especial significance", he thinks, "is that nearly everyone feels better when they are away from the area, and worse when at home."
The residents want the radio towers moved, and their health problems acted on. They have taken their concerns to the highest level and received little official help. In 1996 Mike Moore MP and Neil Cherry wrote to the Minister of Health asking for a survey. That was ignored. In 1997 they wrote again. They were told that ill effects are not proven and refused an inquiry or funding for a health survey.
Ohio - Layton (1998)
Layton, Ohio residents fear a Utah Power substation will increase their risk of cancer. More than 100 residents showed up at a planning commission meeting in July 1998 to protest plans to build a new substation . Despite waving signs that read, "We want a safe neighborhood" and "Our proclamation . . . no substation," the planning commission approved Utah Power's plans. The residents have said they will appeal to the city council, and perhaps in court.
The residents are concerned that electromagnetic fields or EMF generated by the substation may cause cancer. Their concerns stem from research first begun in the early 1970s which indicates an association between childhood leukemia and exposure to electric and magnetic fields. They're also worried that one of their children might be electrocuted if he or she climbs over the substation's security fence.
United Kingdom - Wales (1998)
At the Cwmbran Magistrates Court, South Wales on May 5, 1998, a summons was issued under section 10 of the UK Consumer Protection Act, 1987 for Roger Coghill to bring a private criminal action against The Telephone Shop UK Ltd., a retail distributor of Orange and Motorola mobile phones.
His action claims that the distributors failed to affix labels to their handsets warning of possible health risks to users from prolonged conversations. Coghill presented scientific evidence to the Court that there could be a health risk from using mobile phones excessively. "The mobile phone is the most radiative consumer appliance yet invented", he told the media, "yet in use we normally hold it close to the brain, arguably the most sensitive organ of our body, for undetermined periods. These radiations have been shown in lab studies to cause doubled lymphoma in mice, breaks in DNA, loosening of the blood-brain barrier, cataracts, loss of memory, and lowered levels of a brain hormone, melatonin, vital for protection against cancer.
United States (1998)
A coalition of citizens and citizens associations has challenged FCC radio-frequency radiation rules it says are endangering public health and violating constitutional guarantees of free speech, due process and reserved state powers. The Seattle-based Ad-Hoc Association of Parties Concerned About The FCCs Radio Frequency Health and Safety Rules joined with the Communications Workers of America and its Washington State Local 7810 in an 80 page brief filed May 22, 1998, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A third challenger, Cellular Phone Taskforce of Brooklyn, New York, also filed a lengthy brief on behalf of electrosensitive persons specially vulnerable to microwave radiation. The Ad Hoc Association is represented by James R. Hobson of Donelan, Cleary, Wood and Maser in Washington D.C.
The legal remedies being sought include asking the court to: 1) Overturn the FCCs preemption authority as it interferes with state perogatives in matters of public health, safety and welfare. 2) Eliminate the regulatory standard which raises the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) levels for workers. 3) Order the FCC to prepare an environmental assessment according to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). 4) Require public access to information on carrier compliance with RF emission standards. 5) Remand the standards to the FCC and the health and safety agencies to be re-determined and account for scientific findings which show adverse health effects to biological systems when exposed to non-ionizing radiation.
In 1995 Ireland's only power supplier decided it was going to build a ring of steel around Cork Harbour, this ring consisted of 84, 220kV pylons. Their planning had been agreed by planning authorities. Then construction workers approached landowners to access land to begin work. This created outrage as nobody was aware of the plans or where the pylons were being build. Cork Anti-Pylon Residents Association (CARA) was set up to negotiate.
The last three years have proven more or less fruitless as far as progress is concerned. CARA put forward proposals including Doubling up existing lines and using a submarine cable (The most viable option). An "independant" commission was set up to assess the situation. The Power company came out shining and the People were "wrong". Then more negotiations, nobody was budging. Last year, 1998, the Power company said they were going ahead with the line. We said No. It still isn't built today (End of 1999). Various methods were used to prevent the line going ahead including People and Eco-Activists standing in front of Diggers and workers preventing any construction from taking place. We had their planning permission revoked using an old law. We are now in Ireland's High Court trying to prevent them from getting their planning permission back. When we stop this line it will be a precedent for Ireland, Europe and the World. You can follow the story at www.cobhantipylon.com.
United States (1997-1999)
Battles against the siting of cellular phone towers are taking place all over the United States, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connnecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississipi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. Internationally, battles are taking place such places as Australia, Austria, Ireland, and Lebanon. More details on these struggles are provided in Network News (Spring, Summer and Fall 1997 Issues), the newsletter of the EMR Alliance.
There are now over 300 moratoriums in place in the U.S. in connection with permitting and construction of wireless communication facilities (i.e. cell towers).
C.A.R.E. (Canyon Area Residents for the Environment) is opposing the location of nearly 600 transmission devices including 18 high power broadcast antennas in the The Lookout Mountain Antenna Farm located west of Denver, Colorado. They are petitioning the Federal Communcations Commission (FCC) against the renewal of the licences for the devices. The residents are concerned about the electromagnetic radiation from the devices.
3.350 families are located within 1 mile of this Antenna Farm, 1500 families live within 2 miles and many other families are located within range to receive electromagnetic radiation. The community includes home based businesses, full time homemakers, preschoolers, elementary school students and retired people who remain in the area of electromagnetic radiation 24 hours a day.
The residents point out that a safe alternative exists. On January 21, 1998, Squaw Mountain Communications, Inc. made a presentation to the Jefferson County Commissioners inviting the antennas to the Squaw Mountain location. This presentation established that the Squaw Mountain site would be a feasible alternative.
The latest news as of January 1999 is that without any environmental impact statements and without any real public review, Jefferson County Planning and Zoning allowed Channel 9 to put Doppler radar on Lookout Mtn. At least once every 90 seconds, a very powerful beam of EMR sweeps the Mountain neighborhood at the level of the main radar beam. The residents have seen many articles correlating radar to a variety of adverse health effects, ranging from cataracts to cancer.
There has never been an environmental impact statement done for any of the hundreds of electromagnetic devices on Lookout Mountain. Lookout Mountain is the most intense and complex electromagnetic environment in the country and now Jefferson County Planning has approved the Lake Cedar Group proposal that will more than double the amount of EMR in this residential neighborhood and has not gone through the required steps of consulting either it's County or State Health Departments.
In March of 1999 Dr. Hoffman, Director of the Colorado Department of Health, stated that he would recommend that the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) standard be used in this situation.
Some good news was received in July of 1999 when after public hearings, the Jefferson County Commissioners voted 3-0 against Lake Cedar Group's (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and channel 20) Supertower proposal for HDTV and FM transmitters on Lookout Mountain.
Florida - Boca Raton (1998-1999)
The community of Boca Raton, Florida, famous for one of the early EMF school cases is going after illegal cellular tower installations, with prompting from FACTS (Families for Appropriate Cellular Tower Siting).
Two illegally erected cellular towers in west Boca Raton and Lantana were removed by Omnipoint Communications Services after Palm Beach County started levying $250 per day fines on the illegal installations.
The City of Boca Raton is also litigating with BellSouth and PrimeCo regarding their illegal towers on school grounds. BellSouth is the most defiant of all. Last month Sprint relocated an illegal tower built 50 ft. from a house on an electrical line to an acceptable location to the homeowners association next to a maintenance shed of the gulf course.
The City Council approved an ordinance on January 26, 1999 that will allow towers on private school property, but not in downtown Boca Raton or public school property or most residential property. The ordinance also sensibly limits towers to 150 feet and encourages companies to share the towers.
The government is not above the laws it makes. That principle is at the heart of a stunning court judgment issued on February 23, 1999 that put an immediate halt to work on a massive Hydro-Quebec transmission line through the Eastern Townships.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Jeannine Rousseau ruled that cabinet decrees in early 1998 that paved the way for the power line were illegal, that work on the $104-million project must stop and that the citizens' group that has been fighting the project for a year be awarded $70,000 to help cover its legal costs.
Hydro-Quebec had pressed hard for the line after the 1998 ice storm revealed how vulnerable the power grid serving the Montreal area could be. In May of 1998 Hydro-Quebec President Andre Caille said completion of the 735-kilovolt line was essential to the safeguarding of Montreal's power supply.
Accordingly, in January and May of 1998, the provincial cabinet quickly passed a series of decrees to bypass normal environmental and zoning processes. In one case, the commission governing the protection of farmland provided an opinion on the suitability of the project in just 24 hours.
Running roughshod over the rules using the excuse of an emergency situation was out of line, Rousseau said in issuing a permanent injunction against the project. "The government must act in conformity with the laws," she wrote. "It cannot itself declare a crisis situation in order to ignore them. "It is the same for Hydro-Quebec."
For further information click here.
South Africa (1998-1999)
A Pretoria man is suing two cellphone companies for more than 500-million Rand because he developed a brain tumour which, he claims, was caused by his cellphone. Terry Hutchings, 47, is suing M-Tel and Vodac in his personal capacity and on behalf of "the citizens of South Africa" who have used cellphones and services manufactured, marketed or supplied by the two companies.
According to the particulars of the claim, Vodac and M-Tel are being held responsible for launching and issuing cellular phones and for causing transmission devices to be set up that emit a radio frequency which is known or ought to be known by them as being potentially harmful.
Hutchings is suing for 2.5-million Rand for pain and suffering, for the emotional trauma of dealing with the probability of premature death and leaving behind his wife and two young sons, and for not being able to provide the care and financial support to which he was accustomed before having the tumour removed.
He is suing for a further 500-million Rand on behalf of all people who have been adversely affected. He has asked the court to order that all cellphone suppliers issue warnings that their systems may be harmful to humans.
For further information click here.
The government of Antigua is pushing to extend a 69Kv power line (which already exists around part of the island ) another few miles . A group of concerned land owners who will be affected are trying to bring the dangers involved to the attention of all persons who the lines presently affect and to stop the proposed expansion . Antigua is only an 108 square mile Island and the residents have suggested that these power lines be put underground. The residents claim that the government wants to rise rough shod over the protests of its citizens and say that there is no threat . For more information contact Phillip Abbott.
The Electromagnetic Radiation Alliance Australia ( EMRAA ) has called for a ban on the advertising of mobile phones for children in the lead up to Christmas. The call comes in the wake of October advertisement by a prominent toy retailer for mobile phones with “no age limit”, featuring use by children.
“There is a great deal of scientific evidence that the radiation from mobile phones is dangerous to health and children are especially vulnerable,” said EMRAA spokesperson, Lyn McLean.
Just days ago US researchers announced results of a study which showed that children absorb up to 50% more radiation than adults because of their thinner skulls and smaller head size.
For more information contact EMRAA.
On December 9, 1999 The AustralianThe Senate agreed to a Senate inquiry into electromagnetic emissions (EME), particularly from mobile phones.
Democrats Telecommunications spokesperson, Senator Allison successfully moved to refer the matter to the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee, which she chairs. The inquiry will start in March 2000 and report in October that year.
Senator Lyn Allison said the inquiry will be a comprehensive review
* the latest research into public health risks of exposure to EME
* progress on the Federal Government's $4.5 million research fund.
* the role of government and industry in standard setting
Senator Allison said the inquiry is necessary because of the Federal Government's ongoing failure to ensure that public health issues are properly considered in standard setting for mobile phone emissions. The Minister for Communications and the industry refuse to acknowledge what most Australians know intuitively; that it is not just the heat from mobile phones that is a potential health risk.
Australia - Melbourne (1999)
Moreland City Council of Melbourne has recently produced a draft report: 'Strategy for Reducing Public Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields' that warns 'heath effects range from headaches to life-threatening cancers.' This council claims that "electromagnetic fields generated by electrical equipment, mobile phone towers and powerlines pose a serious public health risk."
They urge the public to "switch off mobile phones, avoid buying homes under powerlines, shift alarm clocks away from their heads at night, and turn off electric blankets before going to sleep to avoid exposure." This was reported in the Sunday Herald Sun on August 8, 1999.
Australia - Victoria (1999)
Residents of the southeastern part of Victoria have begun the battle to prevent a 500 to 600 megawatt transmission line marching across the countryside from 45 metre towers. This is one of the few areas in Victoria that does not as yet have pylons obstructing the view. While they are not opposed to underground transmission lines, the residents feel that the "best practises" option is not being seriously considered. The project is being called Basslink and will consist of a marine DC cable linking the offshore State of Tasmania to mainland Australia. The length of the cable will be similar to some of the longest in the world if not becoming the longest.
There are 3 route options available to the consortium that will build this link.Two are over/under-ground lines from the marine cable to the existing grid, and the third is a more direct link from the marine cable to the transmission grid. There is strong public support for the third option as being the "best practises" one even though it is considered the most expensive one due to the slight increase in marine cabling required. But when around 1200 to 1300 concerned local residents jam into a public hall with a capacity of around 900 - with not a single person appearing to support the overhead pylon proposal - residents hope to convince the Basslink project people and the two state and the federal governments, that the cheapest cost option may end up being the most expensive one in terms of human and animal health risks, property devaluations, and income loss through a productivity downturn in both the dairy and tourist industry.
For information contact Daryl Reeves.
California - San Francisco (1999)
At their monthly on January 19, 1999 the San Francisco Coalition of Neighborhoods (SFCN), comprising about 30 neighborhood groups, voted to pass an “emergency resolution” introduced by members of CCWTI (the California Council on Wireless Technology Impacts), through the Mira Belle Neighborhood Improvement Club. The resolution supports the Vienna Resolution, thereby acknowledging the 16 scientists who have stated in this Resolution that: there are biological consequences to RF exposures, urges citizen participation in tower siting decisions and call for manufacturers to produce lower powered devices. The resolution also urges California's state and federal elected representatives to support federal legislation to repeal the preemption of local government control over tower siting
A formal letter from the San Francisco Coalition of Neighborhoods will be forthcoming and it will be posted on the EMR Network web site. Further information on the Viena Resolution is available at: http://www.irf.univie.ac.at/emf/.
The London Sunday Observer reported on March 14, 1999 that: "Fears about radiation prompted the European Parliament last week to call for all mobile phones in Europe to carry health warnings - a significant victory for UK campaigners battling to persuade the Government to recognise potential hazards posed by mobile phones.
"Euro-Mp's took the unusual step of tightening proposals designed to regulate positioning of mobile phone transmitter masts. The Parliament voted 'almost unanimoulsy' on measures which recognise that the low-level radio waves emitted by transmitters may have long-term, harmful effects on people."
The recently formed Little River Valley Association wants to stop or at least delay construction of a 2.5-mile electrical transmission line that it says will require clear-cutting of hundreds of old-growth trees and result in untold environmental damage.
They also worry about exposure to electromagnetic fields. Studies have focused on concerns about long-term health hazards of exposure to electromagnetic fields from power lines, but offered no definitive conclusions. Developer Mike Killgallon, a member of the Metro Atlanta Home Builders Association, said a home's proximity to these megavolt, high-tension power lines can reduce the selling price or make it more difficult to find a buyer
Most of the 115-kilovolt transmission line proposed by the Georgia Transmission Corp. would run along the heavily forested banks of the Little River and a private lake, as well. Twice, as it linked an existing line in northwest Fulton to a new substation in southeast Cherokee, it would traverse the Little River which separates Fulton and Cherokee counties and flows into Lake Allatoona.
"We don't absolutely know the line is needed or if this is the best place to put it," said Linda Statham. She and husband Ben co-founded the association and are long-time North Fulton civic leaders .
The new facilities will serve Cherokee, where a new county commission has pledged to slow growth. But studies that GTC has conducted about need and the line's environmental and other impacts won't be completed or made available until fall, according to company officials.
For information contact Linda Statham.
A Sprint PCS cell tower located on church property in Cook County, IL, was dismantled and removed on Saturday, September 4, 1999. The work took them over 12 hours, with the use of 2 huge cranes.
The LaGrange Highlands, IL 120 foot cell tower that was illegally constructed by Sprint PCS in late October, 1998, was ordered to be removed by Sprint within 90 days after the Cook County, IL Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously denied their variance on January 20, 1999.
It is a major victory and shows what can be accomplished when neighbors join together in a common cause. Donations from over a hundred local residents as well as the local township government and civic association helped pay legal fees and expert witness fees.
A major Italian company headed by the former chief executive of the nation's second mobile phone operator is supplying its employees with cellular telephones that can be fitted with separate headsets -- and Italians are wondering what hidden truths the CEO knows about cell-phone safety.
Europe's third-largest manufacturer of electrical appliances, Merloni Elettrodomestici SpA, has decided to supply its employees with dual-band cellphones capable of operating with a microphone and headphones for safety reasons, a company spokesman confirmed on May 20, 1999. The news was given particular prominence by some Italian newspapers because Merloni's CEO Francesco Caio as formerly CEO of Omnitel Pronto Italia SpA.
"Caio's experience makes him particularly aware of the need to take precautionary measures, although, as far as I know, no one knows exactly what risks are associated with the prolonged use of mobile phones," said the spokesman, who asked not to be identified by name. "The decision follows a major press campaign in Italy on the dangers of electromagnetic waves. Caio is very sensitive to the problems of health and the environment and some of our employees had begun to express doubts and worries."
Massachesetts - Cape Cod (1999)
A Cape group calls for closing the PAVE PAWS site while a public health study is conducted.
A panel of experts is recommending that further work be done to determine whether microwave radiation from an Air Force radar facility on the Massachusetts Military Reservation is having any impact on public health.
While the four-member panel, formed by the state Department of Public Health to review existing information on the issue, says there is no definitive evidence that low-radio frequency radiation from PAVE PAWS is harmful, there is some scientific evidence that the radiation at lower levels than expected can have some impact on a person.
Upper Cape residents for years have been calling on regulators and the military to evaluate the PAVE PAWS site, critical that the 10-story radar atop Flat Rock Hill has been operating for 20 years without regular sampling of radiation or any other public health study.
A group called the Cape Cod Coalition to Decommission PAVE PAWS, led by Sandwich resident Sharon Judge, wants the system shut down, arguing that until the public health impact is determined, it shouldn't be allowed to operate.
Massachusetts - Littleton (1999)
The Boston Globe reported on May 16, 1999 on a case brought by three Littleton residents against Cellular One, Sprint Spectrum and the town of Littleton two years ago. The plaintiffs live next to a proposed town cellular antenna site.
The state's highest court, the Supreme Judical Court, has ruled that abutters who appeal a local zoning decision are entitled to a full judicial review of their complaint, including presentation of new evidence in a trial setting, as is the case with any other zoning dispute.
In their case before the high court, David Roberts and Jean and Robert Lawlis were appealing a prior judgment against them in Middlesex Superior Court. In overturning Superior Court decision, Marshall wrote, ''Congress was explicit that the [Telecommunications Act] does not preempt state and local authority with respect to any zoning and land use issues pertaining to personal wireless service facilities.''
Wendy Sibbison, the lawyer representing the residents, said the ruling was particularly momentous because Massachusetts is the first state to make it clear to the telecommunications industry it cannot ignore local and state zoning statutes. In several other instances, cell telephone companies have argued that under the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 only federal laws apply.
New Jersey - Ridgewood (1999)
The Bergen Record reported that, faced with local opposition, the state Department of Transportation has abandoned a proposal to construct a 120-foot cellular tower along Franklin Turnpike and Route 17 south. "The department will honor the community's request and the facility will not be built," said DOT spokesman John Dourgarian on Wednesday, November 10, 1999.
The mayor and council voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose the plan for a wireless communications structure on state-owned land. The tower, strongly opposed by neighbors, would have been leased to carriers.
Northern Ireland (1999)
Residents campaigning against the erection of mobile phone masts throughout Northern Ireland celebrated a victory during the first week of February, 1999, with news that a planning application has been refused in south Down. The site near Castlewellan was turned down due to its location in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
It is thought to be the first ever such rejection by planners in Northern Ireland and is sure to boost the many community groups still battling plans to erect masts on sensitive sites.
Situated in one of the most picturesque areas of Northern Ireland, the decision was based not on the hotly disputed issue of health risks, but on environmental concerns.
For further information click here.
Ontario - North York (1999)
On July 12, 1999, the Globe and Mail reported that residents of North York concerned about a potential health risk, and furious they were not notified, are trying to stop a second cellphone company from installing six antennas on a water tower in their neighbourhood.
The residents say the city has compromised their well-being because the jury is still out on cellphone safety. "We are the guinea pigs -- we are the rats in the experiment," said Mark Maitman, who owns one of the houses surrounding the base of the Leslie water tower on Talwood Drive. "We were not even informed, let alone consulted, before [the first antenna] went in."
A deal signed with Metro council in 1997 gives Clearnet Communications Inc. the go-ahead to install six antennas on the tower near Lawrence Avenue and Leslie Street this summer. Microcell Telecommunications Inc. installed six antennas on the ground last August. Both companies have a five-year, $53,000 lease.
Mr. Maitman and his neighbours have 110 signatures on a petition to get Clearnet to back out of the deal. A meeting on June 21 of city councillors, industry representatives and 80 community members didn't change the company's mind, he said.
Similar antenna installations have raised hackles in communities across Canada.
In Vancouver, a plan by Cantel Inc. to put a transmission tower on top of Sir James Douglas Elementary School in 1997 was blocked by parents worried about the health risks to their children. A month later, the parents learned that Microcell had installed transmitters in the steeple of a church across the street. Again, the community protested, and the transmitters were removed.
In the Calgary suburb of Oakridge, residents successfully lobbied Cantel to remove a tower atop a nearby shopping plaza in the fall of 1997.
Despite these incidents and opposition by the North York residents, a spokesman for Clearnet said the company is going ahead with the installation.
On July 15, 1999 the North York Community Council deferred a motion to recommend that the city dissolve its contract with two cell companies, as the Planning Department and Medical Officer of Health are currently working on a policy for appropriate cell tower siting, to be based on the idea of "prudent avoidance." That is due in the fall. In its deferral motion, however, the council directed both companies, in very strong terms, to work with the city planners to find alternate sites that would not be in close proximity to residents.
On the central Oregon coast where there is a proposed project in the works called The South Coast Reinforcement Project. This is a new 500 Kv line which would go from either Eugene or Roseburg to Coos Bay to supply very low cost power to the proposed Nucor Steel Mill. Nucor has been offered cheep power and free taxes. All this in the name of supplying jobs on the south coast. What the south coast would get is a filthy industry along with air and water pollution. BPA says they are having difficulty using BLM lands because of an area designated a Late Successional Reserve. So there fore the line must go through the small farms and private small woodlands along the route.Residents of the area are opposing this proposal.
In separate rulings in November 1999, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sided with municipalities that refused to let Comcast Metrophone -- recently renamed Cellular One -- put up antennas or towers for its cellular phones.
One case was in Newtown Township, where the Zoning Hearing Board denied an April 1995 application for permission to erect 12 mobile-phone antennas on the roof of the NewtownTowers apartments at 3400 West Chester Pike. The antennas would have been only 5 feet high.
In its other ruling the court reaffirmed the Londonderry Township Zoning Hearing Board's 1995 denial of a building permit for a 50-foot cellular tower on Hood Road near Route 41 in Chester County.
Environmentalists from across Spain met in April of 1999 to discuss the EMF issue. They protested against the construction of a high voltage line between Morocco and Spain and called for a ten year moratorium on the construction of new high voltage lines.
The ecologic association "Los Verdes" has denounced the proliferation of mobile telephone antennas in all the territory of the "autonomous community".
According to this association, recently, the telephone companies have been wildly installing new antennas without respecting prudent distances between towers and houses, colleges and even health centers.
The ecologists mention that more and more research underlines the hazardous health effects of the EMF generated by power lines and mobile telephone equipment.
The European Parlament has proposed to all member states to establish regulations to limit human exposure to EMF, based on research from prestigious European Universities.
"Los Verdes" are urging both levels, local and autonomous community to take heed of the recommendations of the European Parlament.
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According to the March/April 1999 issue of Microwave News, Swiss health and environmental officials have proposed strict rules for public exposures from new sources of radiofrequency and microwave (RF/MW) radiation. If the ordinance is adopted, which appears likely, Switzerland will have the most stringent exposure guidelines in the world-requiring power levels effectively a hundred times lower than those of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
"The rules are designed to be reasonable and pragmatic," Dr. Mirjana Moser told Microwave News. Moser is with the Radiation Protection Office of the Swiss Agency for Public Health in Bern. She attributed the tough new rules to public concern over possible health effects.
The guidelines are based on the precautionary principle, according to a commentary accompanying the proposed ordinance. Moser emphasized that "a very large population is being exposed to non-ionizing radiation, so very subtle effects can become very important from a public health standpoint."
Texas - Houston (1999)
On February 22, 1999 a jury in the 295th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas, Monday awarded $1.2 million to a Bunker Hill Village couple who claimed a 100-foot cellular tower created a nuisance and invaded their privacy.
The damages included loss of property value, loss of use and enjoyment of their property, mental anguish and attorneys' fees. Pre-judgment interest should bring the verdict to $1.5 million.
United Kingdom (1999)
Britain's biggest police force is advising staff to restrict calls on mobile phones to five minutes in the wake of new health fears. Officers and civilian staff of Londons's Metropolitan Police Force concerned about any risk are also being told by the force's safety experts to consider using an earpiece. The advice was issued to the 27,000-strong force after a number of reports raised safety concerns over the prolonged use of mobile phones.
The advice says: "Does the user really need to use a mobile phone? If so, they should limit the length of time to certainly no more than five minutes. If users are required to make regular and lengthy use of mobile phones, there would be no harm in using an earpiece." Recent studies have added to mounting concern over the safety of mobiles - used by about 13 million people in Britain alone. Some researchers have warned that low-level microwave radiation from the handsets can heat the brain, causing a number of neurological problems.
United Kingdom - Bournemouth (1999)
A mobile phone company has been refused permission to put up antennae inside an historic water tower because of concerns about the danger it could pose to health. In a landmark decision, planning bosses at Bournemouth town hall turned down the application by Cellnet to put three antennae inside the 19th century tower in Seafield Gardens, Southbourne.
It is the first time the council has turned down a planning application on health grounds, and was made amid concerns by residents and experts that microwave radiation from phone transmitters could cause sickness and even cancer.
Virginia - Fairfax County (1999)
The Fairfax Journal reported on November 8, 1999 that Fairfax County won a major legal victory when the Virginia Supreme Court ruled wireless phone companies must get local approval before building transmission towers, even if those structures reside on state property.
The dispute grew out of the Virginia Department of Transportation's decision to let a pair of telecommunications firms erect 30 cellular transmission poles - sometimes known as monopoles - on state-owned land along major highways in Northern Virginia. In exchange, the highway department would place traffic cameras on the towers to enhance traffic flow, motorist safety and emergency response. It also would receive about $150,000 in rent over 10 years for the land under each tower.
State agencies are permitted to build certain public facilities on their property without seeking local approval, and VDOT argued that the presence of traffic cameras on the transmission poles meant the wireless companies were similarly exempt from submitting their plans to Fairfax County or other local governments.
"In short, while VDOT would benefit from the ability to place its equipment on the towers, VDOT does not own the towers or have a primary right of use of the land," Justice Lawrence L. Koontz Jr. wrote. "The mere fact that the towers are conveniently, or even necessarily, located on state-owned rights-of-way is irrelevant to the question whether they fall within the regulatory authority" of local planning commissions.
The Wisconsin Public Service Corporation of Green Bay and Minnesota Power of Duluth are planning to run a 150 foot wide, 250 mile long high voltage corridor from Wausau, WI to Duluth, MN in order to purchase power from Manitoba Hydro in Canada. The swath it will cut will destroy already rapidly diminishing farmlands and forests alike, reducing property values, altering bird, wildlife and plant habitat, raising health concerns and adding all the aesthetic beauty equivalent to 250 miles of solid billboards. The noise and electromagnetic fields produced by 345,000 volt transmission lines could have effects on humans and wildlife.
Opponents of the project, S.O.U.L. (Save Our Unique Lands), have core groups in most of the affected counties with approximately 2,000 or more people are involved in one form or another. The LCO Indian Nation and the Midwest Treaty Network is also opposing the power line project because of links to the proposed Crandon Mine.
Ontario - Toronto (1998-2000)
In the spring of 1999, a group of concerned citizens petitioned their local city councillor about the cell phone transmision equipment that had been added without their knowledge or consent to a municipal water tower located in the middle of a residential area. At the time the main concern was with the process by which a commercial enterprise was given carte blanche to build in a residential area without so much as advice to the neighbours.
As they started to research the issue, they realized that there was more to be concerned about than the lack of due process. They created a lot of press around the health hazards, which got the attention of the city's public health department. In the fall of 1998, it had actually been asked by city council to investigate the need for a "prudent avoidance policy" with respect to RF transmitters, but there had been insufficient resources to this point and the project had been given lowest priority. With the press coverage, things started to happen, and the citizens found themselves working closely with the Health Department helping them to confirm the information that they had discovered through the Internet and other sources around the world.
In the fall of 1999, the Board of Health endorsed a policy recommendation presented by the Medical Officer of Health (Dr. Sheela Basrur), supported by a review of research done by her own department. It recommends not only that a protocol be established for future sitings that would include public consultation, but also that within the city's borders an output limit equivalent to one hundredth of the current federal standard be imposed.
This policy recommendation is now before the Telecommunications Steering Committee, who have called upon the Planning and Public Health departments to develop concrete protocols with the help of citizens' groups, the federal government and the industry.
In the meantime, a motion to terminate the contracts for the two cellular suppliers on the water tower as soon as legally possible (i.e. after the first 5 year term) has passed North York Community Council and the Telecommunications Steering Committee. It goes before the Policy and Finance Committee on January 20. If passed, it will finally go before the full city council.
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British Columbia - Vancouver (2000)
In January 2000, Cellular phone companies won the right to put up antennae and towers on Vancouver city property, even though a similar request in Toronto has been delayed because of concerns raised by city's board of health.
"I was dumfounded", said Milt Bowling, who successfully fought an aplication a few years ago to site an antenna on Sir James Douglas elementary school on Victoria Drive. "I just want to scream at the irresponsibility of this whole thing".
Bowling, who heads the national lobby group EMRadiation Task Force, pointed to scientific accord signed in October 1998 at a conference in Vienna on the health effects radio frequency electromagnetic fields, which said that biological effects from low-intensity exposures are scietifically established. The Vienna accord was endorsed by scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the president of the Royal Society of Canada.
But Vancouver medical health officer John Blathewick maintains the risk of adverse health effects from emissions is lower than the probability of fining toxins in peanut butter, and called the Toronto Board of Health's recommendation stupid. He said Health Canada's safety code provides "more than enough" protection fo residents.
Blatherwick said the city is too crowded to practice prudent avoidence, although he recommends against installing antennae on school roofs to avoid conflict with parents.
In January council approved a 25-year master agreement with cellular phone companies that would allow them to install antennae and 50-foot-plus towers on city propery, in return for $1,500 to $16,000 in annual fees.
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