EMFguru #6-95, The EMR Alliance
Today we want to talk about the EMR Alliance. Their quarterly publication,
"Network News," was received in the mail yesterday. First -- some of the
interesting items reported in that publication--then we"ll say more about
At least four of the included news items reported on struggles between
property owners and power companies where new power lines are involved
-- Nebraska, Oregon, Virginia and the United Kingdom. The pattern in these
confrontations is strikingly similar each time.
A 'TILT' IN THE LAW .......
In too many cases, Property owners are left with a "catch-22" no-win situation--they
cannot present the evidence that would change the law because the law itself
The property owners allege that there is a health hazards issue.
The power companies not only deny that there is any such issue, they argue
that even if there is such an issue it is irrelevant to the matters before
the court (or the public utility commission).
In most cases, the power companies win because statutory law and
case law (the kind that comes out of past court decisions) tends to uphold
the utility's argument. The "law" has not yet been established to deal
with the EMF scenarios. Existing law does not "fit" the EMF scenarios.
PUBLIC ACTION IS NEEDED .........
That situation is likely to prevail until the public, itself, demands that
it be changed! (More on this in the future.)
Let us go on to another news item covered in this excellent publication.
In New Jersey, Governor Christie Whitman (a good Republican lady who would
make an excellent Vice President or President), has signed into law the
"New Residential Construction Disclosure Act." This law requires property
owners who are selling their property (Or offering it for sale) to make
known to prospective buyers the existence of any existing safety or health
hazards. While we have not seen the actual law, we conclude from the report
that the existence of EMF fields is one of the conditions considered a
"hazard" under the law. That's progress, real progress!
Now guru has a question for Governor Whitman: If it is so important for
property owners to warn of such hazards (we agree that it is) why isn't
it equally important for the utility that is creating the hazard to provide
In fact ... the "tort" laws (of damages) do require such warnings!!!
The difficulty is that this method of enforcement is costly, time consuming
and rarely resorted to ... unless personal injury has occurred. The fact
is property damage is also enforceable in this way.
Eminent Domain ..........
One can even go back another step: When the utility acquires (thru eminent
domain) the right to construct its power line, it should be required
to make known all such hazards at that time!
(By the way--the "hazards existing at the time" are only a small fraction
of the hazards that will be created by the inevitable growth of the EMF
over time as the "load" being served by that line grows.)
Some eminent domain authorities would even argue that--since
the utility is acting in the name of the state--the state, itself, also
becomes a potentially liable party at that point where eminent domain
There is another truly crucial question that is not being faced: "Is
it lawful for eminent domain to be granted in a situation where
a public hazard is created???"
The fact that present law--including the New Jersey law--places all
this burden on the property owner seems unjust and inappropriate.
In most cases, it is the utility that has the necessary knowledge
... not the property owner. (More on this in the future.)
Paul Brodeur's Speech ........
Finally, we want to talk about a truly impressive article that appears
in the latest issue of "Network News." It is the kind of thing 'we wish
we had written.'
Paul Brodeur's speech--before the 1995 International Debate and Summit
Meeting (sponsored by "Transmission and Distribution Magazine") is provided
in full. It is cleverly done, accurate, highly informative and it surely
ought to be embarrassing to some members of the scientific and academic
community who may have "sold their souls" to the electricity industry.
In Paul's words: "...would we want our [imaginary] health officer to return
to his native land wondering whether scientific opinion is for sale and
being bought in the United States of America?"
EMR ALLIANCE and NETWORK NEWS
We are not going to reveal any more of Paul Brodeur's speech because we
hope that those of you who are not already familiar with "Network News"
will obtain a copy of the most recent (Special Holiday 1995 Issue) and
read the speech for yourselves. Just call Cathy Bergman at 212-554-4073
(it's in New York City); tell her "guru sent you" and ask for a complimentary
copy. They don't cost much even when you have to pay for them, but we think
she'll be glad to send you a complimentary copy. (Again, guru has no financial
interest in the Alliance whatsoever.)
Now ... what is the Alliance? This international organization is composed
of citizen action groups from around the world who are working to
They publish information brochures and other documents in addition to their
quarterly publication "Network News". They lobby. They assist in local
community activities when called to do so. They don't have much money and
they are not out to make a lot of money -- just to cover expenses ... when
they can. They are truly "a citizens" group, trying to protect their own
health, safety and property while they also serve the public's interest.
(1) inform themselves and the public at large about the health hazards
of EMF, and
(2) enhance local, regional, national and international efforts to reduce,
mitigate and, where possible, eliminate the hazards of EMF.
Give them a call!!
Merry Christmas Everybody ... and ... Shine the Light!!!
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