An Update from Rick Meyer for Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers
Hoping this email finds you safe.
To borrow a line from John Oliver “We are still doing this!”
And, we just posted a long overdue update on the status of ZTA 19-07 and County’s pending litigation against the FCC on the home page.
- ZTA 19-07 was “suspended” by PHED Chair Hans Riemer on February 1, 2020 when he summarily pulled a Committee vote on the bill.
- Neither Councilmembers Andrew Friedson, nor Will Jawando would agree to vote the bill out of PHED Committee, while Montgomery County is engaged in two lawsuits against the FCC.
- We are greatly appreciative of Mr. Friedson’s and Mr. Jawando’s steadfast support for residents and their amply justified hesitancy regarding this bad bill.
- Both suits have been consolidated in the 9th Circuit.
- However, ZTA 19-07 is NOT dead!!
- Mr. Riemer is widely expected to reintroduce his bill (as co-sponsored by Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Craig Rice) as early as June 2020.
- Oral arguments for the two lawsuits were held in 9th Circuit on February 10, 2020. The two suits include:
- challenge to the FCC’s recent “3rd Order” that expedited 5G roll out while reducing local government control over public rights-of-way; and,
- a second, separate suit seeking to compel FCC to conclude a long running “Notice of Inquiry” and promulgate updated RF emissions standards.
- In the interim, the FCC peremptorily issued Order 19-226 that abruptly ended the very Notice of Inquiry that Montgomery County was seeking to compel – WITHOUT updating RF standards.
- In effect, the FCC used procedural “slight of hand” to cut the legs out from under County’s lawsuit.
- On January 28, 2020 the Council met in Executive Session with legal counsel for the RF Emissions suit. But that meeting was NOT open to the public and we have NOT been briefed on the conclusions of the discussions…
- Unfortunately, the County Council subsequently (and inexplicably) failed to appeal Order 19-226.
- Perhaps slamming door on back-up strategy to keep the County’s RF litigation alive – if the 9th Circuit renders adverse opinion or dismisses their suit for lack of standing.
- (The good news is that independently the Environmental Health Trust appealed Order 19-226! But, the EHT case surely would have been strengthened, if the County had – at the very least – filed an amicus curiae brief. It did NOT.)
- Decisions on the pending litigation are expected from 9th Circuit within next several months.
Please be sure to email both Mr. Friedson and Mr. Jawando – and thank them for prioritizing the interests of residents and neighborhoods above the arm-twisting by lobbyists from Big Wireless.
MC4T will continue to closely monitor these developments. Stay tuned for further updates!
(Please be sure to forward this post to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to sign up for future bulletins from MC4T. Thank you so much for your continued support.)
Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers