MoCoSafeG.org Sample Letters: URGENT-OPPOSE CELL ANTENNAS IN FRONT OF OUR HOMES

STOP ZTA 19-07 – Contact the Montgomery County Council Today! —

Update: Tell MoCo Council: Stop ZTA 19-07. Email County Council TODAY through our Online Email Campaign: actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07

County Councilmember Hans Riemer has revived his 2019 proposal to let cell towers be built as close as 30 feet from our houses—on streetlights and utility poles, possibly two or more on a block. It does not correct the horrific 2018 setback of just 10 feet from homes in mixed-use zones. Despite strong resident opposition, Mr. Riemer seems eager to push this Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) through while everyone else is preoccupied by the pandemic. The Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee that he chairs voted to pass this ZTA on March 10th and now it goes to the County Council. It’s urgent to voice your concerns to the Council ASAP.

We need stronger safety reviews, oversight & restrictions—not thousands more cell towers, which is what we’ll get with ZTA 19-07!

Click image to enlarge. Tell MoCo Council: Stop ZTA 19-07 & fix what is wrong with the current cell-tower siting rules!

Lining our neighborhoods with small cell towers would increase climate change, reduce property values, beam radio-frequency microwave (RF/MW) radiation 24/7 into our homes -– just to name a few issues. (See details below!) A map exists of the intended plan for densification (cancel sign-in to gain access).

Even worse, in the past year, informed residents have exposed just how inept the County’s current oversight of existing wireless facilities is –– especially the antennas allowed to accumulate on top of affordable multi-family apartments without any inspections or measurements. No one, it turns out, knows for sure that the families who live directly under them are not being exposed to illegal levels of RF radiation! Please urge Mr. Riemer, the rest of the Council, and the County Executive to act immediately to end this blatant environmental injustice –– instead of rushing to inflict similar safety and health hazards on every resident in the County.

Mr. Riemer is a big fan of 5G. He apparently buys all of the telecom industry’s pro-5G advertising. However, what industry never mentions in their advertising are the many downsides to implementing 5G, including:

  • 5G would be a huge new energy hog — intensifying our climate crisis. Energy experts estimate that wireless internet communication technologies could be responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, undermining our efforts to combat climate change. Many trees also would likely have to be cut down for 5G towers –– a further climate cost.
  • 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  • 5G is designed to support 3 million wireless devices per square mile, digitizing our entire lives and monitoring behavior 24/7 with massive invasions of privacy–– a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  • The NSA reports, “Focusing predominantly on 5G technology, the implications of privacy and security are contrasted across the competing requirements of high- speed, low-latency connectivity of billions of devices…the Internet is using much data about many people in many ways, and this raises privacy concerns.”
  • ZTA 19–07’s sponsors falsely suggest the pandemic has shown we need 5G, including to help wipe out the digital divide. What the pandemic has revealed is how many residents and businesses still need affordable access to safe, reliable, secure, high-speed Internet service. Improving wired connections –– that were paid for, but never delivered –– will meet that goal better than expanding wireless technology. We don’t need 5G in our neighborhoods. For equity, we need to make sure that wiring all the way to their premises for high-speed Internet is available for all residences –– including individual apartments –– and that the service is affordable for all, including businesses.
  • Montgomery County passed Bill 44-20 saying that racial equity and social justice issues must be considered in all county ordinances. However, zoning legislation will not be subject to the bill until September 2021 because of a transition clause. ZTA 19-07, if passed before then, will evade such scrutiny. Such scrutiny is essential, because the County’s process for cell-tower oversight is broken –– including its failure to monitor radiation levels inside affordable, multi-family housing and other buildings it lets be used like cell towers, even when the rooftop antennas exceed FCC limits.
  • “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  • The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board for Montgomery County lowered a Rockville home’s assessment: “Comparables warrant a reduction in value. Probability of neighboring cell tower also affects value negatively.”
  • The Mayor of Takoma Park and most of Takoma Park’s City Council are part of an amicus brief supporting this same promising, landmark court case against the FCC. The case seems likely to push the FCC to thoroughly review decades of science indicating its 25–year–old exposure guidelines for wireless radiation are not applicable to modern technology, and to update them accordingly. Oral arguments were just heard in late January.
  • In 2018, Councilmember Riemer, in supporting a previous court challenge led by Montgomery County, noted that he and others had asked the FCC “to make every effort to consider all available research and update their RF emissions guidelines accordingly. They have declined to that…so we are taking them to court to ensure that they fulfill their responsibility to keep our residents safe.” ZTA 19–07 undermines the promising new effort above –– involving Takoma Park officials –– to finally achieve the County’s very own goal.
  • Evidence from hundreds of studies, including the definitive NIH National Toxicology Program Study, show that wireless radiation, from 2G, 3G and 4G –– all below 5G, cause biological and environmental effects. There is “clear evidence” of cancer from cell phone level radiation exposure. 4G/5G densification will add significantly to current levels of radiation exposure.
  • Symptoms are being experienced by wireless deployments in other areas: firefighters suffered neurological damage, cancer cluster at an elementary school with tower , and injuries in Switzerland.
  • 252 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 43 nations have signed an Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for greater health protection on EMF exposure as of October 2019.
  • The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  • As of March 2020, 203,659 signatories from 203 nations and territories have signed an Appeal to the UN, WHO, Council of Europe, and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G wireless networks, including 5G from space satellites.

Below is a sample letter you can personalize and send to your District member and all At-Large Montgomery County Council members (Glass, Albornoz, Jawando, and Riemer, the sponsor). Include your address on your District letter.

Note: Councilmember Riemer is the lead sponsor, while Gabe Albornoz, County Council Vice President, and Craig Rice, Councilmember for District 2, are co-sponsors. However, they are not on Mr. Riemer’s PHED committee, which is taking the lead on ZTA 19–07. The only other two members of that committee are Councilmember Jawando and Councilmember Friedson, so please be sure to contact them ASAP!

If you would like to help on this issue or get more information, please email our great group of informed citizens at info@mocosafeg.org

To: Montgomery County Council

Short:

I am writing to request that you vote against ZTA 19–07, which would allow densified 4G and 5G “small” cell microwave radiation antennas in residential areas of Montgomery County. I oppose deploying untested, ultra-high frequency microwave radiation in Montgomery County. Several lawsuits against the FCC for its unreasonable Orders and outdated exposure guidelines have been brought to court by Montgomery County and its affiliates. We ask you to table this amendment until all devices are proven safe for all Montgomery County citizens, our environment, and the core values of our society. In the meantime, rewrite wireless zoning for maximum protections for our communities until FCC standards are safer for people and the environment.

Likewise, require warnings be made mandatory for every Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) installation, and in every commercial venue with WiFi, antennas, small cells, etc. The robust promotion of 5G for this ZTA is new, therefore another public hearing on ZTA 19–07 is urged by your constituency.

Sincerely,

<organizations and individuals names, address>

Stronger:

The undersigned organizations and individuals request that you publicly oppose and vote against ZTA 19–07, which would allow deployment of intensified 4G and new 5G “small cell” microwave radiation antennas in residential areas of Montgomery County. We support a wired-based, fiber to the premises solution as the more secure, cheaper, faster technical solution without the property devaluation, insurance liability, and health risks.

The proposed 4G/5G antennas and their networks are likely to have long standing effects in many areas: climate, the ecosystem in general, privacy invasion, cyber security, reduced property values, and human health –– especially in children. The insurance industry has calculated the medical risks are too high to cover, so the proposed, and existing, wireless infrastructure of towers, antennas, poles, and supporting equipment in Montgomery would have no insurance coverage for damages from long-term exposures.

The 4G microwave radiation infrastructure and devices have more than 2,000 scientific and medical studies linking exposures to biological effects for people, wildlife, and plants. This radiation appears to be especially riskier to children and other medically vulnerable people. Other nations and cities are rejecting 5G and small antennas due to these biological effects. Montgomery County needs to rewrite wireless zoning for maximum protections of our communities and establish “safe havens” that accommodate its medically vulnerable population.

The new 5G technology includes ultra-high frequency millimeter microwave radiation, which has higher energy per square meter and greater capacity for risk to people and the environment than 4G. No safety studies have established a level at which this frequency is safe, and 5G service will include 4G, which we already know is dangerous. Warning signs, viewable to the public, Warning signs that are viewable to the public need to be mandatory for every WTF installation, and in every commercial venue with WiFi, antennas, small cells, etc.

Furthermore, Montgomery County was party to a lawsuit against the FCC for their failure to thoroughly review and update their exposure guidelines. Legal challenges continue against the FCC’s guidelines –– most notably, EHT et al vs FCC, for which many Takoma Park elected officials signed on to the Amicus Brief. Additionally, the U.S. District Court of Appeals found in United Keetoowah Band vs FCC (August 9, 2019) that the FCC was “arbitrary and capricious” in exempting 5G infrastructure from health, environmental, and historical review. As a result, the FCC is under judicial order not to proceed with enforcement of their requirement that local jurisdictions pass legislation such as ZTA 19–07.

Alternatives exist with wired networks such as fiber optic, known as “SafeG”. Fiber optic is already in place in many areas. It has no health risks, and the service is documented in locally-owned networks to be much faster, cheaper, more energy efficient, while providing more reliable data integrity and protecting privacy. Wired internet also remains subject to local regulatory control.

Protection of our safety, health, and environment is the primary purpose of our government and of your representation of us, the electorate. We ask you to table this amendment until all medical, scientific, and legal issues are resolved, and the proposed technology, infrastructure, and devices are proven safe for all Montgomery County citizens, our environment, and the core values of our society. The heavy promotion of 5G for this ZTA is new. Therefore, another public hearing on ZTA 19–07 is urged by your constituency.

Sincerely,

<organizations and individuals names, address>

Use your address to find your district at

https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mccouncildistrict/

Marc Elrich, County Executive ocemail@montgomerycountymd.gov

At-Large: Hans Riemer, Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7964

At-Large: Will Jawando, Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7811

District 1: Andrew Friedson, Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7828 (Bethesda, Potomac, and Poolesville)

District 2: Craig Rice, Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7955 (Clarksburg, Damascus, and Germantown)

District 3: Sidney Katz, Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7906 (Gaithersburg and Rockville)

District 4: Nancy Navarro, Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7968 (Colesville, Laytonsville, Olney, and Wheaton)

District 5: Tom Hucker, Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7960 (Burtonsville, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park)

At-Large: Evan Glass, Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777- 7966

At-Large: Gabe Albornoz, Councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov 240- 777-7959

 

Tell the MoCo Council to First Fix Process for Reviewing and Approving Cell Poles — A MoCo Resident’s Plea

Rick Meyer, President of Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers, describes issues with the cell tower permitting process and mistakes made.

Watch Rick Meyer’s Testimony on YouTube.

Montgomery Co. family got a 68′ cell tower in their front yard because of a mistake. Nine years later it’s still there despite her and her neighbors’ attempts at seeking remedy and testifying before the Montgomery County Council.

Watch Vicki Huo’s 2021 Testimony on YouTube.
Watch Vicki Huo’s 2019 Testimony on YouTube.
Watch Vicki Huo’s 2018 Testimony on YouTube.

Vicki Huo testimony image
“I believe the Council should make no changes to residential cell tower zoning rules until you fully fix the process for reviewing and approving cell poles.”

Tell MoCo Council: Don’t Weaken Cell-Tower Rules — Especially Not While Major Cases Challenging the FCC’s Outdated Safety Standards are Being Litigated

Why would the County rush to allow tens of thousands of new residential cell towers under the FCC’s lax safety standards from 1996— BEFORE a court decision in a promising legal challenge to get the FCC to finally update them?

Don’t MoCo residents deserve up-to-date protections?

The case — Environmental Health Trust et al v. FCC — would push the FCC to finally re-align its exposure limits for radio-frequency radiation from cell towers, cellphones, and other wireless devices with the latest science.

As lead sponsor again, Hans Riemer, with this proposed legislation, makes his fourth attempt over the past three years, to make it faster, cheaper, and easier for Big Wireless to install bulky, high-powered wireless antenna transmitters and related equipment as close as 30 feet, and sometimes closer, to single-family zoned homes.

We need your support to STOP ZTA 19-07 once and for all!  

Email County Council TODAY with our Online Action Tool:
actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07

 

Tell Montgomery County Council: First Fix Poor Oversight, Especially For Affordable Housing Sites – Stop ZTA 19-07 Now!

Read the letter concerned residents sent to the Montgomery County Tower Committee, exposing a pattern of serious errors in 25 cell tower applications that the Committee previously recommended. Those errors indicate a pattern of rubber-stamping applications with little accountability to those who live or work under or near wireless facilities.

 

Why-Did-25-Wireless-Applications-with-Errors-Pass-MoCo-Tower-Committee-Review-Red3.pdf

See also: MoCo’s Broken Process for Review and Oversight of Cell Towers

Tell MoCo Council: Stop ZTA 19-07. Email County Council TODAY through our Online Email/Petition: actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07

 

 

URGENT: OPPOSE CELL ANTENNAS IN FRONT OF OUR HOMES — STOP ZTA 19-07 – Sample Letters – Contact the Montgomery County Council Today!

URGENT: OPPOSE CELL ANTENNAS IN FRONT OF OUR HOMES

STOP ZTA 19-07 – Contact the Montgomery County Council Today! —

 

County Councilmember Hans Riemer has revived his 2019 proposal to let cell towers be built as close as 30 feet from our homes –– on streetlights and utility poles, possibly two or more on a block. Despite strong resident opposition, Mr. Riemer seems eager to push this Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) through while most elected officials and residents are preoccupied by the pandemic. The Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee that he chairs will take up his proposal for ZTA 19–07 on Feb. 10th. Therefore, it’s urgent to voice your concerns to the County Council ASAP –– before his committee votes on it!

 

Lining our neighborhoods with small cell towers would increase more climate change, reduce property values, beam radio-frequency microwave (RF/MW) radiation 24/7 into our homes -– just to name a few harms. (See below!) A map exists of the intended plan for densification (cancel sign-in to gain access).

 

Even worse, in the past year, informed residents have exposed just how inept the County’s current oversight of existing wireless facilities is –– especially the antennas allowed to accumulate on top of affordable multi-family apartments without any inspections or measurements. No one, it turns out, knows for sure that the families who live directly under them are not being exposed to illegal levels of RF radiation! Please urge Mr. Riemer, the rest of the Council, and the County Executive to act immediately to end this blatant environmental injustice –– instead of rushing to inflict similar safety and health hazards on every resident in the County.

 

Mr. Riemer is a big fan of 5G. He apparently buys all of the telecom industry’s pro-5G advertising. However, what industry never mentions in their advertising are the many down sides to implementing 5G, including:

 

  • 5G would be a huge new energy hog — intensifying our climate crisis. Energy experts estimate that wireless internet communication technologies could be responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, undermining our efforts to combat climate change. Many trees also would likely have to be cut down for 5G towers –– a further climate cost.
  • 5G has major cyber security problems by providing millions of entry points for hackers into key utilities and infrastructure.
  • 5G is designed to support 3 million wireless devices per square mile, digitizing our entire lives and monitoring behavior 24/7 with massive invasions of privacy –– a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
  • The NSA reports, “Focusing predominantly on 5G technology, the implications of privacy and security are contrasted across the competing requirements of high-speed, low-latency connectivity of billions of devices…the Internet is using much data about many people in many ways, and this raises privacy concerns.”
  • ZTA 19–07’s sponsors falsely suggest the pandemic has shown we need 5G, including to help wipe out the digital divide. What the pandemic has revealed is how many residents and businesses still need affordable access to safe, reliable, secure, high-speed Internet service. Improving wired connections –– that were paid for, but never delivered –– will meet that goal better than expanding wireless technology. We don’t need 5G. For equity, we need to make sure that wiring all the way to their premises for high-speed Internet is available for all residences –– including individual apartments –– and that the service is affordable for all, including businesses.
  • Montgomery County passed Bill 44-20 saying that racial equity and social justice issues must be considered in all county ordinances. However, zoning legislation will not be subject to the bill until September 2021 because of a transition clause. ZTA 19-07, if passed before then, will evade such scrutiny. Such scrutiny is essential, however, because the County’s has non-existent process for cell-tower oversight –– including its failure to monitor radiation levels inside affordable, multi-family housing and other buildings it lets be used like cell towers.
  • “Small” cell antennas in front of houses reduce property values, according to the Montgomery County Property Tax Appeals Board.
  • The Property Tax Assessment Appeal Board for Montgomery County lowered a Rockville home’s assessment: “Comparables warrant a reduction in value. Probability of neighboring cell tower also affects value negatively.”
  • The Mayor of Takoma Park and most of Takoma Park’s City Council are part of an amicus brief supporting this same promising, landmark court case against the FCC. The case seems likely to push the FCC to thoroughly review decades of science indicating its 25–year–old exposure guidelines for wireless radiation are not applicable to modern technology, and to update them accordingly. Oral arguments were just heard in late January.
  • In 2018, Councilmember Riemer, in supporting a previous court challenge led by Montgomery County, noted that he and others had asked the FCC “to make every effort to consider all available research and update their RF emissions guidelines accordingly. They have declined to that…so we are taking them to court to ensure that they fulfill their responsibility to keep our residents safe.” ZTA 19–07 undermines the promising new effort above –– involving Takoma Park officials –– to finally achieve the County’s very own goal.
  • Evidence from hundreds of studies, including the definitive NIH National Toxicology Program Study, show that wireless radiation, from 2G, 3G and 4G –– all below 5G, cause biological and environmental effects. There is “clear evidence” of cancer from cell phone level radiation exposure. 4G/5G densification will add significantly to current levels of radiation exposure.
  • Symptoms are being experienced by wireless deployments in other areas:  firefighters suffered neurological damage, cancer cluster at an elementary school with tower, and injuries in Switzerland.
  • 252 leading scientists and experts in Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) from 43 nations have signed an Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking for greater health protection on EMF exposure as of October 2019.
  • The insurance industry will not insure cell towers, antennas, poles, wires, and devices due to the health risks and damages from long term exposure.
  • As of March 2020, 203,659 signatories from 203 nations and territories have signed an Appeal to the UN, WHO, Council of Europe, and governments of all nations to halt the deployment of 5G wireless networks, including 5G from space satellites.

Below is a sample letter you can personalize and send to your District member and all At-Large Montgomery County Council members (Glass, Albornoz, Jawando, and Riemer, the sponsor).  Include your address on your District letter.

 

Note: Councilmember Riemer is the lead sponsor, while Gabe Albornoz, County Council Vice President, and Craig Rice, Councilmember for District 2, are co-sponsors. However, they are not on Mr. Riemer’s PHED committee, which is taking the lead on ZTA 19–07. The only other two members of that committee are Councilmember Jawando and Councilmember Friedson, so please be sure to contact them ASAP!

 

 

 

If you would like to help on this issue or get more information, please email our great group of informed citizens at info@mocosafeg.org  

 

 

 

 

To:  Montgomery County Council

 

Short:

 

I am writing to request that you vote against ZTA 19–07, which would allow densified 4G and 5G “small” cell microwave radiation antennas in residential areas of Montgomery County. I oppose deploying untested, ultra-high frequency microwave radiation in Montgomery County. Several lawsuits against the FCC for its unreasonable Orders and outdated exposure guidelines have been brought to court by Montgomery County and its affiliates. We ask you to table this amendment until all devices are proven safe for all Montgomery County citizens, our environment, and the core values of our society. In the meantime, rewrite wireless zoning for maximum protections for our communities until FCC standards are safer for people and the environment. Likewise, require warnings be made mandatory for every Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) installation, and in every commercial venue with WiFi, antennas, small cells, etc. The robust promotion of 5G for this ZTA is new, therefore another public hearing on ZTA 19–07 is urged by your constituency.

 

Sincerely,

 

<organizations and individuals names, address>

 

 

Stronger:

 

The undersigned organizations and individuals request that you publicly oppose and vote against ZTA 19–07, which would allow deployment of intensified 4G and new 5G “small cell” microwave radiation antennas in residential areas of Montgomery County. We support a wired-based, fiber to the premises solution as the more secure, cheaper, faster technical solution without the property devaluation, insurance liability, and health risks.

 

The proposed 4G/5G antennas and their networks are likely to have long standing effects in many areas: climate, the ecosystem in general, privacy invasion, cyber security, reduced property values, and human health –– especially in children. The insurance industry has calculated the medical risks are too high to cover, so the proposed, and existing, wireless infrastructure of towers, antennas, poles, and supporting equipment in Montgomery would have no insurance coverage for damages from long-term exposures.

 

The 4G microwave radiation infrastructure and devices have more than 2,000 scientific and medical studies linking exposures to biological effects for people, wildlife, and plants. This radiation appears to be especially riskier to children and other medically vulnerable people. Other nations and cities are rejecting 5G and small antennas due to these biological effects. Montgomery County needs to rewrite wireless zoning for maximum protections of our communities and establish “safe havens” that accommodate its medically vulnerable population.

 

The new 5G technology includes ultra-high frequency millimeter microwave radiation, which has higher energy per square meter and greater capacity for risk to people and the environment than 4G. No safety studies have established a level at which this frequency is safe, and 5G service will include 4G, which we already know is dangerous. Warning signs, viewable to the public, Warning signs that are viewable to the public need to be mandatory for every WTF installation, and in every commercial venue with WiFi, antennas, small cells, etc.

 

Furthermore, Montgomery County was party to a lawsuit against the FCC for their failure to thoroughly review and update their exposure guidelines. Legal challenges continue against the FCC’s guidelines –– most notably, EHT et al vs FCC, for which many Takoma Park elected officials signed on to the Amicus Brief. Additionally, the U.S. District Court of Appeals found in United Keetoowah Band vs FCC (August 9, 2019) that the FCC was “arbitrary and capricious” in exempting 5G infrastructure from health, environmental, and historical review. As a result, the FCC is under judicial order not to proceed with enforcement of their requirement that local jurisdictions pass legislation such as ZTA 19–07.

 

Alternatives exist with wired networks such as fiber optic, known as “SafeG”. Fiber optic is already in place in many areas. It has no health risks, and the service is documented in locally-owned networks to be much faster, cheaper, more energy efficient, while providing more reliable data integrity and protecting privacy. Wired internet also remains subject to local regulatory control.

 

Protection of our safety, health, and environment is the primary purpose of our government and of your representation of us, the electorate. We ask you to table this amendment until all medical, scientific, and legal issues are resolved, and the proposed technology, infrastructure, and devices are proven safe for all Montgomery County citizens, our environment, and the core values of our society. The heavy promotion of 5G for this ZTA is new. Therefore, another public hearing on ZTA 19–07 is urged by your constituency.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

<organizations and individuals names, address>

Use your address to find your district at https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mccouncildistrict:

 

 

Marc Elrich, County Executive ocemail@montgomerycountymd.gov

 

At-Large: Hans Riemer, Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7964

 

At-Large: Will Jawando, Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7811

 

District 1: Andrew Friedson, Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7828 (Bethesda, Potomac, and Poolesville)

 

District 2: Craig Rice, Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7955

(Clarksburg, Damascus, and Germantown)

 

District 3: Sidney Katz   Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7906 (Gaithersburg and Rockville)

 

District 4: Nancy Navarro   Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7968 Colesville, Laytonsville, Olney, and Wheaton)

 

District 5: Tom Hucker   Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7960 (Burtonsville, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park)

 

At-Large: Evan Glass   Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7966

 

At-Large: Gabe Albornoz   Councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov 240-777-7959

 

 

 

 

 

JANUARY 25, 2021 UPDATE HE’S BACK!! COUNCILMEMBER RIEMER RE-INTRODUCES ZTA 19-07 WHILE ANNOUNCING A “FINAL PUSH” TO PASS INDUSTRY FRIENDLY ZONING REGS IN THE MIDST OF A RAGING PANDEMIC

January 25, 2021 UPDATE
* SHARE AND DISTRIBUTE WIDELY *
By Rick Meyer, Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers

HE’S BACK!!

COUNCILMEMBER RIEMER RE-INTRODUCES  ZTA19-07  

while announcing A “FINAL PUSHTO PASS INDUSTRY FRIENDLY ZONING REGS IN THE MIDST OF A RAGING PANDEMIC

Councilmember Hans Reimer (D/At-Large) last week issued press release setting February 10, 2021 as the date he intends to revisit action (again) on Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-07 that had been “suspended” almost exactly one year prior.

We remain STRONGLY OPPOSED to this very ONEROUS zoning bill, which is completely unfriendly to County residents.  Particularly at this time when residents and most elected officials of the County Government are focused on beating COVID-19.

The press release contains numerous assertions that are NOT supported by data, and it misleadingly scrambles analogies between WIRED and WIRELESS networks. A full fact-check on the press release will be ready later this week.

As lead sponsor again, Mr. Riemer, with this proposed legislation, makes his fourth attempt  over the past three years, to make it faster, cheaper, and easier for Big Wireless to install bulky, high-powered wireless antenna transmitters and related equipment as close as 30 feet, and sometimes closer, to single-family zoned homes.

ZTA 19-07 is co-sponsored by Council Vice-President Gabe Albornoz (At-Large) and Councilmember Craig Rice (District 2). Both co-sponsors are quoted in the press release.  However, neither Mr. Albornoz nor Mr. Rice serves on the Planning, Housing & Economic Development (PHED) Committee which has jurisdiction over wireless zoning issues.

Why Riemer Pulled the Bill in 2020

Mr. Riemer, as Chair of the County Council’s PHED Committee, summarily pulled a scheduled vote on the proposed bill from the Committee agenda on February 1st of last year. He was apparently unable to enlist the support of PHED Committee members — Councilmembers Andrew Friedson (D – District 1) and  Will Jawando (D/At-Large) — in order to move the bill out of the committee. Committee approval is necessary to bring the bill to full Council for consideration and final vote.

The Council conducted a hearing last year where two dozen County residents testified to register STRONG disapproval of the ZTA.  Of the scant number who spoke in favor of the ZTA, most of them had ties to the wireless industry (lobbyists and outside lawyers).

County Executive Marc Elrich submitted testimony OPPOSED to ZTA 19-07 at the hearing in January 2020.  Mr. Elrich urged the Council to pause, so that comprehensive zoning legislation and administrative regulations could be developed to address the wireless issues. And he conveyed his intent for staff and agencies to develop the legislation and regulations by working with residents and technical experts, not just industry lobbyists.

It was reported last year that neither Mr. Friedson, nor Mr. Jawando would support ZTA 19-07 while Montgomery County was actively engaged in two lawsuits against the FCC. (Those lawsuits are very briefly described below.) So, rather than be defeated in a formal (and public) Committee vote, Mr. Riemer – as Chair – simply removed the item from consideration the day before scheduled vote last year and placed bill in suspension.  (More explanation about Mr. Riemer’s sidestep on ZTA 19-07 can be found in this Bethesda Beat article…)

However, if Mr. Reimer can swing just one PHED member to support ZTA 19-07 this year – a full and final Council vote could come as soon as early March 2021.

There is unlikely to be another hearing allowing public testimony. So we must stop ZTA 19-07 in Committee – with a formal vote.
Tech Wise MoCo MD Logo

We need your support to STOP ZTA 19-07 once and for all!  

We urge each of you to email both Mr. Friedson and Mr. Jawando TODAY (along with the 4 other Councilmembers who have NOT sponsored this bill). Tell Councilmembers to prioritize the concerns of County residents and neighborhoods ahead of the interests of Big Wireless.

Find Council Contact Information at the bottom of this page

More details will be coming soon.

 

Montgomery County’s Lawsuits Against the FCC

Updated: July 15, 2020 (Another update will be posted here very soon).

The County remains engaged in two very important pending lawsuits against the FCC. Decisions are expected sometime in the second half of this year.  These lawsuits are:

  1. Challenge to FCC’s 3rd Order(WC docket 17-84 and WT docket 17-79) as adopted in August 2018. Montgomery County was one of more than 40 municipalities and counties (plus many other entities) that contested the FCC’s “3rd Order.” The FCC’s issuance of the 3rd Order was widely interpreted as a huge win by the wireless industry where Chairman Pai’s FCC allowed expedited roll-out of 5G at expense of local regulatory authority over public rights-of-way. The various multiple lawsuits contesting the 3rd Order were consolidated into the 9th Circuit. Oral arguments were heard by a three-judge panel on February 10, 2020. Video of the proceedings can be seen here:
  2. Challenge to FCC’s failure to update 1996 RF Emissions standards. This separate lawsuit was funded exclusively by Montgomery County and filed in early 2019. The suit seeks to compel the FCC to update RF emission rules to reflect realities of close proximity wireless transmitters that Big Wireless is installing for 4G and 5G technology. {You can read more about Montgomery County’s suit here.} Keep in mind that small cell technology did not exist in 1996 – when almost all wireless facilities were on taller “macro towers” or on roof tops of multi-story commercial buildings – usually away from general public. Montgomery County’s litigation against the FCC’s failure to act on RF emissions was also consolidated with case(s) described above in 9th Circuit. Oral arguments were also heard on February 10, 2020.

It is no small irony, that Mr. Reimer and Mr. Rice, who were both on the Council in November 2018 voted IN FAVOR of the RF Emissions litigation at the urging of outgoing County Executive Ike Leggett. And, yet both would subsequently introduce and support ZTA 19-07 which seeks to expedite 5G rollout with NO new RF safety standards!

The FCC Tries to Cut Legs Out from Under Montgomery County’s RF Emissions Lawsuit

On November 27, 2019 the FCC very suddenly decided to end a long running “Notice of Inquiry” that had sought public input on whether FCC should amend RF Emissions standards. (It was the failure of the FCC to conclude this very inquiry that led to Montgomery County’s second lawsuit described above.) The FCC found in Order 19-226 that – despite extensive public comments and ample scientific data to the contrary:

  • “no appropriate basis for and thus decline to propose amendments to existing (RF emissions) limits – at this time.”
  • imputted the safety of RF emissions to include all “modern” technology and then streamlined criteria for licensing.
  • decided that methodology for assessing high frequency (gigahertz GHz) devices will be extended to apply to THz frequencies, as well; and,
  • denied a petition regarding health exposure to outer ears – by treating these sensitive sensory organs just “like all other extremities.”

Council Effectively Declines to Appeal FCC Order 19-226 – and Slams Door Shut on Back-up Strategy to Beat FCC

During February 10, 2020  oral arguments members of three-judge 9th Circuit panel very pointedly asked County’s legal counsel whether Montgomery County was appealing the FCC’s action in 19-226.

Surprising, the County’s legal counsel answered: “No!

As a important footnote, the Council held a “Executive Session” – out of public view – on January 28, 2020 to meet with legal counsel (Keller & Heckman) representing County regarding lawsuit on RF emissions. Regrettably, as is the Council’s custom, the Executive Session meeting minutes provide no summary of the actual discussion nor the conclusions reached by Council – except that “guidance was provided to the County Executive.”  As such, the Council has made no public announcements regarding the January 28, 2020 closed Council session where “FCC litigation” was reportedly discussed, nor provided any interim updates to residents of Montgomery County  on progress of this very important litigation.

But from all appearances, the County Council apparently declined to file as intervenor (or even file amicus brief) to support the very  important  Petition for Reconsideration as filed by the Environmental Health Trust seeking to specifically overturn Order 19-226.

The EHT petition asserts that the FCC (in Order 19-226) improperly terminated a Notice of Inquiry begun in 2013 to update RF Emissions standards and by doing so unlawfully disregarded a large body of evidence in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. (APA)

Thus, through action/or inaction in secret Executive Session, the Council may have effectively closed off the only possible backup alternative if the 9th Circuit rejects the County’s own RF Emissions lawsuit for lack of standing. (e.g. the FCC did what the County’s lawsuit asked and ended the Notice of Inquiry.) In other words, there is real possibility that County’s second lawsuit becomes moot, even if outcome of updated RF regulations were not issued as County sought.

Legal Counsel leading EHT’s appeal is Montgomery County resident Ed Myers, who recently factored prominently in a successful legal challenge against FCC in United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, et al v. FCC, 933 F.3d 728 (D.C. Cir., Aug 19, 2019). In fact, the County’s own lawsuit against the FCC (the second suit listed above) even cites that decision in it’s brief!

Email County Council TODAY with our Online Action Tool:

actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-zta-19-07

Council Contact Information

Gabe Albornoz 240-777-7959
Councilmember.Albornoz@montgomerycountymd.gov

Andrew Friedson 240-777-7828
Councilmember.Friedson@montgomerycountymd.gov

Evan Glass 240-777-7966
Councilmember.Glass@montgomerycountymd.gov

Tom Hucker 240-777-7960
Councilmember.Hucker@montgomerycountymd.gov

Will Jawando 240-777-7811
Councilmember.Jawando@montgomerycountymd.gov

Sidney Katz 240-777-7906
Councilmember.Katz@montgomerycountymd.gov

Nancy Navarro 240-777-7968
Councilmember.Navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov

Craig Rice 240-777-7955
Councilmember.Rice@montgomerycountymd.gov

Hans Riemer 240-777-7964
Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov

Latest FCC Lawsuit information:

ZTA 19-07 Opposition Testimony Spotlight: Sue Present, Individual

November 19, 2019 – Council Session – Evening Public Hearing (ZTA 19-07)

https://youtu.be/Lpabr5GpJj8?t=3847

Related Posts:

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OLD Information**ZTA 19-07 is now in “Suspended Animation” while County pursues two suits against FCC

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.

We urge you to click on the link above and read the entire update – as lots has been happening, but summarized very quickly:
  • 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.)

Best regards,

Rick Meyer
for

Montgomery County Coalition for the Control of Cell Towers
MC4T.ORG