EMF/RF/5G Tale of Two Cities: CT Standing Up for the Community vs. Massachusetts AGO Favoring Telecom?

By Patricia Burke of Safe Tech International

Some residents of the Alma Street neighborhood in Pittsfield, MA have been driven from their homes (for nearly 3 years) due to the installation of an industrial-scale telecom tower in the residential area.

According to Massachusetts state law, “The purest form of democratic governing is practiced in a Town Meeting. In use for over 300 years and still today, it has proven to be a valuable means for many Massachusetts taxpayers to voice their opinions and directly effect change in their communities. Here in this ancient American assembly, you can make your voice heard as you and your neighbors decide the course of the government closest to you.

How do voters respond when the reasoned will of the people to confront the FCC’s lawlessness is over-ridden?

In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us….”

In another age of incredulity, voters and consumers are recognizing unfolding harm and violations of human rights and community rights resulting from nearly thirty years of inadequate telecommunication regulation that systematically ignores risks to health and the environment.

Engaged, respectful, informed activism is building, in the Commonwealth and beyond.

Who will be on the right side of history?

Stamford, CT Rejects 5G Citing Evidence of Health Risks

On the plus side, the Board of Representatives in Stamford, CT voted to reject an agreement that would have allowed telecommunications carriers to install 5G equipment on city-owned utility poles.

Stamford Rejects Deal Allowing 5G on City-Owned Utility Poles

As Angela Carella reported in the CT Examiner, Stamford Rejects Deal Allowing 5G on City-Owned Utility Poles.  ”STAMFORD – The Board of Representatives has rejected an agreement, brokered by the governor’s office, that set terms for allowing telecommunications carriers to install 5G equipment on city-owned utility poles. Twenty-one city representatives Wednesday decided against accepting the state’s template for applications by telecoms that seek to place antennas and other equipment on poles in public rights of way.

They rejected the state’s application template despite advice from Gov. Ned Lamont’s mediation panel and city attorneys who said they would lose in court if telecom companies are prevented from using public utility poles and they sue. Federal law prohibits local governments from legislating on the alleged health risks of radiofrequency radiation emitted by 5G antennas, the attorneys said.

City Rep. Sean Boeger said the possibility of losing in court should not be a factor in the deliberations of legislative bodies. Representatives said they were persuaded by research presented during an October meeting of the board’s Land Use Committee claiming to show that 5G technology can cause brain damage, headaches, memory loss, damage to reproductive organs and the nervous system, and genetic damage, as well as harm to trees, birds, insects and wildlife.


“The FCC rules are now under remand in federal court, and the FCC still has not explained why the rules have not been updated,” Sandri told the board. “The city has the right to independently monitor wireless networks for compliance with the FCC’s ancient exposure rules, so the city should be given the opportunity to object” to telecom applications to place 5G antenna on publicly owned utility poles. City Rep. James Grunberger cited the FCC’s defeat in federal court in making his argument to reject the state’s recommendation for telecom applications.

“The federal government does not have guidelines for long-term exposure, so we need to protect our city ourselves, and not succumb to legal threats,” Grunberger said. “Each of these small cells on these poles contains up to 100 antennas, and they’re close to people’s windows. We should assert our ability to reject these antennas. We have to err on the side of caution.”Source

The video of the October meeting and expert presentations is here:

As noted by Suzanne Burdock, writing for the Defender, one of the presenters who spoke to the Stamford Board is Dr. Devra Davis of the Environmental Health Trust.  “In addition to Davis, the experts who presented to the board’s land use committee included Dr. Rob Brown, an orthopedic radiology specialist, B. Blake Levitt, a science journalist, Theodora Scarato, EHT’s executive director, Kent Chamberlin, Ph.D., past chair and professor emeritus in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of New Hampshire, and Joseph Sandri, a telecom regulatory attorney and CEO of the tech lab Thought Delivery Systems Inc.

The Defender summarized four takeaways from experts’ presentation on wireless radiation risks: 1. Wireless radiation can cause cellular stress and DNA damage leading to disease; 2. FCC guidelines are a ‘complete failure’ for protecting kids; 3. Other countries have more stringent wireless radiation standards; 4. Pollinators may be impacted by 5G.

(The action in Stamford follows the 2022 decision in another CT community: ‘Easton bans 5G technology rollout citing lack of research, testing” The decision was re-affirmed on December 14, 2023.)

Engaged Informed Activism in Massachusetts is Growing Despite Recent Attorney General Ruling

On the other side of the coin, closely coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the 1773 Boston Tea Party, the Berkshire Eagle reported, The state disapproves of bylaws banning 5G in Great Barrington and Sheffield. Some residents are appealing.

Heather Bellow wrote, “Residents at Great Barrington’s annual town meeting in May approved a pause on installing 5G technology until the federal government completed a court-mandated safety review. The Attorney General said the bylaw violates FCC law. Sheffield’s bylaw also was rejected by the AG’s Office.”

Background of the Historical Sheffield and Great Barrington MA Town Meeting Votes to Pause the Installation of 5G

1996, Congress passes Telecom Act of 1996, Section 704 states, ““No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.”

From 2013-2019, the Federal Communications Commission collected commentary on the adequacy of its theoretical exposure guidelines, which are technically not standards because they were not derived from actual biological testing. In 2019, the FCC abruptly closed the proceeding, concluding that there was no need to update its 1996 standards.

2021,  EHT Wins In Historic Decision, Federal Court Orders FCC To Explain Why It Ignored Scientific Evidence Showing Harm From Wireless Radiation “…the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the historic case EHT et al. v. the FCC that the December 2019 decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to retain its 1996 safety limits for human exposure to wireless radiation was “arbitrary and capricious.””

The court found the FCC failed to address these issues: impacts of long-term wireless exposure, impacts to children, the testimony of people injured by wireless radiation, impacts to wildlife and the environment, impacts to the developing brain and reproduction.

May 2023, At their Annual Town Meetings voters in Sheffield and Great Barrington indicated that is was reasonable for their communities to pause additional 5G installations until the FCC addresses the court’s remand.

One focus of the public education campaign, led by the non-profit Scientific Alliance for Education (S.A.F.E.) in the agricultural communities, was risks to pollinators.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Had A Decision To Make: Apply Existing Laws While Ignoring Other Laws To Protect The Rogue Federal Agency Or Turn The Tide On A Rogue Agency That Considers Itself Above The Law

“In a Nov. 8 letter, the state Attorney General’s Office notified the towns that their bylaws run counter to Federal Communications Commission regulations and Massachusetts law, which prohibits towns and cities from barring wireless equipment if it meets town regulations,” even though federal and state regulations fail to protect human health and the environment. The AGO ruling is here. The response from Sheffield is here.

As reported by the Berkshire Eagle, “The group points out the the bylaw does not “prohibit personal wireless service” — as the attorney general claimed, said S.A.F.E. Vice President Kathryn Levin, in an email.

Also, requiring a pause until the FCC completes its review does not constitute an “effective prohibition” of personal wireless service — which is the ability to get cellphone service. Such a complete prohibition also would run afoul of FCC rules.

Nina Anderson added that there is no “written evidence” that there is a “significant gap” in the ability to get a cell signal in Great Barrington and Sheffield. New 5G isn’t needed to make a phone call, she said. Both towns already have one 5G node in each of their downtowns, according to Ookla’s interactive 5G map. The bylaw aims to prevent any new installations.

The communities are not alone in their concerns about the powerful new technology.”- Source

The decision to nullify the town’s vote was troublesome because the Attorney General’s Office had been consulted about the legality of the warrant item for the town meeting citizen’s petition prior to the vote.

When Aligning with Federal Guidelines is an Evolutionary Dead End?

Citizens state-wide and nation-wide are working with local governments to provide increased scrutiny of telecommunications infrastructure and to strengthen zoning protections. (See sample ordinances here.)

The story is not as much about the Attorney General’s decision as it is about the apparent increase in informed, engaged activism that erupted in a number of towns in Massachusetts during their spring 2023 town meetings and beyond.

When the MA Attorney General’s Office ruled that outdated Federal and State laws pre-empt communities from protecting themselves, the decision did not squelch growing opposition to the forced installation of wireless infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the wireless industry is attempting to fast-track favorable legislation through federal and state decision-making bodies. Yet on the grassroots level, citizens are aware of the writing on the wall – it is time to stop the process whereby unsubstantiated economic development trumps human health and the environment. Watch the one-minute video here by Doug Wood of Americans for Responsible Technology Help Stop HR 3557 and read more here.

State Attorney General Against Tobacco But For 5G/Wireless?

The wireless industry is often compared to Big Tobacco.  In the case of cigarettes, state Attorneys General banded together and sued the industry.  Cece Doucette of MA4SafeTech noted, “Big tobacco is still paying out to the states for the harm today. I understand big telecom has set aside billions already for the lawsuits that are coming. It’s time to get that $ to help those suffering, and to bring fiber to the premises.”

The expectation for fiber to the premises is reasonable, because consumers have already paid repeatedly for connectivity through billions in cross-subsidies, as documented by the Irregulators.


“The case is simple: Do you have a 45 Mbps, bi-directional service to your home, paying around $40? Do you have 500+ channels and can choose any competitive service? You paid an estimated $2000 for this product even though you did not receive it and it may never be available. Do you want your money back and the companies held accountable?”

“Harvard’s Captured Agency report also likens telecom tactics to big tobacco.” – Cece Doucette

(See the monthly educational outreach events via zoom presented by MA4SafeTech here.  Click here to access the playlist of legislative testimonials and previous videos. Click here to view 22 “Tech Safe” community television shows hosted by WCCA in Worcester, MA)

Ignoring Harm Caused By Inadequate Regulation Of Telecommunications Violates Anti-Discrimination, Human Rights, And Fair Housing Protections 

Residents across Massachusetts remain optimistic that the Attorney General might still get it right. She is already in good company.

Governor of Wyoming In April of 2022, the Governor of Wyoming sent a letter of concern to the FCC regarding the lack of response to the Court ruling.

City of Pittsfield  The City of Pittsfield, MA has sent letters of concern regarding the inadequacy of federal policy and attempted to issue a cease and desist regarding an industrial scale cell tower imposed on a Pittsfield neighborhood that has driven residents from their homes.

Cities of Boston and Philadelphia In 2013, “The cities of Boston and Philadelphia in their joint submission to the FCC on November 18 accused the FCC and Federal health agencies of negligence for failing to investigate whether electrosensitive persons are harmed by cell phone radiation:

“The FCC admits its own lack of expertise in the field. But the overlap of federal agency responsibilities for RF radiation protection and the merely advisory status of the Radiofrequency Interagency Work Group often leaves leadership unclear and encourages a pass-the-buck attitude .

The 1999-2000 judicial challenge to the FCC’s 1996 rules never reached the issue of “electrosensitivity” as a cognizable disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (“ADA”) Here again, an agency responsible for ADA implementation acknowledges that the impairment may be disabling but has promised merely further inquiry. After more than a decade, that investigation remains unopened. The dockets here have been updated with massive additional evidence of the crippling effects of RF radiation on an admitted minority – but a suffering minority – of U.S. citizens. The FCC and its sister regulatory agencies share responsibility for adherence to the ADA and should replace promises with serious attention to a serious medical problem. This is one area where the FCC could lead in advice to electrosensitive persons about prudent avoidance.”   Source

The Pittsfield Board of Health and the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards Amicus Brief: “The focus of ‘public health’ is to protect the health of every member of the community, regardless of geography or location”

The Pittsfield Board of Health attempted to issue a Cease and Desist order after the cell tower was placed in a residential neighborhood, causing tremendous harm to the nearby residents, and driving some from their homes. In addition, in February of 2023, the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards issued an Amicus Brief in support of the Pittsfield Board. See; Pittsfield cell tower opponents have found an ally in the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards

Anti-Racketeering Regulations?

Big Tobacco was prosecuted under anti-racketeering laws. “As Judge Kessler found in her nearly 1,700-page final opinion, the tobacco companies have engaged in massive deception and wrongdoing:

“Over the course of more than 50 years, Defendants lied, misrepresented, and deceived the American public, including smokers and the young people they avidly sought as ‘replacement smokers,’ about the devastating health effects of smoking and environmental tobacco smoke, they suppressed research, they destroyed documents, they manipulated the use of nicotine so as to increase and perpetuate addiction, they distorted the truth about low tar and light cigarettes so as to discourage smokers from quitting, and they abused the legal system in order to achieve their goal – to make money with little, if any, regard for individual illness and suffering, soaring health costs, or the integrity of the legal system.”

Importantly, Judge Kessler concluded, “The evidence in this case clearly establishes that Defendants have not ceased engaging in unlawful activity…. Their continuing conduct misleads consumers in order to maximize Defendants’ revenues by recruiting new smokers (the majority of whom are under the age of 18), preventing current smokers from quitting, and thereby sustaining the industry.” – Source

Informed, concerned citizens find that it is incredulous that Judge Kessler’s words apply to regulation of the wireless industry.

In Massachusetts, neither the Baker nor the Healey administrations have responded pro-actively to issues regarding wireless radiation, including cell towers and antennas proximal to homes, and questions about utility smart meter safety. Investor-owned utilities in the Commonwealth are in the process of replacing their meter fleets because previously installed meters have reached the end of their lifecycle. The choice for AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) poses the risk for stranded assets for ratepayers down the road if/when the technology is proven unsafe.

The expert witness who debunked health complaints for the MA Department of Public Utilities order 12-76-B also defends Philips Light cigarettes and vinyl chloride. The DPU and the Attorney General did not publicly address substantial documentation regarding fraudulent reporting including cost savings, energy savings, and customer satisfaction for the results of the controversial National Grid Smart Meter Pilot Program which was foisted on the Worcester community.

(See: AAEM Calls for Immediate Caution Regarding Smart Meter Installation The American Academy of Environmental Medicine’s position paper on electromagnetic and radiofrequency fields can be found at: http://aaemonline.org/emf_rf_position.html.)

Not Regulating the Placement of Wireless Infrastructure for Safety

Decision-makers are reviewing wireless infrastructure applications based on outdated 1996 guidelines, for which the Court, the National Academies, and Department of the Interior have identified concerns. The implication of the National Toxicology Program and Ramazzini Institute studies and the New Hampshire Commission Report is that current FCC human exposure limits for non-ionizing RFR allow for hazardous exposures.

Limiting liability with positioning to minimize negative health effects of cellular phone towers notes,

“The use of cellular phones is now ubiquitous through most of the adult global population and is increasingly common among even young children in many countries (e.g. Finland, where the market for smart phones is nearly saturated). The basic operation of cellular phone networks demands widespread human exposure to radio-frequency radiation (RFR) with cellular phone base stations providing cellular coverage in most areas. As the data needs of the population increase from the major shift in the source of Internet use from personal computers to smart phones, this coverage is widely predicted to increase. Thus, both the density of base stations and their power output is expected to increase the global human RFR exposure. Although direct causation of negative human health effects from RFR from cellular phone base stations has not been finalized, there is already enough medical and scientific evidence to warrant long-term liability concerns for companies deploying cellular phone towers. In order to protect cell phone tower firms from the ramifications of the failed paths of other industries that have caused unintended human harm (e.g. tobacco) this Current Issue summarizes the peer-reviewed literature on the effects of RFR from cellular phone base stations. Specifically, the impacts of siting base stations are closely examined and recommendations are made for companies that deploy them to minimize their potential future liability.”

The Federal Regulatory Gap

As outlined in 2021 correspondence to the Biden administration from the Environmental Health Trust, due to a Federal regulatory gap, environmental evaluations and federal safety limits have not been established for 4G & 5G telecommunications that protect public health and the environment.  

Despite interpreting the law to override the will of the voters in Sheffield and Great Barrington, Massachusetts policy makers also have another option. They can call on the FCC to address the 2021 court remand. Reasoned decision makers recognize their responsibility and their right to protect the health of every member of the community, as well as the nature environment.

Wildlife and Wireless


Environmental Health Trust (EHT) is pleased to announce the release of our new website, WildlifeandWireless.org. Featuring the science on the environmental impacts of cell tower and other wireless proliferation, WildlifeandWireless.org provides the tools you need to raise awareness in your community. In a landmark winning case that EHT and others brought against the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, a federal court found that the FCC and the U.S. government had “completely ignored” the issue of environmental effects. The court ordered the agency to respond, yet the FCC has remained silent. This is unacceptable. We are taking a variety of actions to hold it accountable. This new website is one part of EHT’s comprehensive wildlife program to support meaningful policy changes to protect wildlife. 

Take action here.

Source: Safe Tech International

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