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LA County Calls for Repeal of Federal Cell Tower Health Preemption


LOS ANGELES, June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in early June to actively seek and support federal legislation to repeal portions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that limit the authority of state and local governments to regulate cell towers and related wireless facilities on the basis of their health and environmental effects.

The motions by Supervisors Zen Yaroslavsky, Michael Antonovich and Mark Ridley-Thomas cited "ongoing debate within the scientific community and among governing bodies throughout the world regarding how thoroughly the long-term health effects of low-frequency electromagnetic and radio-frequency emissions are understood" and "questions...regarding how well the existing regulations established by the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] protect more vulnerable populations such as school-aged children, and how well they protect against the cumulative effect of radio-frequency emissions on people who live or work in close proximity to multiple cellular facilities."

"This marks a major step forward on this issue," said Doug Loranger of the new nationwide organization Coalition for Local Oversight of Utility Technologies (CLOUT), which is actively seeking to change federal law governing cell towers. "For almost 15 years, local planning and zoning officials, City Council members and Supervisors across the U.S. have been telling residents concerned about cell tower proliferation that their hands are tied by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 with respect to health and environmental concerns."

"We finally have one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country willing to say 'enough is enough' and take a stand to change this situation," said Sally Hampton of Los Angeles, who organized the Southern California coalition Residents Engaged Against Cell Towers (REACT), which is part of CLOUT.

In April, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Health Concerns Associated with Electromagnetic Fields by a 559 to 22 vote, which includes the position that cell towers not be placed in proximity to schools, places of worship, retirement homes, and health care institutions.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. it remains illegal for local governments to prevent the placement of wireless facilities near schools and other sensitive locations because of the Telecommunications Act of 1996's federal preemption.

LA County and European Parliament resolutions are available at CLOUT's website

SOURCE Coalition for Local Oversight of Utility Technologies (CLOUT)
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