Free smart meter opt out for North Carolina

Great big thanks to activists in North Carolina who won a free utility smart meter opt out provided they submit a simple note from a doctor to the utility.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) decision states, “…the Commission believes it is inappropriate to require customers who maintain that they need to avoid exposure to RF emissions to the extent possible to protect their health to pay [Duke Energy Carolinas] DEC’s proposed smart meter opt-out charges.

Andrew McAfee, an activist leader in this case said: “The removal of Duke’s opt-out fees stops that added insult to injury for many who suffer debilitating electrosensitivity conditions and their associated health costs,”  “Most importantly, the NCUC order recognizes our medical doctor’s proper role in determining what is healthy, not the FCC.”

The note from the doctor does not need to explain any diagnosis or symptoms, but would need to be signed and notarized and simply state:

“I am a medical physician licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board. ______________(Name of Duke Energy Customer) must avoid exposure to RF emissions to the extent possible to protect ______ (his or her) health.”

In California, and in other states, utilities charge extortion fees to avoid smart meters. This case in North Carolina sets an important precedent.

More: Landmark NCUC decision

Verizon withdraws application for “small cell” towers in Sebastopol.

On February 6, 2018 Verizon applied for a major use permit to install two “small cell” towers in Sebastopol at Hutchins and S. Gravenstein, and at McFarlane and Woodland.

EMF Safety Network (EMFSN) opposed Verizon’s application in a letter sent May 29 stating, “The proposed towers would add unsightly equipment, overload poles, devalue property, and increase radio frequency radiation in our neighborhoods.” EMFSN presented peer-reviewed published science which shows cell tower radiation harms people and the environment.

In addition EMFSN retained Best Best and Krieger attorney Gail Karish to draft a letter outlining the legal ways a California city can deny a “small cell” in the public rights of way, and presented this letter to Sebastopol on April 24th..

On Thursday, May 31 Dana Morrison, Sebastopol assistant planner wrote, “This email is to inform you that this application, which was scheduled for a Planning Commission Public Hearing on June 12, 2018, has been withdrawn by the applicant. “

Sandi Maurer, Director of the EMF Safety Network said, ”We’re thrilled Verizon backed out. Wireless has become pollution, and we need to reduce, for example save corded landlines and use cell phones for emergencies, to better protect public health and the environment.”

New Mexico regulators reject smart meters!!

New Mexico Public Utilities Commission has rejected a plan to install a half million smart meters. “The plan presented in the Application does not provide a net public benefit and it does not promote the public interest,” wrote the Commission. Whereas every other US state with rare exception, is forcing smart meters on residents, or charging extortion opt-out fees, Santa Fe regulators have historically upheld the public’s best interest by rejecting smart meters!

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Chairman Sandy Jones cited “rate increases, an excessive opt-out fee, and layoffs as deal breakers”.

This decision is in stark contrast to what the California Public Utilities Commission did in 2010, which was to partner with the utilities and rapidly deploy millions of smart meters with no safety review, and despite thousands of complaints. There are four appeals filed in 2015 still pending in this case.

According to New Mexico activist and author Arthur Firstenberg, “The decision means there will not be smart meters in the near future in New Mexico’s metropolitan areas: Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Clayton, Ruidoso, Tularosa, Alamogordo, Silver City, Lordsburg and Deming.”

Thank you to all the activists and educators who helped make this happen. Great big Congratulations!

Defeat of Cell Tower Bill SB 649 Celebrated and Next Steps

On Sunday, Oct. 29 Sebastopol Mayor Una Glass joined EMF Safety Network for a photo at the Sebastopol Farmers Market to celebrate the defeat of Senate Bill 649, which would have created a state mandated system of cell towers in California. Governor Brown vetoed SB 649 two weeks ago.
Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, and Sonoma County were among the 300 cities, 47 counties and over 100 organizations opposed to SB 649. Senator McGuire and Assemblyman Levine also opposed the bill.
The defeat of SB 649 was won by a consortium of organizations, especially the League of California Cities, RCRC representing Rural Counties, Best Best and Krieger, Environmental Working Group and the many organizations who opposed the bill.
As for our contributions, early on EMF Safety Network (EMFSN) partnered with Ecological Options Network (EON) and formally opposed SB 649 when it was first introduced in March, and re-introduced our opposition to the subsequent committees.
We were fortunate to have Environmental Working Group to guide us on how to oppose the bill. We created a letter template and brought in many groups to oppose SB 649.  We kept our list members informed via email, website, Facebook and Twitter. We gave people the science, tools, flyers and information on how to take action to oppose SB 649.

Read more including next steps

Governor Brown Vetoes SB 649!

On Sunday Oct. 15, 2017 Senate Bill 649 has been vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 649 would have created a state mandated system of cell towers every couple hundred feet apart in California. 300 cities, 47 counties and over 100 community, planning, health, environment and justice organizations opposed SB 649.

EMF Safety Network and Ecological Options Network opposed SB 649 since the bill was introduced in March because cell towers emit harmful radiation. The bill would have allowed unlimited refrigerator-size cell equipment on utility poles, streetlights, sidewalks, in parks, on schools and public buildings with no safety oversight.

Sandi Maurer, Director of EMF Safety Network said, “We mailed Governor Brown a couple thousand postcards depicting SB 649 as a slobbering warty monster wielding a zapping cell tower and asked him to veto SB 649. We are thrilled and relieved Governor Brown vetoed this bill.”

Mary Beth Brangan co-director of EON said, “Now we need to prepare ourselves for the next state and federal telecom push, where they will try again with bills to overtake local authority and disregard public health.”

Governor Brown’s veto statement:

See this post for more information about SB 649: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/stop-sb-649-in-california/

Thank you to everyone who helped achieve this victory and to all the cities, counties and organizations opposed. This is a win not only for California but for the rest of the United States!

Please thank Governor Brown for vetoing SB 649!  You can contact him on his website, call or send a card in the mail: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/
phone: (916) 445-2841
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Berkeley cell phone ordinance wins again!

The city of Berkeley won against the powerful CTIA, the wireless industry association who appealed Berkeley’s ordinance which requires cellphone retailers to provide customers with this notice:

“To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radiofrequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

The appeal was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges determined that “there was no irreparable harm based on the First Amendment or preemption, that the balance of equities tipped in Berkeley’s favor, that the ordinance was in the public interest, and that an injunction would harm that interest.”

More information about the ordinance and the lawsuit here: http://www.saferemr.com/2014/11/berkeley-cell-phone-right-to-know.html

Fairfax Town Council letter to PG&E “Comply with our Ordinances”

Thank you to the Town of Fairfax CA who sent a letter to PG&E asking then to “cease the impending roll-out of SmartMeter installations in Fairfax.”

Fairfax writes, “By PG&E’s actions to proceed with the SmartMeter program in Fairfax, in essence, PG&E is effectively attempting to render the CPUC rehearing review process moot. Furthermore, by continuing forward on installations, PG&E will be in violation of the Town of Fairfax’s Ordinance and would therefore be potentially subject to Code Enforcement Violations.”

2-14-17 Fairfax letter to PGE – SmartMeter Installation

PG&E has threatened both Sebastopol and Fairfax with smart meter installations even though there are appeals pending at the California Public Utilities Commission, and both cities have laws banning smart meter installation.  EMF Safety Network has been quoted in three newspapers recently.

Marin Independent Journal:

Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

Sonoma West Times and News:

We have asked the City of Sebastopol to enforce the ban on smart meters and they have not responded. However, Sebastopol Mayor Una Glass opened public comments at the last city council meeting with a statement referencing the Marin Independant Journal article,“that basically said that this council doesn’t care about smart meters anymore.” She affirmed Sebastopol still has an ordinance that is not repealed and she stated, “We are concerned with the health of our citizens.”

Berkeley WINS Right to Know cell phone labeling law

Photo credit: Environmental Health Trust

The city of Berkeley California was recently sued by the wireless industry CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) over their Cell Phone Right to Know ordinance.  The ordinance requires retailers to warn customers about cell phone risks.  Berkeley’s advisory at point of sale states: “To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

CTIA argued the ordinance would be misleading, give off an impression of harm, and would violate retailers’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to distribute information they might disagree with.

In September U.S. District Court Judge Chen ruled that Berkeley’s law is not a violation of the industry’s first amendment rights, but did tell Berkeley to remove one controversial line about the risk to children, which they did.

Last week’s hearing was to remove the ban, now that the line has been removed, and allow implementation.  Ted Olson, attorney for the CTIA, sent Judge Chen 25 pages of further argument after his original decision. The Judge agreed to allow further argument last week.  Larry Lessig, Harvard Constitutional Law Professor and Robert Post, Dean of Yale Law School are defending Berkeley pro bono.

Yesterday, less than one week after the court hearing,  Judge Chen removed the ban on the Berkeley law despite CTIA’s numerous arguments. Chen also denied the wireless group’s motion to stay his order dissolving the injunction pending appeal.