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Getting wise to the smartgrid, part two

Citizen opposition efforts blocked and criminalized

“We the undersigned scientists, doctors, environmental organizations and citizens from 187 countries, urgently call for a halt to the deployment of the 5G (fifth generation) wireless network, including 5G from space satellites. 5G will massively increase exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation on top of the 2G, 3G and 4G networks for telecommunications already in place. RF radiation has been proven harmful to humans and the environment. The deployment of 5G constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law.”*

Part One of this article cites enough credible scientific data to suggest an immediate halt or at least pause of 5G deployment until more studies are done and other aspects considered, such as security, privacy, property values, military use of phased array for radar and weapons, and potential interference with weather tracking, and environmental and health issues for all living things.

However, in the United States, the FCC has structured regulations to prohibit local municipalities from stopping 5G installation. This is also what citizens of other countries are finding as they try to halt 5G installations. There is an overriding force of political and corporate will working towards the creation of a 5G grid around the globe.

In Switzerland, for example, ordinances against 5G installation were passed in four regions (representing 1.5 million people). Despite that, Swisscom, a majority state-owned company, ignored these laws on April 17, 2019, when they activated 5G stations in 102 locations.

Thanks to longtime U.N. staff member and whistle-blower Claire Edwards, disclosure about 5G and its considerable risk for humanity is occurring within the United Nations. She submitted “The International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space” which is a fully referenced document, citing over a hundred scientific papers among the tens of thousands published over the last 80 years on the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation. Edwards’ appeal can be found at

“We the undersigned scientists, doctors, environmental organizations and citizens from 187 countries, urgently call for a halt to the deployment of the 5G (fifth generation) wireless network, including 5G from space satellites.”

Deregulation and the global race to own 5G

Since becoming the chairman of the FCC in January, 2017, Ajat Pai, who was associate general counsel at Verizon from 2001-2003 , has been working steadily to deregulate the FCC. As early as May 5, 2017, in a review of Pai’s first 100 days, The Washington Post noted, “… Pai is establishing himself as the vanguard for a wave of deregulation that could set the tone for the industry for years …

… allowing telecom and cable companies to act more easily in their own interests has been a consistent theme of Pai’s early tenure …

… Pai has resisted using the FCC’s rulemaking powers to regulate the broadband industry, preferring instead an after-the-fact approach that investigates and penalizes allegations of consumer abuse by companies.”

At a press conference on April 12, 2019, Trump and Pai laid out several initiatives designed to accelerate the U.S. role in the “5G race” and illustrates the thinking that gives the coming of 5G the quality of a tsunami. “It’s all about 5G now,” Trump told the audience… “The race to 5G is on and America must win, it’s a race our great companies are now involved in.” Trump said that a secure 5G network will transform how everyone communicates and will create astonishing new opportunities in America, and “We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this power industry of the future.” Other references were made to the fierce competition between the US and China with 5G.

The press conference also announced the FCC’s plan to hold the largest spectrum auction in U.S. history, offering up new bandwidths to wireless carriers. The planned auction is set to commence on December 10, 2019. In addition, the FCC also proposed a $20 billion fund to expand broadband in rural America over the coming decade. The necessary placing of 5G cellular bases at every 500 feet could be quite a challenge in rural areas.

Local governments in a bind

Using the rational that the “race to 5G” justifies removing costly regulatory obstacles, in 2018 the FCC adopted regulations limiting the ability of cities and states to regulate 5G considerations. The FCC deregulation and changes made to date effectively do not allow a city to say no to 5G. These regulations began taking effect on January 14, 2019, and include:

E Localities cannot block the use of small cell sites (e.g., pole attachments) needed for the deployment of 5G,

E Limits on the type and amount of fees cities and states may charge,

E Limited time periods, known as “shot clocks,” to as low as 60 days for cities and states to authorize proposals. If the locality does not respond within the time period, authorization is automatic,

Limits on non-fee requirements cities and states may charge

It would not be an overstatement to say that 5G-related lawsuits from the different sides are flying like bullets. Some cities, such as Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Bellevue (Wash.) have filed lawsuits against the FCC, primarily challenging the FCC overreach. These suits ask the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals to review FCC rule changes.

In addition to various other state, city and county suits, a citizen’s suit was filed in Santa Fe, N.M., against the city of Santa Fe and the U.S. government for violating due process and the U.S. Constitution. AT&T is suing the FCC for not adopting a remedy for instances when a state or local government fails to act on a request for small cell installation within a reasonable time. The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has also challenged the FCC ruling in court.

Portland, Oregon Mayor Ted Wheeler and his city administration have gone further, saying no to 5G installation, citing health concerns as well as the overreach by the FCC. Articles outlining Portland’s stance explain that the franchise fees that cities can charge on each cellular installation are capped at $270 per year under the new FCC rules. Some cities currently charge as much as $3,000 to cover necessary costs.

For example, if multiple cell installations from different telecoms (Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc. might each have a cellular base using phased array frequencies on every pole) require that a larger pole be installed, the city will incur costs of well over $270 per installation. Wheeler said the FCC caps could cost Portland $9.5 million a year in lost revenue and characterized the FCC rules as “something of a land grab against local infrastructure … .”

Growing congressional concern

Some congressional action has been taken to try to counter the fast pace of the 5G rollout. In a letter of December 3, 2018, Senator Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (Calif.) asked the FCC to provide scientific documentation about the safety of 5G.

At a press conference also convened on that date, Blumenthal and Eshoo had Blake Levitt, a highly respected medical and science journalist and communications director with The Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council summarize the issues. She has looked at the environmental effects of radiofrequency technology for many decades and her book Electromagnetic Fields is considered a bible of EMF information. In her presentation, she also noted that Norm Alster, who wrote a paper for Harvard’s Center for Ethics, described the FCC as acting more like “an industry cheerleader than a regulator.” Norm Alster’s paper is titled FCC: Captured Agency (this page).

On January 15, 2019, Congresswoman Eshoo introduced H.R. 530, the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019. This legislation addresses overturning the new limiting FCC regulations which constrict local authority. On April 15, 2019, Oregon Congressman Peter Defazio sent a letter to Ajit Pai asking the FCC to answer three specific questions regarding 5G safety and also requesting that the agency be transparent with the American public.

Social media platforms are lighting up around the globe sharing information and news about local actions and struggles. To become more informed and connect with others, join the Facebook groups Stop 5G Bellingham and Stop 5G International. And there are many more Facebook groups from other locales that serve to cross-pollinate with on-the-ground feedback. Americans for Responsible Technology and EMFactsConsultancy also put out informative posts individuals can sign up to receive. The Cellular Phone Task Force and Physicians for Safe Technology are good sites to check.

In 2018, the Bellingham City Council voted yes to granting the necessary franchise to telecoms for 5G installation. While 5G installation in Bellingham has not actively started, to date our elected officials have not expressed concern about installation going forward. Each telecom has a different schedule for installation in U.S. cities, and, while a number of cities have already been equipped with 5G cellular bases, the complete 5G rollout is expected to take until 2022 and possibly beyond.

Unfortunately, the conclusion of WSU Professor Emeritus Martin Pall, Ph.D., regarding the 5G roll out is all too relevant:

“There have been certain points in our history where people have stood up to strong destructive forces against what often appeared to be insurmountable odds. Those people are THE most honored people in our history. The people who failed to do so are among the most despised people in our history. I am not at all sure we will have historians to record us 100 years from now or even 30 years from now, given the direction in which we are heading. But if we do, rest assured that these are the standards by which we will all be judged.”

It is time for all of us, both citizens and elected officials, to come together as David facing Goliath. Locally, as we enter an election season, we must ask our candidates and our currently seated representatives — “Are you willing to be David with us?”

Leslie Shankman became aware of 5G in early 2019 when a friend in Taos, NM became debilitatingly ill from a 5G cell box placed on her property, forcing a move. Currently a writer and editor, Shankman has worked in business, lived and worked at a yoga institute, and assisted seniors with living and dying. She has lived in Bellingham since 1993.

This article first appeared in the June issue of Whatcom Watch and is supported by almost 30 references, all of which are available at

*A personal version of this petition, directed to the United Nations, World Health Organization, European Union, Council of Europe and governments of all nations, can be signed at

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