Apr 11, 2011: Protest FCC Chair’s Visit to Bay Area

MEDIA ADVISORY                                 Contact:  Joshua Hart, Director, Stop Smart Meters!

April 11, 2011                                                    info@stopsmartmeters.org


Smart Meter Debacle, Landline Gut, Thermally Based Wireless Standards Show an Agency Out of Control

Mountain View, CA- Julius Genachowski, the chair of the Federal Communications Commission, is expected to encounter protests and vocal opposition to federal wireless policy when he visits the Bay Area this week, according to several sources.  At issue are what health advocates and a growing chorus of scientists say are inadequate federal standards for safe human exposure to microwave radiation, based solely on thermal effects, leaving the public susceptible to health damage from non-thermal effects of the thickening layer of ‘electrosmog’ created by cell phone towers, wifi, and now wireless ‘smart’ meters.  There is also increasing alarm about the telecommunications industry’s attempt to eliminate reliable, affordable landline telephone service[1], leaving many households isolated, or forced to use unreliable, health damaging wireless connections.  A growing chorus of environmental health and consumer rights advocates are saying that these policies are indicative of a federal agency dominated by industry lobbyists at the expense of public health and consumer rights.

Genachowski’s visit comes on the same day as the CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) meeting, scheduled to begin at 9am on Thursday morning in San Francisco (505 Van Ness Ave.).  Commissioners are expected to be confronted by a rising tide of outrage from the public, including demands that ‘smart’ meter installation be immediately halted, nuclear reactors built on faultlines in CA be decommissioned, gas pipeline safety standards be strengthened, and that disadvantaged ratepayers not be saddled with unfair rate hikes.   According to Joshua Hart, Director of Stop Smart Meters!, “At the root of all these problems is a fundamental problem- PG&E and other utilities continue to put profits ahead of public safety and health, and the “Public” Utilities Commission by many accounts is failing to rein them in.  As a result people are being killed by exploding gas lines, electrically sensitive people are being thrown out of their homes, families are struggling with a series of unjust rate hikes and we are all being put at risk of another Fukushima right here in California.  It is alarming that these problems seem to pale in comparison to the importance of perpetuating obscene profits being collected by monopoly utilities.   The public has had enough.”

PG&E and other utilities are facing mounting opposition to their wireless ‘smart’ meter program- an opposition not tempered by false ‘opt-out’ programs that saddle ratepayers with the cost of PG&E’s mistakes.  A total of 36 cities and counties[2] throughout CA have demanded that the CPUC halt further installation because of widespread reports of health impacts, privacy violations and safety concerns.   Last week, photos emerged of an apartment complex in Berkeley with 180 wireless meters mounted on one wall.  A shrub growing adjacent to the radiation emitting meters appeared to die after only 3 weeks of exposure.[3] Signs of plant distress, along with thousands of documented human health problems, have prompted some environmental organizations to begin speaking out.   The San Francisco Sierra Club group recently wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors demanding a halt to further smart meter installation: “(The SF Sierra Club group is concerned about) the increase in electromagnetic frequency radiation (EMF), in the absence of FCC standards for long term exposure or exposure from multiple sources, that these wireless meters will add to the environment.”

‘Smart’ meters have been widely reported to cause headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears- even memory loss and heart palpitations among susceptible individuals due to the constant bursts of microwave radiation.  The movement against wireless meters is the sharp end of a growing movement demanding health-based standards for wireless technology.  Currently, the FCC sets national limits on allowable human exposure to microwave radiation used in cellular networks and broadband communications.  These limits are some of the most lenient in the world, and are based solely on preventing thermal damage to biological organisms.   The appropriateness of the standards has been called into question repeatedly and new studies show definitive evidence of non-thermal impacts on brain cells from cell phones.[4] If smart meters were installed in countries like Russia, they would violate that country’s wireless exposure standards.

Even the FCC requires that ‘all persons be kept at least 20cm (from the smart meter models being installed in Northern CA) at all times.’[5] Yet PG&E encourages its customers to ‘see your energy’ by going out to look at the meter itself, potentially encouraging the public to expose themselves to levels of microwave pulses that violate FCC standards.

“PG&E has been violating the law and no one is holding them to account,” says Hart.   “When corporations can flagrantly commit illegal acts under the noses of regulatory agencies who are asleep at the wheel, the people need to do something about it.”

A PROTEST will be held outside the Computer History Museum this Thursday April 14th beginning at 5:30pm 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.  Visuals include protesters holding signs to confront FCC’s damaging policies on wireless radiation.

Those opposing the rollout of ‘smart’ meters will also be gathering at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) meeting at 505 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister, near City Hall) in San Francisco this Thursday, April 14th at 9am to testify at their morning meeting.


[1] http://www.cellphonetaskforce.org/

[2] https://stopsmartmeters.org/how-you-can-stop-smart-meters/ca-local-governments-on-board/

[3] https://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/04/08/shrubs-dont-lie/

[4] http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/cellphone-use-tied-to-changes-in-brain-activity/

[5] FCC Equipment Authorization OWS-NIC507 Silver Spring Networks (available upon request)

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