Cell Phone Tower
Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave

The Clearwood Association office has advised that the installation of a cell phone tower in the community was the only topic up for discussion at the May 19th meeting. Only members can make a comment at this session.

However, the proximity of a cell tower and its affects to others' properties not in the community cannot be overlooked.
Therefore, I asked for area resident Bioengineer and former Radiation Health Physicist Carroll Cobbs to share his experience in the context of a cell tower discussion in Clearwood next week.
Here is his report:

In 1996, the Clinton administration signed into federal law the Telecommunications Act, which essentially forbids denying cell tower placement on the basis of potential health effects. This was due to the strong lobbying efforts of the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA) despite a (still) growing body of evidence showing bioeffects at frequencies and intensity levels in the cell phone range. One of the key remaining researchers working to prove that low-level microwaves have deleterious effects is Dr. Henry Lai, an associate of mine at the University of Washington. Despite Henry's and my testimony and adoption of "The Cobbs Protocol" - my very restrictive test plan for cell providers - in San Juan County, the Washington State agency for radiological health (for whom I later briefly worked) has adopted the federal position, so there is now no legal or legislative challenge which can be mounted.
...Blake Levitt and Henry Lai came to speak here several years ago [in Yelm to the students at Ramtha's School of Enlightenment in association with Mr. Cobbs]. They remain two of the last voices in this country against cell tower proliferation. Recently in the news is growing speculation that cell towers (which operate to transmit signals from tower to tower at more powerful intensity levels and different frequencies than cell phone handsets) are the cause of dramatic changes in migratory patterns of birds and may damage bees and other creatures which navigate using geomagnetic signals. The effects on evergreens has been long established in Germany, but not reported here.
Given all that, the most effective remaining strategy has been to claim a reduction in surrounding property values, for which you need a petition signed by your neighbors, constituting a majority. This would be presented at the "Proposed Land Use" hearing, which is mandatory in Washington State before construction begins. But first, you need to find out whose property the tower will be sited upon, and how much Verizon or Sprint or whoever will pay for this site use, usually monthly.
The lack of cell phone reception in Clearwood is well known, and my guess is that the residents would likely vote to allow it. Propose that during the feasibility study period that only sites in the most remote and least populated areas of Clearwood be considered and never on or near any residences, facilities areas (Clearwood service buildings) or community buildings or areas. The cell tower building companies will of course prefer areas with easy access, but since Clearwood would be approaching them, a caveat for remote siting could be included in the proposal.
One thing that should be investigated is asking how many companies will likely want to "co-locate" antennas on the proposed tower. What this means is typically, the radiation field intensities quoted by cell companies are based on minimum configurations of antennas on the tower. However, once a tower is constructed, say primarily for Verizon users, the other companies serving the area (Sprint, Cingular, etc.) will want to "co-locate" or also place their antennas on the new tower so that their subscribers will also be served. The Telecommunications Act allows them to do this under "equal access" provisions, and they typically pay a lease fee to the tower owner for this privilege. This is what happened in Yelm: the original tower is now loaded with other companies' antennas, multiplying the field emissions many fold, but no one is measuring field effects any more, and even this unmeasured increase is allowed by the Telecom Act of 1996. [And, this tower is by an elementary school and no one knows the long term effects on these developing children's brains being exposed daily to such frequencies from all of those cell service providers!]
Arguing for bioeffects is still not allowed however, so even this argument may not be enough to force remotely siting the tower.

For more information, read Blake Levitt's books:
Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer's Guide to The Issues and How to Protect Ourselves which is her first book and is an excellent primer on the subject

Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience or Environmental Hazard? Proceedings of the "Cell Towers Forum" State of The Science/State of The Law
for which Blake was Editor. This latter book contains websites, names, addresses and my test protocol which may assist you.

Contact for
Blake Levitt through her publisher
Harcourt, Brace & Company
525 B Street
San Diego, CA 92101
or Ms. Levitt's email: Blakelevit@cs.com

Contact for
Professor Henry Lai
Department of Bioengineering
University of Washington
Box 355061
William H. Foege Building, Room N251A
Phone: 206-543-1071
Fax: 206-685-3925
E-mail: hlai@u.washington.edu

Carroll Adam Cobbs, M.S., Bioengineer and former Radiation Health Physicist".
Mr. Cobbs can be contacted via email at fermione@fairpoint.net.

Mr. Cobbs formerly worked as Radiation Health Physicist for the University of Washington while completing his Master's in Bioengineering, and later briefly for the WA State Department of Radiological Health.
Currently, he is working on a Ph.D. in Psychology at Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center. The foci of his doctoral studies at Saybrook are Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Transpersonal Psychology as utilized in spiritual and physical healing processes.


An important point to be considered is the fact that there is no location within the Clearwood Community that is truly remote. I suspect that a cell phone company would want their tower on high ground. The tower would be in view of someone's house. This alone would reduce property value. The convenience of cell phone coverage is not worth the probable drop in property values...nor a certain conflict with the natural environment that many Clearwood members value.

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