The Recorder – My Turn: The Wireless High Continues in Ashfield and Heath

Last winter, Ashfield residents adjacent to an AT&T cell tower project came together to file an opposition memorandum with the help of veteran telecommunications lawyer Andrew Campanelli. Despite hours of advocacy on the rural character of the city and the impact on property values ​​alongside their memorandum, Ashfield’s town planning council approved the tower, with conditions. Residents filed a complaint, further emptying their bank accounts in an attempt not to be harmed. AT&T, following the path of least resistance, has now withdrawn the request.

Last spring, AT&T filed an application to install a 180-foot cell tower at Heath. Heath’s planning board cautiously hired Andrew Campanelli himself. Following another massive outcry over property values ​​and the impact on Heath’s rural character, Heath’s planning council denied the request. AT&T is now suing the city for complying with its own bylaws and for elected officials representing citizens who voted for them.

Perhaps you are now thinking about the rural character and the value of the properties? These are important, but what about cell service? Isn’t that also important? Sure. But the elephant (or in this case the “law”) in the room is Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act 1996, which reads: “No state or local government or its instrument can regulate the placement, construction and modification of personal wireless service facilities. on the basis of the environmental effects of radiofrequency emissions insofar as these installations comply with the Commission regulations concerning these emissions.

The commission in question is the Federal Communication Commission or FCC, an agency that has been “captured” by the industry it is supposed to regulate, according to a Harvard ethics report.

Section 704, written by leading wireless lobbyists, has caused countless injuries and deaths. Exaggeration? Just ask the group of brain cancer plaintiffs whose lawsuits against the telecommunications industry could still be filed because they started using cell phones before 1996. In fact, you can’t ask them because that they are all deceased. But you could ask their relatives who have watched cases go to court for years.

The telecommunications industry was well aware of the health effects in 1996 (see the article in The Nation, “How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation.”) They understood that elected officials don’t would probably not allow (pun intended) their neighbors to be harmed. Section 704 is, of course, absurd. If you are going to be hurt by something placed near your house, how can the elect be prevented from heeding your testimony?

Now, the Santa Fe Alliance for Public Health and Safety is asking the United States Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of Section 704. Hilltown Health, a local organization that advocates for safe technology in our region, joined hundreds of other organizations in filing an amicus (“friend of the court”) to increase the chances of the case being heard.

Meanwhile, another cell tower application has been filed in Ashfield. This one isn’t as “in your face” as the last one, according to an Ashfield resident. Maybe that’s why there hasn’t been a big uproar about the app. This tower would provide cellular service to the city center. However, Ashfield wisely made the fiber optic internet accessible to all homes and businesses. From what I understand, if you want to use your phone in central Ashfield, you just need to connect to a public hotspot. So who is this tower really for?

After the 2018 National Toxicology Program study showed “clear evidence” of cancer, the debate shifted to “is there biological damage?” “To” what types of biological damage? (See> science> medical consensus). This Vertex tower will injure many children and pregnant women, potentially for decades. In a few years, thousands of 5G satellites will deliver much faster speeds in every square inch of Ashfield. Vertex will be a killer though. And landowners from out of town will make good rent. When democracy itself has been largely “captured”, it is incumbent on local officials to avoid unnecessary damage.

The next and possibly the last hearing will be Wednesday evening November 3 on Zoom. You can find the link at or
Jonathan Mirin is co-founder of Hilltown Health. He is working with cities and secure technology advocates to update local telecommunications regulations ahead of the 5G rollout. Her partner developed microwave sickness aftera significant exhibition in 2010 and his solo streaming performance on this “Canary in a Gold Mine” experience will premiere online via the Ko Festival from February 11 to 13. Visit for information.

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