EMF Safety for Vermont has stated that 5G is being rolled out in Vermont without public notice and that the Senate Finance Committee has ignored warnings that 5G wireless technology is unsafe for public deployment.
The committee chair, Sen. Ann Cummings, D-Washington, maintains that 5G is not the intent of H.513, which is now before the governor awaiting his signature.
Iishana Artra, Ph.D., co-founder of EMF Safety for Vermont and an EMF (electromagnetic fields) testing professional with EMFSweep.com, told True North that man-made radio waves “have been associated with disease and other harm for more than 40 years.”
5G is the fifth generation of wireless antenna technology. It uses significantly higher frequencies than 4G, as it combines three types of frequencies — radio, micro and millimeter waves. Artra noted that 5G antennas must be placed on poles every two-to-10 homes, in front of schools, workplaces and other public hangouts.
Originally, H.513 passed out of the House with representatives maintaining it would only promote fiber-based broadband infrastructure, the hardwire connections that computers and laptops can use without any wireless technology. However, in the final hours, Senate Finance added new language which, Artra says, makes it more than just a fiber bill.
“After telling the public, the press and other legislators repeatedly that the bill was a fiber bill, the committee added language that does not ensure public process or notice, and that, in effect, says the bill does not favor fiber or wireless, and declares that Vermont is aiming for ubiquitous wireless, just before sending H.513 to appropriations,” she said.
The bill was amended by the committee to read as follows: “Sections 19 and 20 of this act, concerning revisions to Vermont’s pole attachment rules, shall not be construed to endorse a particular generation of communications technology, be it wired or wireless. The revisions are intended to clarify the terms and conditions of pole attachments, in general … and to promote greater transparency and certainty for attaching entities and for pole owners and to do so in a manner that furthers Vermont’s interest in achieving ubiquitous deployment of mobile telecommunications and broadband services within the State.”
On April 24, Artra testified to the committee on what she describes as negative health effects, lack of safety standards, decreased property values, and aesthetic impacts for 5G. She expressed disappointment that the chair stepped out of the room during her testimony.
The committee also heard warnings about 5G from Vermonters for a Clean Environment. Lawmakers largely were absent for a large public hearing about the technology at the Statehouse.
Cummings downplayed the possibility that the bill opens the way for 5G.
“The intent of this bill is to increase broadband, preferably fiber coverage in the state of Vermont,” she said. “We have been told by our legal counsel that we are preempted from doing anything that would encourage, discourage, or in any way effect 5G deployment.”
She said communications companies have told lawmakers that they have no intention of deploying 5G any time soon. She added that lawmakers can regulate the hanging of boxes at over 50 feet, and she had been told by a representative of the Public Utility Commission that significant infrastructure beyond a conventional pole attachment would be required to install 5G.
“I assume that’s probably a dorm size [fridge] box that needs to be installed next to the pole and that would be a separate, not a simple attachment — and that would trigger a full-scale public input process,” Cummings said.
Artra remains unconvinced that the bill doesn’t piggyback 5G, and she notes that 5G is emphasized five times in Vermont’s Telecommunications Plan. She also says that Big Telecom’s fingerprints can be found in Section 19 of H.513, which mandates the FCC’s 5G rapid deployment policy known as “one-touch-make-ready” (OTMR). Artra also noted that Vermonters for a Clean Environment submitted AT&T project narratives, photographs and spec sheets specifying 5G.
Vermont is one of 20 states not required to use this 5G rapid deployment, which Artra says could have empowered the committee to specifically omit a 5G fast-track. She disputes the notion that new broadband infrastructure ever comes without 5G.
“In the modern world, broadband includes wireless,” she said. “They were not understanding that this is how modern connectivity happens — massive networks of fiber connected to poles and antennas placed on those poles. The fiber is known as the ‘wireline backhaul’ for cellular. So, there really is no such thing as just a ‘fiber bill’ anymore.
The aggressive promotion of 5G has prompted 26,000 scientists to sign the UN Appeal, a document imploring the United Nations and all its member states to halt 5G. California is suing the FCC, and Belgium’s prime minister declared a moratorium on 5G, as have parts of Italy.
Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire have already passed bills pushing back against the 5G rollout.