By: Editorial Board

Last month, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decades-old guidelines regarding the radio antenna we see throughout communities – radio frequency microwave (RF/MW) radiation. 

The Court stated that the FCC demonstrated “a complete failure to respond to comments” submitted by Environmental Health Trust, Children’s Health Defense, Consumers for Safe Cell Phones, and others regarding the adverse effects of RF microwave radiation from wireless devices and infrastructure on children and the environment.

Just as the Court of Appeals was issuing their ruling, the California State Legislature passed several pieces of legislation, giving the power to wireless companies to turn every traffic signal and streetlight into a wireless facility. The legislation would override already approved community guidelines on the scope and location of wireless antennas.   

AB 537 cuts the timeline for cities and counties to review and respond to cell tower transmitter applications. Suppose the shortened timeline of 60 days is not met. In that case, the application is deemed approved, permits are considered to be approved, and construction is deemed to be approved and can begin immediately.  

SB 378 requires the local government to allow fiber-optic cables to be installed in narrow excavated trenches – micro trenches. SB 378 does not specify whether fiber installers would have to comply with the safety requirements established by the California Public Utilities Commission. 

SB 556 compels local governments to give nearly unrestricted access to the streetlight and traffic signal poles to the wireless to install cell tower transmitters.

Speed is essential, but our local communities should be included in the decision-making process. The recent Circuit Court of Appeal ruling and health implications require it. 

Access the court ruling here:$file/20-1025-1910111.pdf