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U.S. Antenna Permit Denied on Health Grounds
USA Created: 24 Jan 2011
The Santa Fe Board of Adjustment heard an application filed by AT&T for a permit to install twelve antennas in the chimney of St John's Methodist Church.

About 100 Santa Feans attended the hearing. An electrical engineer, an MD, a neuropsychologist, a physicist, a web designer and numerous others testified. People said that radiation emitted by antennas harms human health and thereby violates Santa Fe's telecom ordinance, the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many people said that while they use wireless devices, they would never live near an antenna because they can turn off their personal devices, but not an antenna. They cautioned that property values decrease around antennas. Others warned that the church will be subject to lawsuits from neighbors and/or parents of children who attend its preschool, nearby preschools and/or the Children's Museum.

When a representative from St. John's listed hospitals (including Christus St. Vincent's and Sloan-Kettering) that have WiFi, and thereby determined that this technology is safe, Commissioner Susan Rooney told him, "My husband interned at Sloan-Kettering, he's an oncologist, and he would never live near a cell tower."

Commissioner Peter Komis moved to deny AT&T's request for a permit to install an antenna at St. John's based on Section 14-6.2 (E) (1) (n) of Santa Fe's telecom ordinance, which requires the City to "provide remedies for the public health and safety impacts of communications towers." Commissioner Rooney seconded the motion. Chairman Brock abstained from voting. Commissioner Alexandra Ladd voted against the motion.

The motion passed. This is the first time in the U.S. that a governing body has denied a telecom company a permit to install equipment based on health concerns.

Santa Fe, NM
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Source: WEEP newsletter, Martin Weatherall, 23 Jan 2011

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