Residents of Santa Cruz County’s North Coast, and those who enjoy the wild beaches of the area free of cell towers and other industrial equipment will gather in front of Verizon’s retail store on Pacific Ave. at Cooper in Downtown Santa Cruz at 4pm on Saturday July 21st to protest the company’s plans (with NextG corporation) to install 6 new cell sites along Highway 1 and Swanton Rd. in the County’s remote North Coast region.
Proposal Before the Coastal Commission in August Is Called “Threat to Views, Endangered Species and Resident Safety”
SANTA CRUZ— The growing movement against forced digital smart meters and an increasingly problematic smart grid rollout has re-awakened people to the threat of virtually unregulated increases in exposure to wireless technology. Cell phone, wi-fi, and smart meter emissions were labelled by the World Health Organization in May 2011 as a Class 2B carcinogen, and many are reporting symptoms from exposure to these devices. Despite this, CA utility customers are being charged a large fee to avoid this carcinogen, leaving many scratching their heads. Verizon is a partner with PG&E and receives wireless data pulses from PG&E SmartMeters containing residents private data. A protest and community discussion will take place in front of Verizon’s store and a teach in will be held about the growing threat to human and environmental health, and privacy violations from wireless technologies.
Mockups of the cell sites that are currently in place have been obstructing views and cluttering the landscape for months. Residents were given little notification and many wondered about the strange cylindrical and rectangular objects suddenly mounted on the poles. The equipment will directly interfere with views from Swanton Rd. to the coast and the pristine redwood valley in between, a designated and protected special scenic area. “What do ‘protected areas’ mean if we are not going to defend these areas from industrial development? We expect the Coastal Commissioners to take a hard look at this project, how it violates the Coastal Act, and undermines public access to the coast” says Joshua Hart, spokesperson for the local group opposing the project.
Local environmentalists have raised the alarm over impacts from cell towers that studies indicate may have deadly consequences for endangered species in the area. Organizations like the Sierra Club’s Santa Cruz Group have come out against the plan. The northernmost tower is proposed to be constructed only feet from Big Basin State Park, adjacent to wetlands that are home to federally endangered species such as the Red Legged Frog and Western Pond Turtle. Studies have shown a 90% mortality rate for tadpoles exposed to cell tower radiation at the distance that tadpoles in Waddell Creek wetlands would be exposed.
Fire risk is also at issue. NextG Corp. is a defendant in a lawsuit filed by residents of Malibu who suffered nearly 15 million in damages from a 2007 wildfire caused by power poles overloaded with telecommunications equipment that blew over and sparked in high winds. Opponents of the project are saying that the last thing the Bonny Doon area needs is another wildfire. NextG Corp. has already strung miles of cable between the proposed sites which community members say they have done without a permit and in violation of the Coastal Act.
Many local residents are opposed to the project, and see the cell sites as an existential threat to their quality of life and the pristine nature of the local environment. High speed wired DSL service is available widely throughout the area at residences, so the need for a series of power gulping cell sites emitting pulsed microwave radiation 24/7 has been questioned – particularly in the proposed locations, sending a carcinogenic substance into Big Basin, California’s first state park and still home to a thriving ecosystem.
4G At What Price Protest and Teach-In will take place this Saturday July 21st at 4pm in front of the Verizon store on Pacific at Cooper in Downtown Santa Cruz. Visuals include protesters with signs and banners, beachgoers learning about the hazards of their cell phones and other wireless devices such as smart meters, and an analog meter giveaway. Word is that “Death” may visit as well, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.
The Coastal Commission will decide whether to issue a coastal permit for the North Coast Cell project at its meeting in Santa Cruz between Aug. 8th and 10th (exact date tba) There is expected to be a large community presence.
More info and project documents can be found at: http://stopsmartmeters.org/2012/06/22/northcoast/
Joshua Hart MSc
Director, Stop Smart Meters! http://stopsmartmeters.org
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