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Council President Riemer's statement on new lawsuit challenging FCC small cell order

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 15, 2018

From the Office of Council President Hans Riemer

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 15, 2018— In addition to joining a coalition challenge of the Federal Communications Commission’s recent order on wireless infrastructure (FCC 18-133), today the Montgomery County Council approved the County Executive’s request to appoint special counsel to lead an additional legal challenge.  The County will assert that the FCC has failed to update the radio frequency (RF) emissions standards for this new wireless technology. Council President Hans Riemer issued the following statement:  

“Like other leaps in connectivity before it, 5G promises enormous benefits to the residents and businesses in our community. But we must balance those benefits against any risks that the deployment of this infrastructure might pose. We have developed a zoning code that welcomes 5G deployment for commercial districts in a way that minimizes the impact of the infrastructure and are continuing to seek consensus on an ordinance for residential neighborhoods.  

“Federal law prohibits local governments from regulating wireless infrastructure based on health effects and assigns that responsibility exclusively to the FCC. While there is no clear scientific consensus on the health effects of cell phones in general or 5G in particular, we need the FCC to embrace this issue in an open and transparent manner in order to address public concerns.  The FCC must work with other federal agencies to examine the science carefully and weigh the costs and benefits of this new technology and share the results publicly.  

“Almost a year ago, I joined County Executive Leggett and Congressman Raskin to ask FCC Chairman Pai and the other Republican Commissioners to make every effort to consider all available research and update their RF emissions guidelines accordingly. They have declined to that in their recent order, so we are taking them to court to ensure that they fulfill their responsibility to keep our residents safe.”  

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Release ID: 18-299
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926