The Federal government is once again trying to take away local authority over cell towers. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S.3157)
S.3157 is an attempt to make Congressional law consistent with FCC actions. In 2017 and 2018, Telecom managed to get the FCC to pass sweeping regulations that strip local municipalities of local zoning rights, and remove environmental and historic reviews. Now Telecom seeks to tighten up Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (TCA) as it’s inconsistent with these new FCC rulings. Basically, S.3157 is a rewrite of Section 704 with respect to wireless facilities.
For a detailed look at how S.3157 would alter Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, stripping municipalities and the public of our rights, please see:
Here’s a simple description and easy template to take action to oppose S.3157.
Overview of S.3157 written by the National League of Cities
Here’s an easy way to take action. NLC will send a letter directly to your representatives in Congress for you.
At this link, you will need to insert your zip code (and maybe your full address), and then the letter template will appear with a message to legislators generated by the National League of Cities (NLC).
PLEASE NOTE: Instead of using their letter, which has statements of support for small cells, either
- copy and paste the following words into their letter template
- copy and paste the sample letter given beneath these instructions, or
- craft your own letter.
Text to copy and paste into letter template
As a constituent, I am writing to express my opposition to the “Streamlining The Rapid Evolution And Modernization of Leading-edge Infrastructure Necessary to Enhance (STREAMLINE) Small Cell Deployment Act” (S. 3157).
S. 3157 is similar to a California bill (SB 649) which would have created a state mandated system of cell towers and eliminated local review and safety oversight. SB 649 was opposed by 300 cities, 47 counties and over 100 community, planning, health, environment and justice organizations. SB 649 was vetoed SB 649 by Governor Brown on October 15, 2017.
The threat of public and environmental harm from wireless radiation is real and growing. Local control is needed to ensure community safety, welfare and compliance with federal, state, and local laws.
Peer-reviewed published science shows wireless radiation harms public health and nature. Health effects include: fatigue, headaches, sleep problems, anxiety, ringing in the ears, heart problems, learning and memory disorders, increased cancer risk, and more. Children, the ill, and the elderly are more vulnerable.
International independent scientists are calling for biologically-based public exposure standards and reducing wireless radiation.
S. 3157 represents a direct affront to traditionally-held local authority. S. 3157 introduces an unnecessary, one-size-fits-all preemption of local jurisdiction. The bill also imposes unfair and inappropriate timelines on local governments.
For more information see this joint letter to Congress asking you to oppose any and all bills related to 5G and wireless radiation expansion: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Letter-to-Congress-2017-1.pdf
Another possible letter to copy and paste into the NLC template
As a community leader and constituent, I hereby express my strong opposition to the “Streamlining The Rapid Evolution And Modernization of Leading-edge Infrastructure Necessary to Enhance (STREAMLINE) Small Cell Deployment Act” (S. 3157). This Bill represents a direct affront to traditionally held local authority. If passed, it would complicate rather than simplify national efforts to expedite infrastructure deployment by mucking up state and local processes. My community shares Congress’s apparent goal of ensuring efficient, safe, and appropriate deployment of broadband technology — largely fiber optics. However, S.3157 is not a good way to achieve this goal. Indeed, it is fraught with problems. Despite encouraging “technology-neutral” infrastructure, the Bill is heavily weighted toward Wireless installations over Fiber to the Premises (FTTP). The latter is energy-efficient, safe, secure, reliable and fast broadband — a solution that can easily add Wi-Fi calling for in-building coverage. However, default wireless is not a solution: it produces enormous energy waste with unreliable service. Most importantly, it imposes degradation to living organisms, particularly pollinating insects, birds and other wildlife, with immediate as well as short- and long-term impairments of human brain, heart, and immune function and disease and early death therefrom.
S.3157 would complicate the existing efforts by state and local governments to deploy the most appropriate broadband infrastructure for their communities. Some US states have passed legislation specifically addressing the deployment of broadband infrastructure, and the local governments in those states are busy implementing new ordinances and procedures to comply with those changes. This unnecessary federal bill, questionable under the Tenth Amendment in its impositions upon State and local governments, requires a poorly conceived, one-size-fits-all preemption of those well-meaning, detailed, in-process municipality efforts. Instead of helping local communities, it enriches wireless companies to the detriment of companies offering wired solutions. S.3157 would force expensive, new wireless deployments, when FTTP is most effective and in many cases in place, ready to be connected.
S.3157 imposes unfair timelines on local governments. The shot clocks proposed by S.3157 are draconian: considerably shorter than those the federal government applied to itself in the bipartisan MOBILE NOW Act. The reduced size-per-installation of so-called “small cell” infrastructure, which is in fact of considerably large overall, does not translate to a reduced procedural burden on local governments. Municipalities must still review each site individually to ensure it meets the local jurisdiction’s requirements and needs. Further, the limited extension for small jurisdictions and bulk requests of typically over fifty simultaneous applications does not address these resource challenges for states and local governments.
Finally, limiting fees and rates to direct and actual costs is an extreme overreach by the federal government. Municipalities negotiate with providers to ensure appropriate compensation to taxpayers for private, profit-generating use of public property and to incentivize development that benefits community residents. In some cases, state constitutions’ prohibitions on gifts to private entities prohibit cities from assessing less than a fair market value for rental of public property. When cities are prohibited from controlling these rates, they are forced to subsidize private development, at the cost of other critical local services such as road maintenance and public safety. Such overreach could devolve into judiciary challenge that is best averted now.
For these reasons, I am opposed to S. 3157 and urge you to oppose it. Local governments need time and flexibility to ensure that the broadband infrastructure most appropriate to each locality is deployed not just quickly, but safely and correctly, in communities throughout the nation.
Contacting representatives directly
Please also consider calling your federal legislators. You can use this link to find contact information for all U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives.
Here’s a link where you can enter your postal zip code to find out who your representatives are:
Here are two Letters to the Editor re S.3157
Here are two short Letters to the Editor sent to the home-state newspapers of Sen. John Thune and Sen. Brian Schatz (South Dakota and Hawai’i respectively). Please note the modified and apt title of the Bill, “Streamline Cancer Bill”.