Can Mill Valley Successfully Block FCC 5G and Small Cell Regulations?

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The future of wireless — aka 5G — will not appear in the upscale town of Mill Valley (CA) if residents and officials get their way. Although no proposals for small cells have been submitted to the city, according to the Marin Independent Journal, a temporary ordinance passed unanimously last week to block them.

The Mill Valley city council voted to prevent 5G tower deployments in the city’s residential areas by activating an urgency ordinance. The legislation, which is effective immediately, allows authorities to enact regulations affecting residents’ health and safety. “The urgency ordinance has standards to limit and prohibit the installations of devices in residential neighborhoods, but there is more that we can do,” Mill Valley Mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters told the Journal.

Residents fear small cells could increase cancer risks and a host of other maladies associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields. And they’re not the only ones concerned. The EMF Safety Network seeks to keep communities free of electromagnetic fields and wireless radiation, while the California Department of Health issued guidelines recommending reduced exposure to radiofrequency energy from cell phones in late 2019.

“Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith in a statement. “We know that simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults.”

However, with the guidelines set forth by the FCC in March, many obstacles have been removed from small cell deployments on a federal level. State and local regulations still apply, which is why Mill Valley’s ordinance seeks to overthrow the Commission’s ruling.  

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