It’s First Responders vs. Bird Lovers in Washington Wetlands

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The Thurston County Board of Commissioners in Washington, approved a Verizon application for an 150-foot monopole near Lake Lawrence, WA. An opposing neighborhood group called Citizens Against 5G Cell Towers filed a motion to appeal the decision on January 17, 2019, Nisqually Valley News reported.

Citizens Against 5G Cell Towers was formed from members of the now retired Deschutes Neighborhood Group, which previously appealed the Thurston County Hearing Examiner’s decision to move forward with the tower in 2016. Both neighborhood groups share the same goal, to protect the wildlife around the tower site by halting construction on it.

 In their appeal, President of Citizens Against 5G, David Runnels, wrote the tower would have a harmful environmental impact on the area, and that the hearing examiner omitted 494 pages of public comment. 

Carolyn Chew, former member of the Deschutes Neighborhood Group, said the group used information from a bird survey to prove the tower could be harmful to wildlife and the wetlands surrounding the site. The most recent appeal could delay construction on the tower for months, according to Chew.

Deputy Chief of Bald Hills Fire Protection District 17, Steven Slater, said the tower would improve coverage for the community and first responders. According to Valley News, Slater said better coverage would allow the department to use mobile data terminals to more efficiently locate people in emergencies, especially during frequent power outages in the winter months. In reference to the group’s concern of endangering wildlife, Slater said, “I think any safety concerns are, well…zero, because they’ve picked a good site to place it.”  Comments? Email us.

January 29, 2019

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