DC Court Of Appeals Requires Environmental Review For Implementation Of 5G

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Appeals Court unanimously overturns FCC Effort to Eliminate NEPA and Historic Review

Duns agency ‘arbitrary and capricious’ actions

A federal appeals court has vacated and remanded the “arbitrary and capricious” Federal Communications Commission’s decision to allow AT&T Inc., Verizon, and other wireless carriers, cell phone facilities owners and operators to bypass historic preservation and environmental reviews for 5G networks.

On August 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously denied the FCC order that would have exempted 800,000 or more small cell construction (cell antenna facilities) from historic-preservation review under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The overturned FCC order had let carriers deploy small-cell equipment on non-tribal lands without any federally required reviews.

“Small cells” is an industry created term to refer to cell antennas which can be mounted on utility poles, lamp posts, or their own towers. The three-judge panel declared that the FCC failed to “adequately address possible harms of deregulation and benefits of environmental and historic-preservation review….  In particular, the Commission failed to justify its confidence that small cell deployments pose little to no cognizable religious, cultural, or environmental risk, particularly given the vast number of proposed deployments and the reality that the Order will principally affect small cells that require new construction.”

Attorney Edward B. Myers, of counsel to Environmental Health Trust, and an intervenor in the Court proceeding along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and 19 tribal groups, commented on the decision’s importance: “The FCC’s order represented a precipitous effort to jam thousands of 5G towers into virtually every neighborhood in the country based on woefully outdated safety standards.  The efforts of the FCC to develop meaningful safety standards, especially as regards the health impacts of radiofrequency radiation emitted by 5G cell facilities, are woefully out of date.  I am gratified by the Court’s decision which, in my view, is a cautionary tale against the arbitrary and capricious efforts of the FCC to dispense with environmental and historic preservation reviews.”

Growing evidence indicates that wireless radiation and the frequencies used in 5G  can seriously impact wildlife. For example, research shows that 5G radiofrequency radiation could affect the capacity of bees and other insects to pollinate crops.  Studies also indicate that this radiation can alter animal navigation, disturb honeybee colonies,  damage trees and impact other plants. Published reviews on 5G, millimeter waves and wireless radiation (even from decades ago) have cataloged a host of harmful impacts, including increased temperature, altered gene expression, faster cell growth, inflammatory and metabolic processes, damage to the eyes and cellular stress, memory problemssperm damagegenetic damagebehavior issues and brain damage.

  • Kenyon Shultz

    Sounds like the beginning of the end for Planet Earth. It’s about time.

  • Cliff Sommers

    August 9th and this is the first I’ve heard of this decision! Remanded to where to decide what issue(s)?

  • kevinzeese

    Remanded to the FCC to do an EIS and a historic review.

    The DC Court of Appeals hears cases directly from federal agencies. There is no lower level court review, so it gets remanded back to the agency to take action.

    Of course, the FCC can appeal to the full court, en banc, or seek certiorari with the US Supreme Court.

  • mwildfire

    Given all the doubts, I wonder why they’re trying to ram this through. Not why FCC okayed it–FCC is currently just Verizon’s DC office. But why are Verizon et al so eager to do this destructive, expensive thing when they’re not real interested in extending broadband to underserved areas.

  • Cliff Sommers

    Good info. The FCC will probably sit on it for as long as possible and take no action until forced to.

  • Cliff Sommers

    Are they co-located in same orifice building like BLM and the OGM industry? Your handle suggests you’re a fellow pyromaniac alleged fire foughter…

  • mwildfire

    No, Wildfire is my last name. Of course they aren’t “located in the same building”–what I mean is that Pai used to work for Verizon and clearly has its interests as his top priority.

  • voza0db

    5G is awesome!

    If with all the others G’s we’ve accomplished SO MUCH, specially in terms of protecting the ECOSYSTEMS, just imagine what our brilliant specie can do with 5G?

    I’m already waiting for 7G…

  • Alienate

    What is the practical effect of this ruling? I don’t see any stoppage of the 5G rollout.

  • voza0db


    It’s like those environmental requirements issued when some huge uman construction is going to be built but someone from the EPA says “in order to mitigate that destruction the builder needs to plant some trees in an area no greater than 5 square meters.“!

  • kevinzeese

    This is a key question. I have read that there a military weapons that will come outof 5G and of course, there is lots of money to be made installing 5G on every block in the country and selling all sorts of new devices that will come out of it.

    But, I agree, we need to apply the precautionary principle to 5G, i.e. show it is safe before installing it, allow suits against corporations if it can be shown they were aware of health and environmental dangers, and allow local populations to reject it.

    This is being rammed down people’s throats and the evidence of adverse health and environmental consequences are escalating.

  • mwildfire

    You mentioned health/environmental threats, potential military applications, and there is the potential for it be used for spying on the population. One more: it will take tremendous resources of all sorts that are desperately needed for other things, like building a renewable energy infrastructure.

  • William Johnson

    This is a welcome although, unexpected twist of fate. That this court would do anything at all for the average citizen is just astounding. Looks like the first round of the battle the corporations will ultimately win while making it appear the system is doing it’s due diligence. I would not trust any court any further than I can toss it’s judges out the door.

  • Doña Susy

    I’m amazed and cautiously gratified that a court would rule in favor of existing and future life forms on Earth. However, this doesn’t affect the state courts (such as my state, AZ) that have already passed pre-emptive legislation preventing lower jurisdictions from even raising health or any other issues that may derail the speeding train of 5G roll-out.

    This technology is nothing to shrug at. More than 200 scientists and doctors from 35 countries signed a 2017 5G Scientific Appeal saying, “We recommend a moratorium on the roll-out of the fifth generation, 5G, for telecommunication until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry…RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.”

    There is no concerted effort being made by the media to inform the public of the risks of 5G–I wonder why? Those who want to educate themselves further on this issue are encourage to access the Environmental Health Trust website. https://ehtrust.org

  • Jon

    Hopefully, dB, this is written in deep sarcasm, as 5G is a very dangerous technology, per relevant scientists.

  • voza0db

    Man… I forgot to put the sign! My bad.


  • voza0db

    I always enjoy reading positive comments… I’m with you.

  • K.

    Massachusetts: please sign onto testimony at Last Tree Laws to support legislation to roll back wireless and halt 5G.

  • Becky Horton

    Finally! Someone stop them! We dont want 5G! I am sensitive to RFR. Its like when you have static electricity and you touch something and it shocks you…Well I have this implant inside of my skull holding up the left side of my brain, I get electric built up in my body and my implant starts shocking my brain. I have already had a part of my brain to die because of the new smart meters that they put in. I was fine for a whole year with the analog meter then they put this one in and made us keep it and it has about killed me. NO MORE EMF! It already costed me over $22,000 out of pocket cus insurance dont pay for it. And Non Fda approved shots are helping. If they put in 5G I will not be able to go anywhere.