N.Y. Couple Sues Town Over Installation of Cell Tower Next to Their Home
Local governments throughout the country have rushed to install thousands of new cell phone towers without taking the time to consider the potential long-term health effects on residents. In fact, in many cases homeowners receive no advance notice that a cell tower has been constructed near their property. And once erected, local officials rarely demand any kind of safety testing to ensure that electromagnetic radiation emitted by these towers will not produce harmful side effects.
Can Local Governments Regulate Cell Towers?
At least one New York couple has taken a stand against such irresponsible cell tower proliferation. Recently, Jodi and Peter Abraham of Huntington, New York, filed a lawsuit against their town after officials authorized the installation of a wireless antenna adjacent to their home. The Abrahams also named the owner of the tower, a Pennsylvania-based telecommunications company, as a defendant.
In 2016 the Town of Huntington–a municipality located on the north shore of Long Island’s Suffolk County–signed an agreement with the Pennsylvania corporation authorizing it to deploy multiple cell phone antennas “in public rights of way,” according to Newsday, a local newspaper. The Town maintained that since the towers were actually installed in these public areas, it did not have to notify residents or hold any public hearings beforehand.
The Abrahams’ lawsuit challenges the Town’s hands-off approach to assessing the safety of cell phone antennas. Federal law prohibits local governments from citing environmental or health concerns to withhold approval for installation of wireless towers that meet the Federal Communications Commission’s safety standards. But as the Abrahams point out in their lawsuit, there is nothing stopping the Town of Huntington from requiring telecom companies to affirmatively demonstrate their equipment actually complies with FCC rules. Nor is the Town prohibited from discussing the “potential adverse health impacts of wireless facilities” that exceed approved levels or considering the objection of homeowners who live nearby such towers and may be exposed to unhealthy radiation levels.
In sum, the Abrahams want a judge to order the Town of Huntington to “enact and enforce regulations” to protect residents “against overexposure” to electromagnetic radiation by ensuring that all wireless antennas meet or exceed FCC standards. Not surprisingly, the Town has rejected the Abrahams’ position and moved to dismiss their lawsuit. The matter is now pending before a federal court in Nassau County, New York.
Speak With a Cellphone Cancer Lawyer Today
Whatever the outcome of this particular lawsuit, this is a sign that individuals around the country have had enough of local governments giving cell phone companies a free pass to install potentially hazardous equipment near their homes and schools. If someone in your family is dealing with health problems and you suspect that exposure to electromagnetic radiation may be responsible, call the cell phone cancer attorneys at Frasier, Frasier & Hickman LLP today at (918) 584-4724 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.