A Few Points of Clarification

To the editor:

Big thanks to Doug McClure for acknowledging concerns of Hardwick citizens in his excellent article (January 27, “5G Petition…”). A few points of clarification:

Firstly, the petition mentioned should be described as a “Right to Know” petition for improving communication between our town government and its citizens whenever telecom industry giants submit proposals for new wireless infrastructure to be deployed in Hardwick. The reason? There is a time factor involved for citizens to have any agency concerning placement of cell towers and small-cell antennas in our community. Our town government has the legal right to make decisions about the placement of wireless infrastructure, and petitioners want that right to be respected and facilitated by our town officers.

Far from being a “special interest” group as characterized by select board member Elizabeth Dow, concern about impacts of wireless infrastructure is a public interest shared by many. In six days, during a week of severe cold weather in a mid-January pandemic, almost 70 registered voters in Hardwick signed our petition. Our belief is that a citizen should have the right to know — and the right to have a say — about what goes up in our neighborhoods. Aesthetic impacts can affect property values, and with the new small-cell antennas, thousands of studies document serious health impacts, to humans as well as birds, bees and trees. We don’t need another health crisis.

What we do need is internet connectivity that follows well thought-out safety standards. Our federal government has ignored any assurance of safety standards — indeed much of the protocol on a federal level is bought and sold by industry lobbyists. Their push is for the huge profits of wireless roll-out, not for wired fiber-optic internet that is so much faster, more dependable, higher quality, and most of all, safe. With the amount of time spent in front of a computer or other device attempting remote learning and income-related activities, we need our internet connectivity to be as safe as possible. And we want to protect our property values.

This is why we are joining many other Vermonters asking our town officials to provide a more reasonable plan to facilitate the notification process so that we have a say about how broadband infrastructure gets installed in our neighborhoods. 

For further information, read the N.H. Commission Report: lasttreelaws.com/11/nhreport/ or search “Burt Wolf…Radiation” on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=mf-Efnk7g4k&ab_channel=BurtWolf.

Emily Lanxner