11
Aug
2004

Call to action to urge California to revise EMF policy

To: All concerned citizens, scientists, engineers and public policy makers

Re: Call to action to urge California to revise EMF policy

We urge you to send an email, fax or mail letters to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) right away. Next week, August 19, this state government body will meet to consider whether to revise its current EMF policy (see statement below).

The current EMF policy was initiated in 1991 and it states,

"At the issuance of this investigation, the scientific community had not yet isolated the impact, if any, of utility-related exposures on public health.

This statement is outdated, based on more recent scientific findings and recent policy positions. This policy should be revised to reflect public health policy positions taken by the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Services and the U.K. National Radiation Protection Board. In 2002, the IARC (Agency on Research on Cancer) took the position that electrical and magnetic fields (60 hertz frequency radiation) are a known possible carcinogen (Class 2 - like tobacco and lead) based largely on epidemiological data showing an association between power lines and childhood leukemia. Also in 2002, a major EMF report, prepared by the California State Health Department, was released. This $7 million report was commissioned by the California Public Utilities Commission and was paid for by the ratepayers.

The report indicates there are links between power lines and childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gerhig's disease and miscarriage.

Although only 1 to 2 percent of all Californians live close to transmission lines and 10% of all Californians live close to distribution lines, random phone surveys by DHHS have found that more than 40% of those responding perceive a health problem related EMFs from electrical power lines.

Credible scientific evidence backs up their concerns.

Your help is critically needed to call for the CPUC to revise its current EMF policy. Full protection from hazardous exposure to EMFs from electrical utilities afforded by all Californians, including utility workers and residents of homes located close to high-powered electrical lines, who are among those most at risk.

Points to make in your communications are:

1. The CPUC should reopen the "OII", (means rulemaking proceeding and investigation) and consider revising the current CPUC EMF Policy Statement.

2. The CPUC should formally invite the State Department of Health and Human Services staff responsible for the State EMF report through the DHHS Secretary to attend the August 19 hearing and make a presentation.

Letters should be addressed to the five CPUC Commissioners and sent to:

CPUC State Headquarters
505 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California 94102
Phone: 415 703.2782; Fax: 415 703.1758
Commissioners:
Michael R. Peevey, Chairman, email: MP1@cpuc.ca.gov
Carl Wood CXW@cpuc.ca.gov
Geoffrey Brown GFB@cpuc.ca.gov
Loretta Lynch commissionerlynch@cpuc.ca.gov
Susan P. Kennedy SK1@cpuc.ca.gov


Sincerely,

Libby Kelley
Executive Director
Council on Wireless Technology Impacts
libbykelley@energyfields.org
//www.energyfields.org


For more Information:

California State Health Department EMF Report
//www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/deodc/ehib/emf/RiskEvaluation/riskeval.html

280 Corridor Concerned Citizens
//www.280ccc.org

SF Examiner article
//www.examiner.com/article/index.cfm/i/071604op_editorial

Public Utility Commission EMF Policy Statement
//www.cpuc.ca.gov/Environment/emf/emfopen.htm
(Adopted 1991, amended 1993) California

In response to public concern about Electric and Magnetic Fields and a lack of scientific evidence that either confirmed or denied a causal link between EMFs and health effects, the Commission began Investigation I.91-01-012. The purpose of the investigation which opened on January 15, 1991 was to determine the Commission's role in mitigating health effects, if any, of EMFs created by electric utility power lines and by cellular radiotelephone facilities.

By this investigation, all interested parties were notified that the Commission would take appropriate action on EMFs in response to a conclusion, based on scientific evidence, which indicates that a health hazard actually exists, and that a clear cause and effect relationship between utility property or operations and public health is established.

At the issuance of this investigation, the scientific community had not yet isolated the impact, if any, of utility-related exposures on public health. In the absence of a final resolution of the question of such impact, other jurisdictions and agencies have concluded that the best response to EMFs is to avoid unnecessary new exposure to EMFs if such avoidance can be achieved at a cost that is reasonable in light of the risk identified. Thus, if at a future time a health risk is determined to exist, government will have acted responsibly and rationally to avoid unnecessary exposure to that risk.

Interested parties were invited to comment on specific EMF issues identified in the investigation. In response to this invitation, comments were received from twenty-three independent organizations and individuals.

The commenters provided substantial variation in their EMF concerns, opinions, and recommendations. However, there was a consensus that EMF issues involving electric utilities and telecommunications utilities should be addressed in separate proceedings. There was also a consensus that a working group of interested parties should be established to define near-term research objectives and to develop interim procedures to guide the electric utilities in educating their customers, in reducing EMF measurement levels, and in responding to potential health concerns.

Consistent with the consensus expressed in the comments, the investigation was bifurcated, with the power frequency phase proceeding first. Respondent electric utilities identified in the investigation were Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Pacific Power and Light Company, San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), Sierra Pacific Power Company, and Southern California Edison Company (Edison). Of the named respondents, only PG&E, SDG&E, and Edison actively participated in this investigation.

Stemming from the Investigation (I.91-01-012) and subsequent meetings of the EMF working group, the Commission adopted Decision D.93-11-013 that takes seven interim steps to address EMFs related to electric utility facilities and power lines. The Decision also designates the California Department of Health Services (DHS) as a program manager for EMF research and education programs.

Decision 95-11-017 addresses the cellular phase of the Commission's EMF investigation, which considers the Commission's role in mitigating health effects, if any, of Radio Frequency (RF) radiation generated by cellular utilities within the Commission's jurisdiction. It is noted in this decision that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has exercised preemptive authority over states with regards to cellular handsets and utilities. For issues regarding the siting of wireless telecommunications facilities, please see the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

On May 12, 1997, the California Department of Health Services (DHS) filed a petition to modify D.93-11-013, pursuant to Rule 47 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure. On December 3, 1997, the Commission issued Decision 97-12-027 in response to the petition.

For more information about the technical and health-related aspects of EMFs, visit the Department of Health Services EMF Web Site or contact:

For more information about the CPUC's EMF Policy, contact Wendy Maria Phelps, e-mail: wmp@cpuc.ca.gov


Informant: Don Maisch
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