State Rep. Jason Saine of Lincolnton has gotten more than $20,000 in contributions from communication industry sources. Not that that has anything to do, of course, with his sponsorship of a bill to limit local regulation of small cell towers, the proliferation of which will help companies expand wireless networks throughout North Carolina. Saine would allow communications companies to install such towers in public right-of-way areas, a further diminishing of local control of the ability to regulate such things.
Furthermore, say those who want to put a hold on Saine’s bill, there are studies on the health effects of cell phone radiation that need to be examined before the gate comes down on the spread of towers and the gate goes up on local control.
The whoa-now position is the right one. And Saine’s reluctance to discuss the maneuver where there are clear concerns about not just the possible health effects but also the loss of local control is suspicious. When any bill is rushing through to approval, it raises questions, as it should. These small towers can be installed virtually anywhere, and Saine’s measure would allow that without much attention paid to the potential health consequences.
This bill looks like it’s being rushed, which is what’s done when further examination – in this case, about health concerns – might produce more questions. No action should be taken in this session of the General Assembly until a vetting of those concerns has taken place.