Mazzochi: Increase Local Input for 5G Implementation Process

Responding to local concerns about 5G cell towers in the 47th District, State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) filed legislation to provide an avenue for worried residents to have their voices heard during the rapid 5G implementation process.

To draft the legislation, Rep. Mazzochi and staff spent the last several months attending multiple meetings with local concerned residents and officials, researching options available at the local level, and pinpointing areas of concern involving possible health impacts and close deployments of small cell towers by schools and homes.  

“Much of what we normally would do at a state level, including on health and safety issues, Congress has taken away from us through strict preemption laws in 47 USC § 332(c)(7) and implementing Federal Communications Commission rules,” Rep. Mazzochi explained. “It is critical that we look at every possible door to see what we can pry open to give our residents more control and input over what goes on in their neighborhoods.”

As wireless demand increases, implementation of small cell wireless is forecasted to create nearly 100,000 jobs and bring in nearly $9 billion in investment to Illinois over the next several years.  After a six-year review process, the FCC recently limited review timing and permit fees for placement; and ruled that its current radio frequency exposure safety limits (put in place over 20 years ago) remain appropriate even in the face of 5G networks.  The Director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health insists that “the available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits.”  Local residents disagree, and have been sponsoring seminars discussing the latest medical literature to raise awareness on the issue. “I take the health and well-being of our residents very seriously, especially after what they went through with Sterigenics.”

 “As small cell tower deployment rapidly increases, residents are understandably caught off guard and feeling like they have zero say in this process,” Mazzochi continued. Mazzochi’s legislation, House Bill 4653, creates the Local Control, Protection, and Empowering Law in the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. “Our goal is to give our residents as strong of an opportunity to be heard, and object to pole placements and locations within the narrow space we have available under the federal guidelines.”   

Now that Mazzochi filed HB 4653, it must be assigned by the Rules Committee to a specific House committee for further consideration. Mazzochi encourages local residents to file witness slips in favor of the bill at www.ilga.gov, as that increases the likelihood that a bill will be taken up for consideration.