Children’s Health Defense (CHD) filed a Motion to Intervene and a supporting memorandum yesterday in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey on behalf of its Monmouth members in their efforts to prevent the erection of nine Verizon 5G towers along the area’s shoreline. On Sept. 7, Verizon Wireless sued Monmouth County in federal court, arguing that all environmental approvals under the Coast Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) are subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) local permitting rules for small wireless facilities and that the company’s application to build the towers was unlawfully denied.
Verizon seeks a court order requiring Monmouth County to agree to the placement of the towers on county-owned right-of-way and to execute a landowner consent form that the company claims is a necessary prerequisite of its application to NJDEP for a CAFRA permit. On Aug. 8, the County rejected Verizon’s request for placement and refused to execute the landowner consent form.
“Verizon’s position is that a state environmental agency cannot regulate environmental impacts of wireless infrastructure, even when they result in adverse effects on listed species,” said Scott McCollough, CHD’s lead counsel in the Motion to Intervene. “These towers pose potential risks to residents, tourists and wildlife.”
The Intervenors include individuals who live in the immediate vicinity of the proposed facilities and would be directly affected by their placement and operation. According to the grassroots organization Belmar Against 5G Towers, “The installation of 5G technology is a controversial topic, and many potential buyers may be hesitant to purchase property in an area where such technology has been installed.”
In addition to concerns about health risks and property values, residents are also raising questions about potential negative effects on the local economy. In an Aug. 16 letter to Verizon, U.S. Congressman from New Jersey Chris Smith noted that “Belmar’s pristine beaches create significant seasonal revenue which helps to sustain the town’s economy throughout the year. Local community leaders and residents of Belmar have reasonably argued that the 30-foot 5G towers will obstruct ocean views, devalue real estate, hurt tourism and harm local businesses.”
“The long-term health effects associated with 5G technology upon both humans and wildlife are becoming increasingly clear as solid research continues to raise serious concerns,” said McCollough. “Citizens should not be forced to become part of the research on potential risks. We encourage everyone in Monmouth County to join our efforts in preventing Verizon from compelling a quick settlement with Monmouth County.”