Materials appear to already be in place off Lindell Street in Memphis at the proposed site of a new cellular tower. Neighboring property owners have applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting an official Environmental Assessment be required of the project prior to construction.

A legal publication announcing the proposal to construct a 300-foot tall cellular tower near the city limits of Memphis has several residents seeking further information on the project.

In the April 4th edition of the Memphis Democrat, Wireless Investment Partnership, LLC announced an application for the installation of a (303’ AGL) 1100 ft AMSL Lattice Antenna Tower to be located west of Lindell Boulevard on the west edge of Memphis.

The public notice coincided with the arrival of construction materials at the site according to neighboring property owners.

The legal notice announced the opportunity for public comment on the application through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The process allows for a 30-day period for comments and also provides the opportunity to request an official environmental review. The 30 day period opened on April 4th.

A number of concerned citizens have contacted the Memphis Democrat, seeking additional information regarding the legal notice that was published, announcing intentions to file requests for the FCC environmental review and also seek a public forum to provide additional information on the project.

Stephanie L. Betts of Federal Airways & Airspace, Inc., the consultants who placed the legal publication for the client seeking to build the tower, confirmed that several responses have been posted to the FCC regarding the legal notice referencing the application A1133306.

The individuals contacting the newspaper raised concerns about the proximity to the city limits and neighboring properties, including the Scotland County R-I schools campus.

Other questions centered around the FCC required lighting of the tower, the protection it would offer to air traffic considering the relatively close proximity to the Memphis Airport as well as the flight patterns for air ambulances en route to Scotland County Hospital. Concerns regarding the lighting also were raised by neighbors regarding privacy and nuisance problems.

Several of these citizens have also contacted the City of Memphis and the Scotland County Commission to voice concerns and request the local government bodies engage in the conversation to seek additional information about the project.  

Two official requests for environmental review have been submitted to FCC by neighboring property owners.

Both requests cited health concerns as related to the proximity of the proposed tower to the surrounding residential area.

According to reference material provided by the American Cancer Society “Public exposure to radio waves from cell phone tower antennas is often limited, as the power levels are typically  relatively low, the antennas are mounted high above ground level, and the signals are transmitted intermittently, rather than constantly.

However, one of the requests for environmental review regarding the proposed tower, referenced a report from the Environmental Health Trust that featured a 78 page compilation of letters from physicians, such as Martha Herbert, assistant professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, expressing concerns about placing cell phone towers near public schools.

 The  FCC has issued the following statement about cell phone towers near homes or schools: “Radiofrequency emissions from antennas used for cellular and PCS [personal communications service] transmissions result in exposure levels on the ground that are typically thousands of times below safety limits. These safety limits were adopted by the FCC based on the recommendations of expert organizations and endorsed by agencies of the Federal Government responsible for health and safety. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that such towers could constitute a potential health hazard to nearby residents or students.”

The American Cancer Society also notes that the three top agencies that usually classify dangerous cancer-causing exposures (carcinogens), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have not classified cell phone towers specifically as to their cancer-causing potential.

However the group also points out that the IARC has classified radiofrequency fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” despite highlighting the fact that typical exposure from towers is 1/100th the exposure the brain receives during a conversation on a mobile phone.

The Environmental Protection Agency also notes that “Some people are concerned about potential health effects, especially on the developing brains and bodies of children. Some studies suggest that heavy long-term use of cellphones could have health effects. Other studies don’t find any health effects from cellphone use. Long-term studies on animals exposed to the RF found in wireless networks (Wi-Fi) have, so far, found no health effects. Scientists continue to study the effects of long-term exposure to low levels of RF.”

As of April 16th, two official requests for environmental review had been received by the FCC.

The applicant, Wireless Investment Partnership, LLC, of St. Charles, MO, has 10 days following the closing of the 30-day open filing period, to oppose the request for environmental review with an additional five-day period to file a reply. If the FCC agrees with the public concerns, it will require the project sponsor to file an official Environmental Assessment.

Interested persons may submit specific comments regarding environmental concerns at FCC’s Submit Pleading Portal: www.fcc.gov/wireless/support/antenna-structure-registration-asr-resources/filing-request-environmental-review and complete the online application provided at the referenced site. Please use File Number: A1133306 to refer to this specific application.

Comments are sought regarding any environmental concerns about this project. Interested persons may file a Request for Environmental Review with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) within 30 days after April 4, 2019.

The FCC strongly encourages interested parties to file Requests for Environmental Review online at https: www.fcc.gov/wireless/support/antenna-structure-registration-asr-resources/filing-request-environmental-review.  However, Paper Copy requests can be made at the following address:  FCC Requests for Environmental Review, ATTN:  Ramon Williams, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC