By Dafna Tachover, Esq, Children's Health Defense, 6 July 2021
The organizations allege the FCC refused to acknowledge significant policy, legal and practical problems associated with a new rule amendment allowing fixed wireless companies to contract with private property owners to place point-to-point antennas on their property.
amicus brief in support of Children’s Health Defense’s (CHD) lawsuit challenging the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) “Over-the-Air Reception Devices” (OTARD) Rule Amendment. The amicus was filed June 30, in the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. CHD filed its main brief on June 23.
An amicus brief is filed by non-parties to a litigation to provide information that has a bearing on the issues and assist the court in reaching the correct decision. It comes from the latin words amici curiae, which means “friend of the court.”
The OTARD amendment, which took effect March 29, allows fixed wireless companies to contract with private property owners, including homeowners, to place point-to-point antennas on their property.
The rule also allows wireless companies to add carrier-grade base station antenna installations on private property to extend wireless voice/video/data service, including 5G and Internet-of-Things antennas, to users over a wide area, while preempting all state and zoning laws, homeowners’ association and deed restrictions. It also preempts civil rights and disability laws that protect the disabled.
According to the amicus brief, “The Commission refused to acknowledge significant policy, legal and practical problems.”
The brief strengthens CHD’s argument that the FCC’s failure to address the hundreds of comments filed by individuals and groups violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Under the APA, an agency is required to reasonably respond to comments that were filed, otherwise its actions can be considered capricious or arbitrary.
Petra Brokken, a criminal attorney and co-founder of Safe Technology Minnesota, spearheaded the effort to file the brief. Brokken worked in collaboration with Odette Wilkins, founder of Wired Broadband Inc. (WBI). In addition to educating about the impact of wireless technology radiation on human health, WBI focuses on promoting residential deployment of fiber optic networks, which provide safer, faster and more secure solutions for broadband internet deployment.
In a webinar held by CHD for the filing of its main brief and of the amicus brief, Brokken explained that the organizations that signed the brief were eager to sign, and believed the court should hear their voices and the voices of the millions people these organizations represent.
“These organizations wanted the court to know there are millions of people around the country who are absolutely up in arms about this issue and do not want this OTARD rule to go forward.”
The amicus brief contains a few examples of the human suffering wireless radiation has caused to members of the amici organizations, including Lora Mitchell, an 83-year old resident of New York City.