Last year lawmakers in New Hampshire considered a 1640 foot setback for cell towers across the state and this year they are considering a new law HB298 to strengthen their regulations on wireless facilities.
What does HB 298 do?
HB 298 requires that the wireless companies demonstrate compliance with applicable building codes in the application from a licensed engineer. It ensures consideration of the impact to historical or environmentally-sensitive areas. HB298 also concerns the liability issue, so that the localities do not get stick holding the bag. This bill allows planning boards to hold harmless- indemnify- the local authorities for any costs or losses, related to such damages from wireless facilities. The planning board can also require if it chooses to, that the applicant carry adequate liability coverage, including pollution insurance.
The reason pollution insurance could be needed is that the radiofrequency radiation emitted from cell towers and small cell wireless network antennas is generally defined as a pollution, even by the wireless company insurance policies for cell phones themselves.
For example: AT & T Mobile Insurance (pg. 4) and Verizon Total Mobile Protection (page 10) state that coverage is excluded for pollutants. Pollutants is defined as “Any solid, liquid, gaseous, or thermal irritant or contaminant including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acid, alkalis, chemicals, artificially produced electric fields, magnetic field, electromagnetic field, sound waves, microwaves, and all artificially produced ionizing or non-ionizing radiation and waste.”
Many general liability insurance plans have very clear “electromagnetic field exclusions” for health or other damages from long term exposure to radiofrequency. Some offer pollution insurance or what is referred to as environmental insurance- to cover things like asbestos, lead or non ionizing electromagnetic radiation.
Watch the House Committee on Science, Technology and Energy hearing below
Did you know?
The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition developed “Let’s Talk Prevention” educational modules on cell phone radiation for high school, middle school, and elementary students. Go to MBCC Let’s Talk Prevention Classroom Modules and download Module 3 on Cell Phones.