04:20AM / Wednesday, May 11, 2022Print Story | Email Story
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Verizon is asking for a declaratory judgment from the U.S. District Court in Springfield against the city of Pittsfield after the Board of Health issued a cease-and-desist order against the company for a cell tower it says is affecting the health of the neighborhood.
Verizon claims that the board violated Section 332 of the federal Telecommunications Act (TCA) of 1996 that prohibits state and local governments from regulating a personal wireless service facility because of perceived health effects from radiofrequency emissions that comply with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.
“The defendant Pittsfield Board of Health (“Board”) violated this section of the TCA by issuing an order (the “Emergency Order”) to plaintiff Pittsfield Cellular Telephone Company d/b/a Verizon Wireless (“Verizon”) and its landlord requiring that Verizon cease and desist operating its lawfully constructed and lawfully operating PWSF at 877 South Street in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (the “Facility”),” Verizon’s complaint reads.
“The Board improperly based its order on the premise that the RF emissions from the Facility have health effects and that state and local law give the Board authority to address those effects by requiring Verizon to shut down its tower, even though the Board recognized that the Facility complies with the TCA and the FCC regulations. In fact, however, the TCA preempts the Board’s authority to regulate the Facility on the basis of RF emissions. Therefore, the Emergency Order is unlawful, improper, and the relief this complaint requests in the form ,,of a declaratory judgment is appropriate.”
The complaint was filed on Tuesday.