After approving numerous 5G expansion plans in Hawaii, local politicians are now facing negative feedback from citizens who view 5G technology as potentially dangerous, reports the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Naysayers continue to blame a litany of ills on cell towers, despite a determination by the World Health Organization that cell tower transmissions do not pose a health risk. Trying to mollify concerned residents, council members find themselves in a bind, caught between a ticking shot-clock and a chorus of complainers.
“I care just as much as anyone else whether it’s safe,” said County Planning Director, Michael Yee. However, since plans to begin tower construction in various locations have already been approved, provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 keep the plans moving forward. An upgrade in Hawaiian Paradise Park was eventually denied because of the proximity to a playground, but Yee cautioned that vague health concerns would not override FCC rulings.
Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder has led the charge against cell tower construction, rallying others to demand more safety reassurances. His resolution requests that “independent research and testing” be conducted. If approved, 5G development could potentially come to a standstill until such “independent research and testing” determine that 5G infrastructure has been proven safe for humans. Supporters cited the 5G COVID-19 stories and theories about 5G being used as a beam weapon while praising Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder’s resolution.
Opponent Ikaika Rodenhurst, who hopes to unseat Kaneali’i-Kleinfelder in the next election, spoke in favor of the proven connectivity benefits that new cell towers would provide. She also reminded people how much emergency service providers rely on strong connections and urged people not to condemn new technology.
After prolonged discussion, the resolution was forwarded, though not unanimously, to the next committee. The future of additional Hawaiian cell towers remains undecided.