Maine Coalition to Stop Smart Meters Legal Updates

Maine Smart Meter Opponents File Testimony in Health Case http://stopsmartmeters.org/2013/02/08/maine-smart-meter-opponents-file-testimony-in-health-case/

From MaineCoalitiontoStopSmartMeters.Org

PORTLAND- In Maine’s ongoing PUC investigation into the safety of smart meters, opponents turned up the heat this week on Central Maine Power (CMP). Complainants in the case filed their comprehensive expert and lay witness testimony with the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The submissions detail biological and health effects from radiofrequency or microwave radiation (RF) and smart meters.

In his cover letter to the PUC, Bruce McGlaufin of the Portland firm of Petrucelli, Martin and Haddow representing smart meter opponents, noted the comprehensive lay witness testimonies and declarations “provide compelling evidence of the direct adverse health effects related to the radio frequency radiation transmitted by smart meters.” McGlauflin added: “When this direct evidence of real-life human consequences is evaluated together with the expert testimony of some of the most highly qualified scientists and public policy specialists, there is but one conclusion to reach-smart meters pose a significant health risk.”

All of the independent scientists providing testimony for meter opponents are recognized authorities on low-level biological effects of RF or related public health matters. Collectively they have hundreds of peer-reviewed published journal articles to their credit. Experts for the complainants include Dr. Lennart Hardell of Sweden, the world’s foremost authority on cell phone induced brain tumors and author of over 300 papers on RF issues; Dr. Jerry Phillips, Director of the Center for Excellence in Science, an expert on how low-level RF effects DNA and also expert on the often misused “weight of evidence” approach to evaluating research. Dr. Dariusz Leszczynski of Finland who served on the International Agency for Research on Cancer with Dr. Hardell is another expert who has authored 90 papers and has developed highly specialized screening techniques for transcriptomic and proteotomic analyses showing cell phone effects on gene and protein expression.

In sharp contrast, witnesses for CMP are hardly published in this field, and are employed by Exponent, a renowned “product protection” firm making its fortune defending products like tobacco, asbestos, benzene and MTBE. Exponent is featured in the book Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health by epidemiologist and former Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health, David Michaels.

“While we have submitted comprehensive, irrefutable, compelling and often tragic testimony” said Ed Friedman, lead complainant in the case, “the fact is the legal burden of proof is on CMP and the PUC to guarantee smart meters are safe, not on us to prove they are not. While the PUC may find there is conflicting evidence on the subject of low-level effects of RF, they still could not meet their statutory requirement to guarantee safety.”

Friedman calls for the complete removal of all smart meters and a return to safe and long-lasting electromechanical meters noting “most possible alternatives shy of this remain unsafe.”

Recent testimony submitted by Maine’s Office of Public Advocate showed several Maine smart meter RF levels below those of the FCC guidelines. “No surprise there,” said Kathleen McGee a complainant in the case adding “the report is as irrelevant as the obsolete government exposure guidelines. Indeed, adverse health effects are occurring at levels lower than the FCC limits. That is our point, well-illustrated by the plain, simple and incontrovertible facts shown in our submitted evidence.”

Richard Conrad, a Ph.D. biochemist is another expert and brought his dual perspective as a research scientist and sufferer of electrical sensitivity to designing a survey investigating possible correlations between smart meters and health effects. There were over two hundred survey respondents from around the world. Some significant survey conclusions are that 82% of respondents were in good or excellent health before smart meters and 42% of them developed symptoms prior to any knowledge a smart meter was present (thereby disproving the psychosomatic label industry has tagged smart meter victims with). Before smart meter installation 32% had some electrical sensitivity and this jumped to nearly 68% following smart meter installation. 99% of respondents were very sure (82%) or fairly (17%) sure their symptoms (tinnitus, insomnia, headaches, heart arrhythmias, cognitive difficulties, etc.) were initiated or worsened by smart meters.

A look at survey comments submitted by many respondents tells a story of devastation said Conrad. “Many respondents were forced from their homes, are unable to work anymore and in a constant state of chronic debilitating ill-health following smart meter exposure or installation. Exposure to smart meters has destroyed the ability of many respondents to function normally in their personal and work lives.”

Survey results and other testimony are available on the Maine PUC website and within a few days should be available on the Maine Coalition to Stop Smart Meters website at www.mainecoalitiontostopsmartmeters.org .

Dianne Wilkins, Coalition organizer, intervenor in this investigation and former complainant in an earlier smart meter case before the PUC had this to say:

“Smart meters threaten our health, our privacy, our security and in no small way our human rights, democracy, dignity and way of life. Smart meters are one of the largest uncontrolled toxic biological experiments of our time. An experiment sanctioned by Maine legislators on unsuspecting and trusting citizens, citizens who are getting ill just going home, making dinner, going to bed; living. Their deployment is unconscionable.”

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Maine Coalition To Stop Smart Meters Legal Updates: http://www.mainecoalitiontostopsmartmeters.org/legal/

Legal Updates

Introduction to Our PUC Filings of Expert and Lay Witness Testimony

Ed Friedman, 7 February 2013

Maine smart meter opponents filed important expert and lay witness testimony on Friday, February 1, 2013, then submitted corrected and amended re-filings in the few days following that initial filing. Expert testimony is that of scientists engaged in research on the biological effects of low-level RF or those engaged in public health or policy in this arena. Lay witness testimony is typically from those sensitive to electricity and or electromagnetic fields, a condition that is often referred to as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) or electrically sensitive (ES).

Although all of our testimony is available on the Maine PUC website (docket 2011-00262), it is not labeled by content there in the index listing–only by filing number (e.g., 199, 200, 201). Only when you open each file can you identify the contents. Because that unwieldy system is so user-UNfriendly, we offer the same information here on this site but with a title that identifies for you the source and with an exhibit number. Note that these exhibit numbers are provided only for reference on this site. Because the documents have been reduced in size for your downloading convenience, you will need Adobe Reader X or higher to view the documents (download Adobe Reader here).

Index to our listing and related material:

Thank you.

 

Maine Smart Meter Appeal Summary History [as of 1/29/13]
Ed Friedman

On August 3, 2011, a group of 19 customers of Central Maine Power [CMP] filed a “10 Person Complaint” with the Maine Public Utilities Commission [PUC]. Our initial complaint, followed the PUC’s order of the nation’s first pay-to-opt-out-of-smart-meters plan. In fact, this was the first opt out plan period, and resulted from negotiations involved with several earlier complainants. Complainants in the new case issued a press release on 4/4/11 providing an excellent summary of the issues directed at both the PUC who ordered the smart meter program and CMP, Maine’s largest utility provider.

The Complaint was dismissed by the PUC on 8/31/11 without an investigation on grounds that issues raised had previously come before the PUC and been decided. In response, Complainants filed a Petition for Reconsideration on 9/9/11. With the PUC failing to respond within 20 days, the Petition was by PUC Rules, deemed denied.

On 10/31/11, Complainants filed a Notice of Appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, also known as the Law Court. Because the PUC is considered quasi-judicial, all PUC appeals go straight to the Law Court as opposed to a Superior Court where a normal agency appeal would first go. While appealed to the high court, the actual notice of filing is sent to the PUC, as it would be to a lower court in a normal appeal. The PUC then files all papers with the high court. The group issued a press release on 11/4/11 detailing the Notice of Appeal filing.

The actual Appeal Brief was filed on 1/10/12 accompanied by the required Supplement of Legal Authorities and Appendix. A press release on the Brief filing was issued 1/11/12. Several weeks later the US Supreme Court decided unanimously in US v. Jones that the attachment of a detailed information gathering device [in this case a GPS tracker on a car] by the government without a warrant was illegal. Appellants submitted a letter re. Jones to the Law Court, this being a situation quite similar to a smart meter attached to ones’ home.

Reply briefs were filed with the court on 2/28/12 by the PUC (PUC Reply Brief) and by CMP (CMP Reply Brief). Appellants filed their Response Brief on 3/13/12.  Oral arguments were heard by the court on May 10 at 9:50am EST. Arguments can be heard via live streaming available through the Maine Supreme  Judicial Court web site. Click on link to audio of oral arguments. Click on link to courtroom video footage.

The Maine Court published its decision on July 12, 2012 remanding our case to the Maine PUC for a determination of smart meter safety, another first in the nation. Here is our 7/16 Press Release on Decision. The Court did not rule on constitutional claims and on 7/25/12 we filed a Motion for Reconsideration addressing these issues and also requesting a stay on opt out fees pending results of the upcoming lengthy PUC investigation. Motions for reconsideration are never granted [after all, the court just decided and they’d have to admit they were wrong]. Ours was no exception and we received a denial of our Motion for Reconsideration on 8/9/12.

In the fall of 2012 we began a major smart meter safety investigation at the PUC. It will likely run into the summer of 2013. There have been and will be a ton of filings with the Maine PUC in this case. These can be accessed from the Maine PUC website in the docket section. Docket number is 2011-00262. The filing system is unfriendly. Our Expert testimony<to come!> and Witness testimony<to come!>, due 2/1/13.

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