Federal lawsuit filed against TRPA, Verizon Wireless, and Tahoe Prosperity Center to stop deployment of hundreds of new cell towers and wireless antennas. SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA, USA, January 26, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Press Release
Contact: Robert Berg, Esq. – (914) 522-9455
Julian Gresser, Esq. – (805) 708-1864
Federal Lawsuit Filed to Block Saturation of Lake Tahoe Region with Cell Towers
Three environmental non-profit organizations and a South Lake Tahoe homeowner have filed a landmark federal lawsuit in the United States District Court in Sacramento against the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), Verizon Wireless, and the Tahoe Prosperity Center, Inc. to stop the deployment of hundreds of new cell towers and wireless antennas and facilities that proponents claim are necessary to transform the region into a so-called “Smart City.” Citing the area’s unique beauty and pristine nature, the lawsuit by Tahoe Stewards, LLC, Tahoe for Safer Tech, the Environmental Health Trust, and Monica Eisenstecken seeks an immediate moratorium on pending and proposed wireless infrastructure projects until the TRPA follows its own prescribed procedures and regulations to conduct strict environmental reviews of all such applications. Plaintiffs allege that the TRPA has failed to abide by its mandate under the Congressionally-approved bi-state Compact to protect permanently this fragile ecosystem which Mark Twain famously described as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.”
Defendants’ expanded wireless broadband vision for the Lake Tahoe region consists of adding tall wireless cell towers and other wireless infrastructure that defile scenic and environmentally sensitive areas, including constructing many wireless facilities in residential neighborhoods and adjacent to schools. The wireless facilities already pose serious health and safety risks to humans, wildlife, and flora, while contributing to the degradation of Tahoe’s water and air quality. The lawsuit charges that the TRPA’s recent piecemeal approvals of subparts of wireless infrastructure plans have been achieved because of the undue influence of certain voting TRPA members. These TRPA members have substantial conflicts of interest on account of their relationships with the telecom companies, but they improperly failed to recuse themselves from the decision-making. The Compact, however, requires the TRPA to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact assessment, consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and find consistency with the TRPA’s overall Regional Plan before approving a project.