Hoosiers fight against 5G towers near homes

Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosier homeowners are fighting for the right to approve where 5G towers are put up in Indiana. Some are being placed just feet away from homes.

“Right in our yard, they put this big ugly box at the base of it that probably takes up two by three feet,” explained Katy Schluge, who lives in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood in Indianapolis.

Without her consent or notice, Verizon installed a 5G tower about 17 feet away from where Schluge’s youngest son sleeps.

“He’s been having headaches more frequently, it just worries me that it’s so close to my kid’s bedrooms,” said Schluge.

Organizations like the American Cancer Society feel more research on the health impacts of cell phone towers needs to be done. Until it is, Schluge isn’t sure being this close to a 5G tower is safe for her family.

“We’re considering installing a metal roof,” said Schluge.

Metal roofs are said to shield the electromagnetic field these towers emit. It would cost them about $30,000.

Then there’s the cost of safety, she said her kids are afraid of their own yard now.

“Kind of emits a buzzing sound, it has warning signs all over it, and it’s right by the tree they used to climb,” said Schluge. “It’s not something they want to be close to.”

Still, there’s nothing she can do about it. Indiana law protects companies when it comes to installing these towers. State Sen. J.D. Ford is filing a bill to give the public more say about where 5G structures can go.

“You can’t just sit back and not do anything about it,” said Ford. “I’ve been hearing from constituents on a regular basis about the 5G towers going up in their neighborhoods.”

Verizon Communications Manager David Weissmann sent the following statement:

“5G Ultra Wideband is currently available in parts of Indianapolis. Verizon is presently focused on working with the City of Indianapolis to achieve a mutually acceptable approach to small cell permitting so that we can offer as many residents as possible access to our 5G network.”

He also included links to more information. One includes more information about Verizon’s 5G. The other includes information about small cells.

“Everyone wants to be able to pull out their phone and have the 5G technology,” said Sen. Ford. “Everyone wants that.”

However, Ford said everyone should also want the process to be fair. He believes state lawmakers are the only ones capable of guaranteeing that.

We reached out to State Sen. Eric Koch, the chair of the committee that would decide whether to hear this bill in 2021. He was unavailable for comment Monday.

A website has been created to help Hoosiers interested in supporting or learning more about the issue and Sen. Ford’s legislation.

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