Alpine wants answers now regarding EMF on Blvd.
By Lori Bledsoe
The Alpine Sun
Over 200 people showed up at the EMF (Electrical Magnetic Field) informational meeting held at the Alpine Elementary Auditorium. Superintendent Bruce Cochrane, Supervisor Dianne Jacob, ACPG elected chairman Travis Lyon, SDG&E representative Don Parent, and a late arrival of Public Health and Human Services Officer Wilma Wooten were present as a panel to answer the questions of concerned Alpine community members and parents of Alpine Elementary students.
After an article was published in the February 4th issue of The Alpine Sun, showing a report of EMF levels measured on Alpine Boulevard and was re-reported on by Miriam Raftery from the East County Magazine, many questions have been asked and are still being asked. Parents want to know how it will impact their children who attend school on Alpine Boulevard, and walk on the sidewalks every day.
Superintendent Cochrane opened the proceedings, saying that the district is very protective of the health of their students, and of their staff. He announced that the district took decisive steps after receiving information of the EMF readings. They hired Risk Management JPA Fringe Benefits Consortium to test the electromagnetic field at Alpine Elementary School. They received a report from Benjamin Flores, Loss Control Analyst. He listed a Teslatronics Triaxial Magnetic Field Meter Model 710 as his equipment.
Bruce Cochrane announced that they are also hiring an independent analyst to survey the rates, to help provide the community assurance in the face of conflicting reports about EMF levels. Cochrane said that he is expecting results as early as Friday. Once the district receives results, he would share that information with the community. He said that it is important that the information about the EMF on the boulevard is out there, but it is also important to take the next step and get professional reports.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob spoke to the attendees with passion about the Sunrise Powerlink, briefly touching on the dramatic fight that the town of Alpine was entangled in before the installation of the Powerlink through our back country and Alpine. Supervisor Jacob said that the CPUC is the agency to answer any and all questions regarding this situation. She said that California does not have criteria for safe levels of EMF emissions at existing schools such as Alpine Elementary. She also said that the CPUC requires a bare minimum of mitigations for EMF. She said that the findings must be independently reviewed. There are disparities in reports on EMF but an investigation needs to be immediate and thorough.
Don Parent of SDG&E said that ‘SDG&E takes this very seriously’. He noted that there was a form put in place for people to request a technician to take readings at their residence. The readings will be taken outside a home, inside a home, and in requested rooms. He said that the standard distance is 37.5 feet for installation of power lines away from school facilities. The district actually required more distance, and SDG&E moved the lines further from the school facility to accommodate the school standards. Parent said that they did do what CPUC and Health Organizations directed them to do.
Wilma Wooten said, “it is never easy when these things come up in our communities.” She said that previous studies do show impacts of EMF on leukemia and brain cancers. She said that the San Diego County Health and Human Services would now be involved in this investigation. She also said that it would have been nice if they had been involved from the beginning.
Parents of students and community members were allowed to voice their concerns. People are angry. Bree Rowand, mother of Kylie Rowand, spoke to the panel and asked them if it were their children at risk, how would they feel? Another woman voiced her concerns that there have been four cases of Nueroblastoma in Alpine and the surrounding communities. Wooten said that her department is interested in any reports of cancers in children in the area. Another parent who found no satisfaction in the answers of the evening said, “All of us are going to leave here without answers tonight. We don’t want to get answers in two weeks, we want them now.”
Jacob recognized the agonized interest of all the attendees of the meeting. She said, “I am doing anything I can to get answers for this community.” She suggested that every attendee at the meeting contact the CPUC regarding this issue.