Boulder councilwoman shares video calling 5G technology “the extinction event”

A Boulder councilwoman on Thursday shared a YouTube video that described 5G cell phone technology as “the extinction event.”

Councilwoman Cindy Carlisle sent a link to the video in an email to Hotline, an email list for council members and city staff, and to which the public can subscribe. Council members typically use the list to send questions to staff in advance of council meetings and to share their thoughts on matters if they will be absent from those meetings.

About 75 people are subscribed, city spokesman Patrick von Keyserling said in an email, and the archives are public.

“I watched the first 17 minutes of this film and hope you‘ll at least take a look,” Carlisle wrote of the 68-minute video in a message addressed to her fellow council members. “Conspiracy theory? I‘m not an expert, but it seems we need more information before we start saturating our community more than it is with any more G‘s, 5 or 4. When will we have the study session? And just as a matter of curiosity, isn‘t it better to study a matter before acting, rather than after?”

During their March 19 meeting, city council members considered and to be placed on the South Boulder Recreation Center — with an amendment that Verizon could not make any changes to the facility, including the installation of 5G equipment, without approval by the city. Verizon staff assured council they have no plans yet to deploy 5G in Boulder.

Nearly 20 people outlined what they saw as the health risks of cell phone technology and opposed the lease during that meeting, and Carlisle and Councilwoman Lisa Morzel voted against it.

Council members generally expressed support for a future study session to allow them to examine and understand 5G technology, as well as to discuss city strategy regarding telecommunications leases.

Carlisle said in an interview that she sent the “tongue-in-cheek” message Thursday to bring up the idea of a study session again. She said in a follow-up message it was an ironic question.

“(The video) had been sent to the council, so it was sent to all of the council, and unfortunately what people send to the council is not shared with the public, which is an issue of transparency,” Carlisle said. “I believe it should be, but I‘m not the king. That was sent to all of us, and what I said is that I hope they take a look at it. I put ‘Conspiracy theory?‘ as a question. I have no idea.”

Emails sent to are public record, but emails sent to individual council members are not included in the city‘s online dataset.

The video makes mention of “chemtrails” — a debunked conspiracy theory regarding the condensation trails left behind by aircraft — and was published by New Earth Nation, “a fellowship of sovereign nations and micro-nations founded in recognition of the primacy of consciousness, the unity of all life and the undeniability of the individual sovereign condition.”

“Hotline is comprised of people who are interested in what the council is doing and saying, right?” Carlisle said. “These people are interested. This is my opinion. My opinion — I don‘t know whether this is conspiracy theory or not. We haven‘t had a study session. We don‘t know what we‘re doing, obviously.”

Carlisle cited that urged him to support H.R. 530 — accelerating broadband development by empowering local communities — and oppose proposed FCC rules regarding local authorities and their ability to regulate cable operators and television services, rules they said threaten local control and funding.

She said she felt council‘s vote on the Verizon lease was a direct contradiction of that letter, and she would also like to see a study session before council votes on such issues as the lease with Verizon.

“There are deep issues,” Carlisle said. “In terms of public health and safety, I would rather see us err on the side of taking more time and actually trying to get a study session together before we go ahead and sign agreements with those whose purpose it is to put 5G in the community.”

Councilman Aaron Brockett said he watched 10 minutes of the video, and it did not appear to have reliable information or backing by scientific research.

He said he takes issue with the state and federal regulations that limit communities‘ ability to exert their own control, but he doesn‘t see the matter of 5G technology to be an urgent one right now.

Federal regulations preempt local governments from regulating the placement of facilities on the basis of environmental effects, as long as radio frequency emissions comply with FCC regulations. Colorado regulations further preempt city actions, especially as they relate to small cell facilities in city rights-of-way.

“We‘ve already passed the regulations that we are allowed to pass within our constraints allowed by state and federal law,” Brockett said.

Councilman Sam Weaver also said he does not think the preemptions are fair to the concept of local control. He said he did not watch the video Carlisle shared, and he does not have a comment on it.

He said, however, that it‘s fair for council members to ask what peer-reviewed research exists about 5G.

“From my standpoint, the question about 5G is: What do we know, and how do we know it, and what kind of studies have been done?” Weaver said.

He said asking the question does not mean he has predetermined the technology to be dangerous.

“As regulators, we have to look at how thoroughly the industry has studied its coming changes,” he said. “It‘s just a precautionary principle position.”