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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune
  • Concerns raised over radio frequency from new automatic meter reading equipment in Clarkfield

  • Clarkfield citizen Diane Lang, supported by Jeff Randall, appeared before the Clarkfield City Council at their regular meeting Tuesday to ask the city to give residents an opt-out option in regard to the city’s meter replacement project, where the city plans to install new automatic meter r...
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  • Clarkfield citizen Diane Lang, supported by Jeff Randall, appeared before the Clarkfield City Council at their regular meeting Tuesday to ask the city to give residents an opt-out option in regard to the city’s meter replacement project, where the city plans to install new automatic meter reading equipment at every Clarkfield residence.
    Lang and Randall believe the radio frequency (RF) radiation emitted from the meter-reading devices causes health problems and argued that Clarkfield residents should not be forced into accepting the new technology.    
    To begin, Randall—a former Clarkfield mayor and current Clarkfield Civic and Commerce president—addressed the council and introduced Lang. Randall then read a letter outlining his and Lang’s argument.
    They cited action taken recently by the St. Paul Board of Water Commissioner, where they approved a motion for the St. Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS) to give residents/customers an opt-out option in the installation of automatic meter readers. In examples provided by Lang and Randall, SPRWS will install a non-radio reading device in place of the automatic meter for a charge of $12 for every actual or estimated meter reading (in St. Paul that’s typically four times a year, which equates to $48/year).
    When Randall was finished, Lang stated that RF radiation causes her severe pain. Lang was apprehensive and at times overwrought as she testified to her pain and electromagnetic sensitivity.
    “I didn’t want to come here tonight—but I don’t want anyone to go through this,” said Lang as one arm and one leg shook involuntarily.
    In a phone conversation following the meeting, Lang revealed that she suffers, also, from Parkinson’s Disease, but feels that RF radiation triggers the disease’s symptoms.
    The council mostly stared at the papers in front of them as Lang gave emotional accounts of the health effects of RF radiation; citing sources that identify RF radiation as a major health and safety hazard.   
    “It’s a horrendous thing to deal with. I try to stay out of things, but I would not wish this on anybody... It looks like a good thing,” said Lang in reference to the automatic readers. “I’m sure it saves a lot of time and money. But once you study it, it turns out to not be such a good thing.”
    Earlier Lang indicated that Clarkfield Mayor Gene Kockelman was her and her husband’s landlord.  
    Lang said the city of St. Paul also began the process of their meter conversion before adding an opt-out option after pressure was applied by citizens and local advocacy groups.
    “I don’t know about all the public policy matters, but I do know about the health effects... Now there’s a lot of things we should be forced to do: like obey stop signs. But we should not be forced to be subject to radiation.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Lang said a person like her that is affected by electromagnetic sensitivity would gladly pay (like St. Paul residents) for the option to opt-out of the project.
    The common reply to Lang and Randall from the council was: “We didn’t know anything about it”. The council will now review the information presented and discuss it at their next meeting.
    Work on the $99,600 meter replacement project is expected to begin this summer.

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