By David Sheldon
Dr. David O. Carpenter, M.D., is a public health physician who founded the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany. He is known around the world as one of the leading authorities on the effects of electromagnetic radiation on biological systems and is an outspoken critic of smart meters, wi-fi and the over proliferation of cell phone towers. He has published in many peer reviewed journals and often been called to testify in court proceedings.
Dr. Carpenter has graciously agreed to be an expert witness for us in our Michigan efforts – both before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and in the circuit court cases some of our members are now pursuing. He has agreed to do this without a fee, asking only for reimbursement of any necessary travel expenses. The MPSC testimony has already been submitted as written testimony under oath, but will require his in-person appearance for purposes of cross-examination. We understand that in the circuit court cases, testimony can be given and cross examination taken by video conferencing.
As many of you know, the Michigan Court of Appeals granted an appeal brought by Michigan’s Attorney General and ABATE over an MPSC decision in 2010 that allowed Detroit Edison to charge back the cost of smart meters to their customers. The appeals court said that decision was improper as there was no substantial record of evidence to support such a decision. In remanding the case back to MPSC for a do-over, the appeals court specifically ordered MPSC to “consider the risks and burdens” of smart meter technology and the the customer response in other states. Recently the Commission reopened general rate case U-15768 in order to comply with the remand order from the court. This case, in theory, offers a far better forum for arguing the health effects and privacy violations than does the so called opt-out case.
Four of us petitioned to intervene in the reopened general rate case for the purpose of raising precisely those issues that were totally neglected in the original proceeding. As previously reported on this site, we were all summarily denied intervener status on the flimsiest of pretexts by Administrative Law Judge Theresa Sheets. In so ruling she was plainly defying the remand order from the appeals court. Her decision is now under appeal to the Commission and, if necessary, to the appeals court which has retained jurisdiction of this case. As matters now stand the issues the court ordered to be considered cannot now be considered since those who intervened in this case back in 2009 have lost their standing to raise issues of health or privacy, having waived them in the original proceeding. Her purpose in denying us intervener status was, apparently, to maintain a closed shop where only the issues she wants to consider will be considered. It is hard to believe that such a decision can long stand.
Notwithstanding this background I thought it best to try to get Dr. Carpenter’s testimony admitted to this most critical case – even while the question of our intervener status is still under review. The MPSC has so far refused to post Dr. Carpenter’s testimony to the docket and will do their best to permanently suppress his testimony I am sure. But all participants in this case have been served with the testimony, and if the MPSC proceeds with this case to completion while continuing to exclude the testimony, they will do so at their own risk, including the risk that their decision this time around will also be struck down and they may be ordered to do the case over a third time.