|Cell phone tower compound at Daly Elementary School|
Cell phone tower carriers are required to obtain a Hazardous Materials Use Permit (See Fire Safety Code Reg. 22.00.01)
Here is what the 2008 Opinion stated on Page 61:
...T-Mobiles counsel, Mr. Hughes, asserted that the housing and use of the back-up batteries are very safe and in full compliance with all applicable laws.See
Ex. 107. The latter point turned out to be debatable. Ms. Present brought out that T-Mobile has adopted a corporate policy of not complying with Montgomery Countys registration requirements for businesses that store hazardous materials, arguing that they should be considered exempt. Barbara Moore, Permit
Coordinator in the County's Office of Emergency Management, Hazardous Materials Use Permits (part of the County's Homeland Security Department) testified that that the County's Hazardous Materials Use Permit Regulation, Executive Regulation 17-03, first issued in 1991, imposes a reporting requirement on any commercial business that stores a total of five gallons or more of hazardous materials. Ms. Moore explained that a hazardous material is anything that is harmful to humans, plants, animals or aquatic life. The registration requires disclosure of the quantity of a
material stored at a site so that in the event of an emergency, first responders can assess the level of risk and determine how much equipment they need to wear and bring.
Ms. Moore explained that about 97 percent of the County's telecommunications facilities are in the high use category because they store batteries that contain sulfuric acid, which is considered an extremely hazardous substance under federal law. Montgomery County considers any business that stores ten pounds or more of a hazardous substance to be in the high use category.
Ms. Moore noted that a few telecommunications sites are SARA facilities under the federal Superfund Amendment and Reorganization At of 1986, which requires reporting at which requires reporting at the state level as well as to the County. Those facilities have 10,000 pounds or more of a hazardous substance, or 220 gallons or more of an extremely hazardous substance. The few SARA sites are located on buildings that are used for another purpose that involves hazardous materials, so that pushes the site into the higher category. Ms. Moore also noted that any business that may bring an emergency generator to its site for even one day is supposed to include the hazardous materials associated with that generator, such as fuel, on its hazardous materials inventory.
Ms. Moore testified that all of the cell phone carriers operating in Montgomery County have reported their hazardous materials storage and filed the required emergency plans, with the exception of T-Mobile. The emergency plan for a typical unmanned site is just to call 911, but the hazardous materials registration means that the County's HAZMAT team goes out and they know what's stored there. See Tr. Feb. 1 at 93. T-Mobile has approximately 155 cell phone sites in Montgomery County but has refused to register them as hazardous materials storage sites...