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2 Arrests At PG&E SmartMeter Protest In Marin County

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Police arrest 2 women at a PG&E SmartMeter protest in Marin County.

Police arrest 2 women at a PG&E SmartMeter protest in Marin County.

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POINT REYES STATION (CBS/BCN) — Two women were arrested in Inverness Park in unincorporated Marin County Wednesday in a protest against PG&E’s installation of SmartMeters, a Marin County sheriff’s sergeant said.

Katharina Sandizell, 41, of Point Reyes Station, and Kristin McCrory, 32, of Inverness, were arrested in Inverness Park, which is one mile west and southwest of Point Reyes Station, at about 10:45 a.m. today, Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Wilbanks said.

Joshua Hart of Stop Smart Meters, a statewide group that opposes the wireless meter program, said the women were part of a group of about 25 people who were trying to block about 10 Wellington Energy trucks on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

PG&E is contracting with Wellington Energy, which is based in Pittsburgh, to install the SmartMeters, according to PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno.

Hart said the women were engaging in “an act of courage and civil disobedience.”

Wilbanks said Sandizell and McCrory were given citations for disobeying a police officer for failing to get out of the road so traffic could come through. The women were then released, and court dates for them haven’t yet been set, he said.

Sandizell’s husband, Barry Smith, said he and Sandizell are co-directors of West Marin Citizens Against Wireless Smart Meters.

Hart said he thinks PG&E may be trying to install as many SmartMeters as possible in Marin County before the county’s Board of Supervisors meets next week to consider passing an ordinance that would impose a moratorium on the installation of smart meters until more information about them can be collected.

However, Moreno said that’s not true.

Similar moratoriums bar the installation of smart meters in unincorporated Santa Cruz County and the cities of Fairfax and Watsonville, Hart said.

Hart said many Marin County residents are concerned about the potential negative health effects of smart meters, saying there are numerous reports of people getting sick from high-intensity microwave radiation pulses emitted from the new meters.

But Moreno said PG&E believes the devices are safe, as they “operate well within the Federal Communication Commission’s guidelines for radio frequency.”

Moreno said the SmartMeters only transmit information for 45 seconds a day and use one watt of power, a level that he said is similar to that of a cell phone or a baby monitor.

He said it would take 1,000 years for someone with a SmartMeter to be exposed to as much radio frequency as a typical cell phone user is exposed to in a month.

Moreno said experts such as researchers at the World Health Organization have extensively studied low-powered radio frequency devices such as smart meters and concluded that they don’t pose risks to human health.

Moreno said 90 million smart meters are in use around the world, including in Italy, where they are used throughout the country.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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