September 18, 2009

Montville wants its own EMF readings

"Overall, the scientific evidence does not demonstrate that exposure to EMF
(electro-magnetic fields) causes any disease."

That's how Public Service Electric & Gas Co. puts it on a brochure it has distributed in connection to its proposal to build a 500-kilovolt power line from Susquehanna, Pa. through northern New Jersey to Roseland.

The Montville school board wants to do its own study. The board this week hired a
consultant at a cost not to exceed $5,000 to test the level of EMF fields emanating from power lines near Robert R. Lazar Middle School.

The issue, of course, has more to do with what's proposed than the power lines already in place. The school board opposes PSE&G's proposed power line, which soon will be the subject of public hearings before the state Board of Public Utilities. Concern in Montville over power lines current and planned increased recently when school officials in Fredon in Sussex County considered closing a school because of EMF exposure from nearby PSE&G power lines. That issue
was settled when PSE&G agreed to pay $950,000 to relocate playing fields.

In Montville, PSE&G says tests it took in August showed low EMF readings. School officials don't trust them. There's nothing unusual about skepticism from local officials and residents about the motives of a large utility like PSE&G. Let the district conduct its own readings.

The district readings, however, may put residents at ease, and they definitely will contribute to the debate before the BPU.