Opinion: Proposed cell tower will hurt tourism and wildlife

Primary 2020: Commission District D-4 Nicklos Jaramillo (D)

What nerve! To build a cell tower in close proximity to the Río Grande Gorge Bridge and adjacent to the Río Grande del Norte National Monument!

The application for the proposed cell tower is one-quarter mile from the Gorge Bridge. This is the very same bridge on the National Register of Historic Places and on the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties. This is the very same bridge tourists from all over the world flock to for stunning views of the gorge and the Río Grande. Imagine the surprise and dismay of our visitors upon seeing an ugly cell tower in sight of the bridge!

Is nothing sacred anymore?

The proposal to build a new cell tower just a few thousand feet west of the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, which runs north and south, will not only create a visual eye sore in this pristine landscape but will harm the wildlife that roams the area, including bighorn sheep, deer and elk.

A diverse coalition of conservation advocates, ranchers, sportsmen, outfitters/guides, land grant heirs and acequia parciantes came together to protect and create the Río Grande del Norte National Monument. It truly was a historic example of different sectors of our community working together. During this COVID-19 crisis the Bureau of Land Management has kept the trails open so that many of us can find solace and respite in the natural beauty there.

The monument also provides habitat for a variety of resident birds, and the Río Grande corridor is a primary path for migrating birds such as the bald eagle.

Arthur Firstenberg, in his book "The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life" (2016), provides compelling evidence that cell towers - and the radiation they emit - is harmful to birds, bees, trees and humans. He tells the story of disappearing kestrels, white storks, magpies, warblers and house sparrows and bees when exposed to cell towers and their dread antennae.

Do we really want electromagnetic pollution to ruin our environment?

I am a lifelong resident of Taos County. I was born and raised here. I am running for Taos County commissioner, District 4, because I believe in our community and want to protect our precious natural resources.

The COVID-19 crisis has created an economic disaster for our region. Now more than ever we need to protect our natural resources, which is why I have filed an appeal of this proposed cell tower. It will provide no additional revenue to local residents but rather [line] the pockets of corporations and telecommunication companies that are already benefiting from this quagmire of a public health crisis.

Why not take advantage of the fiber optic network that has already been installed at great expense by Kit Carson Electric Co-op? Fiber is clean, safe and fast and will be attractive to the kinds of companies we need to lure to Taos County to do business here and reignite our economy.

We don't need more cell towers. Although the mainstream media has not reported the story, many scientists and physicians from around the world have written and spoken about the hazards and dangers of 5G technology, which a new cell tower like the one proposed by the Gorge Bridge will facilitate.

The award-winning filmmaker Maxi Cohen, currently suffering from COVID-19, recently wrote: "When I hear the facts about 5G -- higher and higher frequencies pulsating 24/7 from utility poles, beaming right into our apartments -- and the disruption this can cause in our bodies, I wonder why our politicians are not cautious enough to protect us."

One purpose of the Taos County Commission is to protect the citizens of Taos County. It is the commission's job to provide review and oversight when a proposed project runs counter to the public welfare.

While they think no one may be watching, let's be sure to stop this cell tower out near the Gorge Bridge. If you would like to support my ongoing appeal of this ill-advised cell tower application, contact me at (575) 776-8437 or by email at dsjaramillo@aol.com


Nicklos "Nick" Jaramillo is running for county commissioner, District 4. He has served three previous terms as a Taos County commissioner, is a certified paralegal and serves in the Hondo-Seco Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.

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