[JPL] 2 radio towers in WA state toppled- dangerous radio signals...

Susan Reeves susan at susanreeves.net
Fri Sep 4 16:07:31 EDT 2009

2 radio towers in Washington state toppled
Associated Press Writer
Posted: Today at 10:16 a.m.
Updated: 11 minutes ago

radio station towers north of Seattle were toppled early Friday, a
banner left nearby bore the initials of the Earth Liberation Front and
an FBI spokesman said authorities haven't found any evidence that other
individuals or groups besides the ELF were involved.

The towers were torn down because of health and environmental
concerns, according to an e-mail from the North American ELF Press
Office, which has represented the shadowy group in the past.

"We have to weigh our priorities, and the local ecosystem in
Everett, along with the local residents, do not need additional sports
news radio station towers that come at the expense of reduced property
values and harmful radio waves," ELF press office spokesman Jason
Crawford said in the e-mail.

The ELF is a loose collection of radical environmentalists that has
claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks since the 1990s. The FBI
has taken over as lead investigator in Friday's incident.

The towers apparently were taken down with a track hoe, a piece of
heavy construction equipment that was already on the site, FBI agent
Marty Prewett said.

The ELF's Web site featured a picture of one of the towers lying on
its site with the caption "Earth Liberation Front Topples Two Radio
Station Towers in Snohomish County, WA," followed by the words:
"Details coming soon."

Crawford told the AP by telephone he believed more than one person
was involved. He said he had not spoken directly with anyone who
claimed to be involved but received some e-mail from what appear to be
locals who support the action.

The towers belonging to KRKO - a family-owned station in Everett,
about 25 miles north of Seattle - have prompted complaints from
neighbors of interference from radio signals on home telephone and
intercom lines. The site for the towers is in the town of Snohomish,
about eight miles southeast of Everett.

The station's plans to increase its transmission capacity by
building more towers on the site have been embroiled for more than a
decade in appeals and litigation over issues ranging from trumpeter
swan habitat to potential health hazards to humans.

A neighbor told a 911 operator that someone seemed to be attacking
the towers with a bulldozer or other heavy equipment at about 3:30
a.m., Snohomish County sheriff's office spokeswoman Rebecca Hover told
The Herald of Everett.

Sheriff's deputies on Friday morning found a 349-foot tower and a
smaller tower on the ground with heavy construction equipment nearby,
Hover said.

Investigators have found no evidence of injury, Prewett said.

The station remained on the air Friday after shifting to other
transmission equipment. A $25,000 reward for information leading to the
capture of whoever was responsible was announced by Andy Skotdal, the
station's general manager.

"We'll use our airwaves to do it, too," Skotdal told The Herald.

The ELF has claimed responsibility for several arsons in the region,
including a fire that destroyed the Center for Urban Horticulture at
the University of Washington in Seattle in 2001.

An ELF sign was left at the scene of fires set on March 3, 2008, at
a number of luxury houses in a development in Echo Lake, north of

KRKO's additions to its existing towers in Snohomish were completed
in February, allowing the station to boost its AM signal to where it
could compete with larger broadcasters in the Seattle-Tacoma area.
That's when the complaints from neighbors over telephone interference

The Skotdal family also plans to build two 199-foot towers at the
same site for a new 5,000-watt AM station that would cover Snohomish
County on another frequency.

A hearing examiner denied a permit for the towers, based on claims
that radio signals could be dangerous to humans. But the council voted
to reverse the finding, saying it was based on shaky scientific

A King County judge upheld the council's decision on Aug. 14.

"When all legal channels of opposition have been exhausted,
concerned citizens have to take action into their own hands to protect
life and the planet," Crawford said in the e-mail.

Skotdal has said he hopes to get the new signal on the air by the
end of the year. The towers being built apparently escaped damage.

The action upset one of the leading opponents of KRKO's expansion plans.

"It has been a long legal battle and I'm upset to see this kind of
violence happen here," Lee Bennett Jr., president of Citizens to
Preserve the Upper Snohomish River Valley, told The Herald. "This is
not the way to handle it."


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