A bill that would direct the Washington State Department of Ecology to recommend ways to reduce light pollution in the state is scheduled to receive a hearing tomorrow before the House Environment Committee. The measure, HB 2057, directs the department to complete a study of the environmental, economic, and public health effects of light pollution, and to submit the study and policy recommendations for reducing light pollution to the Legislature by next January. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 12 in House Hearing Room B in the John L. O’Brien building on the state capitol campus in Olympia.
State Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle) is the prime sponsor of the bill. It was introduced in February of last year but never received a hearing. Farrell told us at that time that she feels light pollution is an “important issue,” but that “it’s going to take some time and education to get movement.” She vowed to bring the bill back this session and has made good on that promise.
It’s a good sign that the measure is being heard on the second day of the 60-day session of the Legislature. The timeline is short; the bill will have to be approved by the committee by Feb. 5 to be eligible for further consideration by the full House of Representatives.
It’s also a good sign that the chair of the committee, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Seattle), is a co-sponsor of the bill.
Those unable to attend the hearing in person can comment online using a form on the Legislature’s website. Seattle Astronomy plans to attend the hearing and will keep you posted about the progress of this important legislation.