Category Archives: light pollution

Pushing for IDA membership

Kelly Beatty thinks more amateur astronomers should be members of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), and he puts his money where his mouth is on the issue. Beatty, a senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine and a board member of the IDA, made an offer to waive his usual fee for speaking at the recent Seattle Astronomical Society banquet if the group could sign up at least ten new or renewing IDA members. At last word they’d added at least a couple of dozen.

IDA logoStill, Beatty noted at the January 28 banquet that while there are roughly a quarter of a million amateur astronomers in the United States, the IDA has only about 3,000 members.

“That means that roughly one in a hundred amateur astronomers across the U.S. are members of IDA,” Beatty pointed out. “Isn’t that pathetic?”

“What other group has more to gain or lose from the success of the IDA and our dark sky preservation efforts?” he asked.

Beatty

Beatty

Beatty noted that LED street lighting is a major issue, and one on which regular citizens can help. If your city or town hasn’t converted street lights to LED yet, it probably will soon. LED street lights can be cheaper in a couple of ways. They consume less energy than typical street lights (though this paradoxically can cause a municipality to just buy more light), and the fixtures have a longer expected life span. What is important is that cities use fixtures that are at a color temperature of 3,000 kelvins or less. This provides warmer light with less blue in the spectrum. Blue light brightens the night sky more than any other color of light, and exposure to blue light at night has also been shown to harm human health and endanger wildlife.

Beatty said that the city of Phoenix recently decided to install 2,700-kelvin streetlights, Montreal dropped plans to install lights at 4,000 kelvins, and the entire state of Georgia is going with 3,000-kelvin lights.

“You have the power to make a difference in this fight against light pollution, individually and collectively,” Beatty said. “It’s not that people are opposed to doing the right thing, they just don’t know. It’s an education. So if you inject yourself into the process you can and will make a difference.”

IDA’s page about outdoor lighting basics and its LED practical guide have lots of useful information. Oh, and you can sign-up online. There’s a $15 annual membership for students, and standard memberships start at just $35.

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Major changes in store at Goldendale Observatory

Big changes are in store at the Goldendale Observatory in Goldendale, Washington. The facility’s telescope, installed in 1973, has already been reconfigured and more improvements are planned. Most of the existing facility, save for the south dome that houses the telescope, will be demolished this winter and replaced with a bigger, more useful observatory that operators hope will be operational in time for the solar eclipse in August.

Troy Carpenter

Troy Carpenter, interpretive specialist at Goldendale Observatory State Park, spoke at a recent Rose City Astronomers meeting about plans for improvements at the observatory. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Troy Carpenter, interpretive specialist at the observatory, talked about the plans at the recent meeting of the Rose City Astronomers in Portland. He said that up until recently the telescope and facility had been virtually unchanged since they opened.

The telescope, originally a 24.5-inch classical Cassegrain built by amateur astronomers from Vancouver, Washington, was reconfigured this summer.

“It is still the same telescope, but it has become a Newtonian,” Carpenter said. “The primary reason this was converted from Cassegrain to Newtonian is because, frankly, a classical Cassegrain telescope is totally inappropriate in Goldendale, Washington.”

The original scope, with an effective focal ratio of f/14.5, had a focal length of more than 9,000 millimeters. For telescopes and cameras, that’s extremely long.

“I would even say excessively long because it means the telescope can only operate at very high orders of magnification,” Carpenter said. That was bad, because the telescope couldn’t really look at large, dim objects like the Andromeda galaxy or Orion nebula. Also the scope required good seeing conditions, and while it’s dark and clear in Goldendale, the seeing at the observatory isn’t typically great. On top of that, the secondary mirror was eight inches wide with a ten-inch baffle that blocked too much light, leading to poor contrast at the eyepiece.

“In short, what we had was a horribly over-magnified image with terrible contrast all the time, and as a result this very impressive-looking telescope became kind of infamous, and not so much famous, for being awful,” Carpenter said. “All of these issues contributed to the decision to convert it to a Newtonian.”

That work, and some other adjustments to the telescope, its mount, and adjustability, were completed in September. Back to a more appropriate 3,050-millimeter focal length, Carpenter said views through the telescope are much better now. An improvement yet to come is replacement of the primary mirror, which has deteriorated over 43 years of use. In addition, the mirror is five inches thick, weighs 200 pounds, and takes four hours to reach thermal equilibrium, which is essential to good viewing.

A replacement is being fashioned by a company in Pennsylvania that has done work for NASA. The new mirror, computer designed and fabricated from inexpensive materials, will be the same width but just two inches thick and will weigh only 35 pounds. It will take just 15 minutes to cool to ambient temperature. They hope to have it in Goldendale and installed within the next few months. Its price tag, with a generous educational discount, is $25,000, and while that may sound like a lot, Carpenter noted a similar-sized mirror made of fused quartz might go for ten times as much, a quarter million.

New observatory

Big changes are in store for the buildings at Goldendale Observatory State Park, too.

Observatory plans

Preliminary plans for the new facility at Goldendale Observatory.

“We’re tearing it down so that a much larger facility can be built in its place,” Carpenter said. Everything except the south dome that houses the telescope will go. The new facility will include a large auditorium for classes and lectures that will seat about 150, interpretive exhibit space, and a rooftop observation deck. The total cost of the improvements, which are being made in several phases, is $5 million, which is being covered by capital funds appropriated by the Washington State Legislature. Demolition is set for this winter and they hope to be operational with the new facility in time for the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. While Goldendale won’t be within the path of totality as it was for the 1979 eclipse, the Sun will be about 98 percent obscured at the observatory that day, so it will still be something to look at.

One page detailing the planned improvements is above; you can see more of them in the latest newsletter from Friends of Goldendale Observatory.

Light pollution

While it’s pretty dark in Goldendale, many feel that light pollution has increased in town in recent years. Concerned folks this summer held a Gorge Night Sky Symposium to discuss the situation. (See our recap of the event.) Carpenter raised a few eyebrows in the room, mine included, with his take on the issue.

Goldendale Observatory

Goldendale Observatory. Everything but the dome on the right will be demolished to make way for improved facilities. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

“I’m going to surprise you by not being the loudest opponent of the light pollution we have in Goldendale,” he said. He added that he grew up in New York and has lived in Philadelphia, so he knows light pollution.

“I’ve been to places where stars don’t exist,” he said. So while Goldendale has some light pollution, Carpenter noted that they still have great views of lots of faint fuzzies in the dark night sky.

“It’s low on my priority list because it’s a politically charged issue and it makes us very unpopular every time we bring it up,” Carpenter explained. “Our friends group, however, does care very much about light pollution and they do work hard.”

He noted that the town of Goldendale is working on an improved lighting code, and is converting to full cut-off, dimmable LED street light fixtures. Despite some light pollution, Carpenter said it’s still a great place for stargazing.

“You can see the Milky Way from horizon to horizon in Goldendale,” he said, “and that’s a wonderful thing.”

We look forward to a dark, clear future at Goldendale Observatory.

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Astronomy tourism in Wisconsin

Mention Wisconsin to someone and their first thought might have something to do with cheese, bratwurst, or the Green Bay Packers. I’d suggest adding stargazing to the list after learning of some great resources during a recent trip to Milwaukee. I paid a visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum, where the The Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Dome Theater & Planetarium has just been upgraded to a Digistar 6 computer projection system.

Cool planetarium shows

I saw the museum’s planetarium show titled, “Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?” It was a visually stunning show that left one feeling that T-Rex and the killer asteroid were actually in the room.

Soref Theater and Planetarium“We produced that, we wrote it, and put it up on the dome, and that’s because we had a big dinosaur exhibit,” explained Bob Bonadurer, director of the theater and planetarium, who added that they create many of their own original programs. He noted that the answer to the question in the show’s title is yes—for now.

“There’s lot of debate about volcanic eruptions possibly contributing to the death of the dinosaurs,” Bonadurer said. “Science always changes with new evidence, and we point that out at the end of the show.”

“Did An Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?” has since closed, but the planetarium is running two other astronomy-related shows along with its staple “Wisconsin Stargazing,” which looks at what’s up in the sky each month.

Bonadurer said its not all that common to find a planetarium that also has 2D and 3D movies.

“A lot of planetariums stand alone,” he noted. “Our planetarium is part of the big dome theater.”

The recent upgrade has brought even brighter, sharper resolution to the screen.

“With the astronomy software we’ll be able to take the audience on much more engaging trips throughout the cosmos,” Bonadurer said.

Stargazing in Wisconsin

Wisconsin StargazingMilwaukee and Wisconsin have active amateur astronomy communities. There are a half dozen astronomy clubs in the greater Milwaukee area, and the Astronomical League lists 14 affiliated clubs in the state.

“Those astronomy clubs are great to work with,” Bonadurer said. “They help us out with events such as eclipses, and, for example, the Mercury transit back in May.”

As with any big city, Milwaukee has problems with light pollution, but Bonadurer said there’s plenty of good stargazing to the north of town. Newport State Park, about 90 miles north-northeast of Green Bay, is a candidate for International Dark-Sky Park status with the International Dark-Sky Association.

“Like any metro area, we tell our planetarium audiences yes, take the drive, 40-50 miles, get away from the street lights,” Bonadurer said. “It’s a tall order, but do it because it’s worth it.”

“Planetarium skies are nice, but they obviously don’t hold a candle to the real sky,” he added. “We want people to get out there under the real sky.”

Total solar eclipse

Next August 21, when a total solar eclipse crosses the United States, Milwaukee will see the Sun obscured by just 85 percent. The Milwaukee Public Museum will offer programs to help people safely view the partial eclipse in town, and is also sponsoring a five-day eclipse road trip to get people into the totality.

Bob Bonadurer

Bob Bonadurer. Photo: Twitter.

“We’ve got our hotel rooms booked as a lot of planetariums or astronomers do,” Bonadurer said. “We’re usually on the leading edge of all this in getting the public excited.”

Bonadurer, who has seen four total eclipses of the Sun, will lead the tour, which will be able to take about 110 people to the eclipse.

“This will, I hope, reignite a little passion about eclipses in America, because it’s been a long time,” he said. “It’s the first one to sweep across America in 99 years, because for the one in ’79, only a small portion of America got to see it.”

Yerkes Observatory

Astronomy buffs visiting Wisconsin will also want to check out the historic Yerkes Observatory about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The observatory, often called the birthplace of modern astrophysics, was founded by George Ellery Hale and has been the research home of Edwin Hubble and a veritable who’s who of astronomers. Check out our article about a visit to Yerkes during the 2012 Astronomical League Conference.

Bonadurer offers this advice to stargazers in Wisconsin and everywhere:

“Keep looking up, see that eclipse,” he suggests. “Get away from the street lights and enjoy this incredible universe.”

Podcast of our conversation with Bob Bonadurer:

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Gorge night sky symposium sparks good lighting conversations

A diverse group of night-sky enthusiasts, business people, lighting designers, and government officials gathered last month in Goldendale, Washington and The Dalles, Oregon for a two-day symposium for discussion of measures that might be taken to protect the supremely dark night skies in the Columbia River Gorge. While Seattle Astronomy was unable to attend because of travel, we did speak recently with symposium organizer Jonathan Lewis, who said the event was a big success because it got some great conversations started.

LEDs can be good

Goldendale Observatory

The Goldendale Observatory was one of the sites for a two-day symposium about dark skies in the Columbia River Gorge. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Notably, Lewis said that author Paul Bogard portrayed LED lighting as the enemy during his keynote talk to open the symposium, but participants were able to change some minds.

“By the end of it we realized that the LED technology has a lot of potential to make the dark skies much better if it’s done properly,” Lewis said. “That was really the goal, to get that message out.”

Lewis gave several examples of talks that were learning experiences for symposium attendees. Gary Chittim of a lighting company called PlanLED discussed human-centric lighting that takes into account our circadian rhythms and other factors. LED lighting can be turned down low in the evening and much hotter during the day to mimic the Sun.

“Our relationship with lighting can, with LEDs, mimic a more natural environment, not only at night but also during the day,” Lewis noted.

Another speaker, Rob Leonard of Echelon, demonstrated interesting possibilities for the control of LEDs to provide as much light as needed when it is needed. LEDs can be set to dim at certain hours, and to get brighter only when people move near them. There’s even an app with an emergency button that can allow a person to turn up the lights if they’re concerned they’re being stalked at night.

“Amazing sci-fi stuff that they have available right now,” Lewis said, adding that Echelon is helping to put in controlled lights in Goldendale.

Lighting the ballfield

Sports teams have been among the loudest objectors when strong lighting ordinances are suggested, but Leonard also talked about arena lighting, and said that sports stadia can now be lit more evenly with minimal glare or light trespass.

“All of those things are greatly improved with the newer LED technology that’s available, so a lot of the arguments that sports groups might have against lighting ordinances maybe will go away because of the new technology,” Lewis said.

Building political support

Most of the “right people” attended the symposium, according to Lewis, including officials from Wasco County in Oregon, city commissioners from Hood River, and representatives from Columbia Gorge Scenic Area groups. State Rep. Gina McCabe (R-Goldendale) attended and stated that the attraction of the dark skies is important for tourism in the area.

“She’s definitely a leader in the business community, and having the businesses hear what she had to say and to have that be an important part of her agenda was really important,” Lewis said. He’s hoping McCabe can help engage on some statewide issues. For example, sometimes lighting ordinances aren’t enforced adequately in smaller communities because they don’t have their own electrical inspectors and rely instead on state inspectors through the Department of Labor and Industries. State legislation could allow L&I inspectors to enforce or urge compliance with local ordinances even though they serve different jurisdictions.

“Some conversations like that were able to get started,” Lewis said.

The conversations are continuing, Lewis said. There’s some talk about creating a Gorge-wide dark sky area project, which he called, “a very exciting possibility.” There’s also a movement afoot to start collecting data about light levels in the Gorge. Lewis noted that people who wish to follow these efforts can sign up for newsletters from the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District and the Friends of the Goldendale Observatory.

If you missed the symposium as we did, you’ll find videos of the various presentations below following our podcast of our interview with Lewis.

Podcast of our interview with Jonathan Lewis about the symposium:

Videos of presentations from the dark-sky symposium:

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Symposium to tackle dark-sky issues in Columbia River Gorge

It’s still really dark at night in Goldendale, Washington. Goldendale Observatory State Park has been designated as an international dark-sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association, and the area sits at the northern end of what is arguably the best stretch of good, dark, night sky left in the United States, running south through eastern Oregon and even into northern Nevada and California.

“We’re really blessed with dark skies,” said Jonathan Lewis, a board member of the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce who heads up the renewable energy division for Hire Electric in The Dalles, Oregon. “People buy property out here so they can see the Milky Way.”

“We’re close enough to Seattle and Portland that it makes it practical for people to come out here just to enjoy the night sky,” Lewis added.

That sky needs some maintenance.

Threats to the night sky

Goldendale Observatory

The Goldendale Observatory State Park sits on a bluff above the city and has a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. A symposium aimed at preserving dark skies in the Columbia Gorge will be held in Goldendale and The Dalles Aug. 18-19. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

“We’re realizing that the night sky, even in our rural communities, is in danger with the rapid deployment of LED technology, primarily,” Lewis noted. “It’s just getting cheaper and cheaper to do brighter and brighter lights.”

Brighter is not better. The City of Goldendale is in the process of revamping its lighting ordinance, and will soon be upgrading its street lighting. As discussions occurred, Lewis sensed that the lighting people and the lovers of dark night skies were not always on the same page.

“Out of all of that, this idea for a symposium to get the lighting industry professionals and the astronomy folks together in the same place to talk about challenges and ways to make this all happen came about,” Lewis said.

The Gorge Night Sky Symposium

The Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Goldendale Observatory, and the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District are organizing the Gorge Night Sky Symposium, which will be held August 18-19, 2016, at the Goldendale Observatory State Park and at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles. The event has also received a significant sponsorship grant from Google, which operates a data center in The Dalles, as well as from a variety of other supporters.

The symposium session Thursday, August 18 at the observatory will feature food and drink as well as a keynote talk from Paul Bogard, dark-sky activist and author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light (Little, Brown, 2013). (Catch our review of Bogard’s talk at Town Hall Seattle from 2013.) The Friday sessions at the Discovery Center will include a presentation by David Ingram, chair of Dark Skies Northwest, the regional chapter of the IDA. There will also be talks about how bad lighting effects wildlife. The afternoon will include working groups about lighting technology, ordinance making, and lighting incentive programs and how to make them work to encourage people to choose dark-sky compliant fixtures.

The symposium has already attracted a pretty thorough list of decision makers, operators of major businesses in the Gorge, and energy services staff from area utilities. Lewis figures this gives them a good chance to reach their goals for the symposium:

“To heighten the awareness, so that when people are out talking in their community or encouraging people to upgrade in their lighting, they add the dark-sky piece to it,” he said, and, “To make it hard for people to buy non-dark-sky-compliant lighting in the Gorge.”

Lighting history in Goldendale

There’s a bit of irony in the notion that this effort has to happen in Goldendale. Amateur astronomers from Vancouver, Washington built the observatory’s primary telescope, a 24 1/2-inch instrument, in the early 1970s. They donated it to the city under the stipulation that it enact a lighting ordinance.

“Goldendale really had one of the first lighting ordinances” in the state, said Lewis, but it’s a bit out of date. “It was based on high-pressure sodium, full shielding, very different technologies.”

On top of that, enforcement of the existing code has been inconsistent at best.

“The lighting has gone sideways a little bit,” Lewis said. “Now, as people are looking to retrofit, we’d like to get a handle on that.”

A good dark sky at night is important to Goldendale, because astronomy tourism has become significant for the local economy. Upwards of 20,000 visitors stop in at the observatory each year, and many astronomy clubs hold observing events in the area.

“The key piece for the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce in our tourism strategy is to get more people to this observatory,” Lewis said. “It’s very important.”

Improvements at the observatory

Goldendale Observatory

Wind power turbines line the horizon as seen from Goldendale Observatory State Park. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Lewis noted that there have been positive changes at the observatory of late. Recently hired staff have been an improvement, and the state will invest about $6 million in the park over the next four years. That will pay for refurbishing the main telescope, one of the largest public scopes in operation. The work will essentially bring it up to research grade. They’ll also remodel the facility to include a bigger meeting room and auditorium.

“It’s very exciting what the state parks are doing with this observatory,” Lewis said.

If you would like to attend the symposium, you can register online through the Mid Columbia Economic Development District. The fee for the full symposium is just $55, and there are one-day sessions available as well.

Podcast of our interview with Jonathan Lewis:

More information:

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Light pollution measure expected to win governor’s approval

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign a supplemental state transportation budget tomorrow that includes what may well be the first ever mention of light pollution to make it into state code. The transportation budget may seem an odd place for such policy matters to be considered, but state Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle) found an opportunity there.

Rep. Jessyn Farrell

Rep. Jessyn Farrell

“The Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over a lot of facilities with a lot of light across the state, has some federal dollars to do a study on the impacts of light to night driving and vision,” Farrell told Seattle Astronomy. “I thought as long as they’re looking at the impacts of light on vision, why don’t we also look at the impacts on light pollution?”

Farrell had that directive inserted into the budget as a proviso—see our story from Tuesday for the exact language—and the governor has told her he will sign it.

(UPDATE: Gov. Inslee did, in fact, sign the bill, including the light-pollution language, on March 25, 2016.)

“A huge thank-you to Gov. Inslee,” Farrell said. “He is, as we all know, a great environmentalist. He cares a lot about the night sky and said that specifically when we spoke about this proviso. I’m very pleased that he’s going to sign the supplemental budget with this proviso in it.”

“I care about a visible night sky, so this is important,” she said.

As a proviso in the supplemental budget, it will only be in effect for about a year. Farrell said she plans to work next year on getting the department to make an on-going commitment to considering light pollution in its planning and operations. She said it might not even take legislation, but that the department could be convinced to make such considerations of its own accord.

Gov. Jay Inslee

Gov. Jay Inslee

“It seems like a straight-forward thing, and I’m surprised they don’t already have policies around light pollution,” she said, “but my hope is that ultimately this will allow them to start making different decisions around how they light their road facilities across the state.”

Farrell sponsored a bill this year to have the state Department of Ecology do a comprehensive study of the effects of light pollution and to make policy recommendations for reducing it. While the bill received a hearing, it did not win approval from the House Environment Committee. Farrell said cost was the main hangup. The legislature has been ruled in contempt of court over education funding, and is still in special session trying to wrap up the operating budget, which is under a great deal of strain.

“There was a great concern in doing anything that was perceived as extra in the general operating budget this session,” she said. She saw the DOT funding as a way to make some progress without making it a budget issue.

Farrell said she has long been interested in the night sky, and remembers not having to go very far to see things like the Perseid meteor shower.

“It is really a lot harder to see even really visible events like that, and I think that what’s interesting about light pollution is that its really something that we can address,” she said. She credited the amateur astronomy community for stepping up, noting that it was a constituent, David Dorais, who raised the issue at a community forum and spurred her to action.

“A lot of people care about this issue, so to be present at community forums and raise it and help educate the public that there are things that can be done, I think that’s really important,” Farrell said. “As we work through the various political processes at the different levels of government, having you present really matters.”

“This is only a first step,” she said. “There’s so much work that we can continue to do and I look forward to working with you.”

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State House committee considers curb of light pollution

Rep. Jessyn Farrell

Rep. Jessyn Farrell

When a bill aimed at curbing light pollution in the State of Washington received a hearing before the House Environment Committee yesterday in Olympia it was the first formal discussion of the topic at the state level in seven years. House Bill 2057 would direct the state Department of Ecology to assess 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.

Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, is the prime sponsor of the legislation.

“This is a really important issue,” Farrell said. “There are lots of studies that do show that there is an impact on human health, the natural environment, property values” from light pollution. “The goal here is to study this and see what the current state of that research is.”

Amateur astronomers testify

Farrell said the issue was brought to her by a constituent, David Dorais, who in testimony before the committee described himself as, “a former traffic engineer who knows something about outdoor lighting, especially for street use and safety. As a lifelong amateur astronomer I also know something about how we can do a much better job of illuminating those places throughout the state that need the banishment of the dark.”

Testimony

L-R: David Dorais, Qiu Min Ji, and David Ingram testified in favor of HB 2057 at a hearing of the state House Environment Committee on Jan. 12, 2016. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

David Ingram, a volunteer who heads up Dark Skies Northwest, the local chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association, called the night sky a natural resource and a wonderment.

“It has inspired architecture, religion, philosophy, science and technology,” Ingram testified. “I don’t know how our young people are going to be similarly inspired if more than half of them don’t even have a contact with the night sky.”

“It’s of vital importance that we look at the question of what happens to the soul of men and women when they’re removed from contact with the night sky,” Ingram said. He added that he doesn’t want to go back to the dark ages, but believes we have the technology to use light to enhance safety, wayfinding, and commerce efficiently and effectively, without blotting out all of the stars in the process.

Amendments likely

There will probably be some changes to the bill before the committee votes on it. Jessica Archer, who is with the scientific arm of the Department of Ecology, suggested that the departments of Health, Fish and Wildlife, and Commerce be brought in on the study, as Ecology lacks the expertise to weigh in on light pollution’s impact on animals, human health, or property values. Archer also suggested that the scope of the study be more clearly spelled out, which will also help them determine the cost of the effort. Farrell said that she might seek to add potential cost savings to the scope of the study. It’s also possible that the deadline for the study will be pushed out; the due date of January 1, 2017 was set when the bill was first drafted last year.

Farrell noted that HB 2057 takes a far more cautious approach than did fairly comprehensive and directive light pollution legislation that was considered in 2008 and 2009. Mark Johnson, representing the Washington Retail Association, testified that his organization wanted to make sure that any consideration of light pollution didn’t have an adverse impact on safety or business. That’s a reason why Farrell went with a deliberate approach.

“I think we should study this and see if there’s further action that we should take,” she said.

Next steps

The bill must gain the approval of the committee by Feb. 5 if it is to come up for a vote in by the entire House. Our hunch is that the supporters have a good chance to accomplish that. The committee chair, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Seattle, is a co-sponsor of the bill. Another member of the committee, Rep. Joan McBride, D-Kirkland, was involved in improving lighting ordinances when she was mayor of that city.

Interested people who were unable to attend Tuesday’s hearing can testify about the bill online. This makes a difference. Write today!

More information:

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