Monday, April 20, 2009

Dark skies and CO2

A friend from the International Darksky Association just sent me the following, which I'm posting verbatum:

Many of you may already know that on Friday, April 17th, EPA declared CO2 to be hazardous.

This finding will require a 60 day public comment period.
(Instructions for submitting a Public Comment, see

Since outdoor lighting uses energy, and since energy generation, in most cases, results in C02 emission, a very strong case can be made to reduce wasteful levels of outdoor lighting. Each 100 watt dusk-to-dawn streetlight requires the generation of electricity that will result in 500 lbs of CO2 emission per year. With an estimated 50 million streetlights, that's 12.5 million tons of CO2 emissions...

Some significant areas of opportunity that the EPA could cover might include EPA regulations:
1) limiting streetlight use to only hours when necessary (Programmable photocells, Photons on Demand)
2) removing streetlights from service where streetlights are nonessential for public safety
3) mandating the use of motion sensors for all outdoor and indoor lighting.
4) requiring utility regulators to include rates for midnight shutoff streetlights
5) requiring utility regulators to include rates for lowest energy consuming lamps commonly available in the market for street and area lighting
6) setting light trespass standards to reduce energy waste.

What it takes: A coordinated effort to influence EPA on the carbon footprint resulting from outdoor lighting, and the significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that can be attained by adopting regulations to control light pollution.

Who needs to make a public comment to EPA on the need to regulate outdoor lighting?:
Federal agencies and regional offices (EPA Boston, National Park Service)State legislators
Members of Congress
State agency administrators
Municipal administrators
Dark sky advocates

This EPA public comment period could be the most significant opportunity so far to raise the light pollution issues at the federal level.

Please consider submitting a comment to EPA advocating the regulation of street and area lighting, both in commercial and residential applications, and circulating this email to others who might have an interest in submitting a comment of their own...

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