HB1003 – The Arkansas Nighttime Environment Protection Act
The Goal: Save tax dollars and protect the environment.
Read the Bill and see its’ progress: Here
What it does
When the state or a county or city within the state need a new or replacement outdoor light and the light is brighter than 1,800 lumens (~150 watts) it:
Where necessary, the Pollution Control and Ecology Commision may waive any portion of the law if necessary for public safety or cost concerns.
What it doesn’t do:
The focus here is on your state and local governments. Except for billboards, towers and businesses that install outdoor street lighting, it does not regulate or affect how or what kind of outdoor lighting is used by individuals, property owners, or businesses.
It is not an unfunded mandate for our cities or counties. They are not forced to immediately go out and change out any streetlights or outdoor fixtures if this becomes law. What it says is when it is time to replace the fixture (or sooner if desired) the new one, which they’d need to purchase anyway, must be fully shielded if it is not cost or structurally prohibitive.
What is Light Pollution and Why Care?
Light pollution, as address in this bill, is the alteration of naturally occurring light levels in the outdoor environment at night due to artificial lights(i.e. streetlights). The known adverse effects are listed below with links to allow you to learn more.
Wasted Energy and Tax Dollars.
Crime and Security Issues.
Human & Animal Health Issues
Diminished ability for amateur stargazers and professional astronomers to view the cosmos.
Did you Know:
The Lost Night
66 percent of the United States and 50 percent of the European population can no longer see the Milky Way at night.
Additionally, approximately 40 percent of the United States and almost 20 percent of the European Union population has lost the ability to view the night sky with an eye that can adapt to the darkness of the night sky—in other words, it is as if they never really experience nighttime.
Wasted Energy and Money
In the United States, roughly 6 percent of the 4,054 million megawatt hours (mwh) of electricity produced are used for outdoor lighting and an estimated 30% of this is wasted as light pollution (California Energy Commission 2005). This translates into 72.9 million mwh of electricity needlessly being generated at a cost of $6.9 billion a year. Furthermore, this unnecessary electricity usage generated an additional 66 million metric tons of CO2 (Restenen and Kraushaar, 2006; DOE 2006). Eliminating light pollution would be the CO2 equivalent of removing over 9.5 million cars from of the road (EPA 2006; DOT 2001).
Negative Health Effects
Many environmentalists, naturalists, and medical researchers consider light pollution to be one of the fastest growing and most pervasive forms of environmental pollution. And a growing body of scientific research suggests that light pollution can have lasting adverse effects on both human and wildlife health.
Visit this image of the Milky Way from outside Flagstaff, Az the first Int. dark sky city.