NELPAG Circular No. 4

NELPAG Circular No. 4                                     1994 March 30

New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG)
Editor:     Daniel W. E. Green [Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory;
               60 Garden Street; Cambridge, MA  02138]  (telephone 617-495-7440)
               e-mail:  green@cfa (.bitnet, .span, or
Secretary:  Eric Johansson     (telephone 508-667-0137)
               email:  or

     "Subscription" to this irregular news/information Circular is available by
sending self-addressed, stamped (29-cent) regular-sized (9.5x4-inch) envelopes
(SASE) to Dan Green at his postal address, or by sending your e-mail address
to either Dan or Eric using the e-mail addresses above.  Sections in this
Circular are written by Dan unless noted otherwise.  Contributed
information for this Circular concerning outdoor lighting problems in New
England (or pertinent info from outside New England) are welcomed.  Please
circulate this newsletter to all interested parties.

     Four NELPAG members met at the home of Mario Motta (Lynnfield, MA) on the
evening of March 6 to work on a proposed package of recommended ordinance
or by-law wording for towns and cities with regard to regulating outdoor
night lighting.  In addition to Mario, those attending the meeting were Bernie
Volz, Michael Ratner, and Dan Green.  As a result of this meeting, I drafted
a first list of ordinance suggestions and e-mailed them to the NELPAG mailing
list on March 8.  Bernie remarked to me that what I had put together looked
too much like a bill and not enough like typical by-laws as found in the
papers of local Massachusetts towns.  Bob Wylie sent by postal mail more than
two typewritten pages of proposed changes, and comments also have come from
a couple of others.  A re-edited version of the city/town suggested bylaw
wording will be circulated in the next NELPAG Circular, for comment by NELPAG
members.  It was further agreed at the March 6 meeting that we should schedule
very soon a meeting specifically to address plans for the anticipated hearing
on our proposed bill at the Massachusetts State House.  A meeting was
scheduled for March 21 at Harvard Observatory.
     On the morning of March 21, we learned (via Alan MacRobert's astronomy
column in the Boston Globe newspaper!) that our hearing was scheduled for
the following day, Tuesday, March 22.  So on Monday evening, the following
individuals met at Harvard to discuss plans for the hearing and to put
together a package of written material for the Energy Committee members:
Dan Green, Bernie Volz, Mario Motta, Michael Ratner, Steve O'Meara, and Eric
Johansson.  A 26-page package was constructed (with 11 copies made to carry
to the State House the following morning), based largely on IDA literature
(Information Sheets 34, 42, 49, 65, 61, 24, 23, 54, 4, and 46, in that
order --- the last one being the Maine state outdoor lighting bill passed
a couple of years ago), but also including the revised wording of our bill
and local NELPAG contacts, plus some technical information from the
Kennebunkport literature provided by Peter Talmage.  We arranged to have
three of us provide testimony at the hearing on March 22:  Bob Wylie, Mario
Motta, and Bob Stefanik.  Unfortunately, we had little time to prepare.

     Six of us showed up at the hearing on the morning of March 22 at the
Massachusetts State House in Boston:  Dan Green, Steve O'Meara, Paul
Messerschmidt, Mario Motta, Bob Wylie, and Bob Stefanik.  After some concern
that we wouldn't be heard, because re-filed bills are not normally heard
the second year (usually only written testimony is accepted), the Energy
Committee Chairman turned the meeting over to Rep. Jim Marzilli of Arlington
(who filed our bill) to conduct our testimony.  Unfortunately, only about
half a dozen of the committee members were present for our testimony, which
was the last of the day (the committee has 11 House members and 6 Senate
members).  But all of the members did get our 26-page packet, and we made
available through Marzilli's office complete copies of two papers on glare
and the eye that we had received from Dr. Alan L. Lewis of Ferris State
University in Michigan; these papers are "Disability Glare --- A State of
the Art Report", by J. J. Vos (1984, CIE Journal 3(2), 39) and a textbook
chapter by Lewis entitled "Basic Concepts in Environmental Lighting".
I began our bill's oral testimony by explaining why the wording had changed
from addressing cities and towns to addressing only state-funded lighting,
and I then introduced Bob Wylie, Mario Motta, and Bob Stefanik (in that
order).  I think that we made an impact, especially with our concentration
on glare from poorly-shielded outdoor lighting affecting drivers, particularly
elderly drivers.
     Next we are planning to go to the State House to meet individually with
the Energy Committee members.  A vote reportedly will be held in the first
half of April, which will determine whether the bill will move to the floor
of the House for a full vote or will be shelved "for further study".  We
suspect that there is a tremendous amount of support to be had on this glare
issue from groups such as the AARP (the national organization of retired
citizens), and regardless of how the vote goes this year on this bill, we
have really gotten the ball rolling.  We really encourage all Massachusetts
residents to contact their representatives (both House and Senate members,
and especially those on the Energy Committee) immediately to express support
for our bill (mention it by number "H. 1652").  The Energy Committee members
are listed again here for convenience:  Senators Montigny (Bristol), Norton
(Bristol), Berry (Essex), S. P. O'Brien (Hampden and Hampshire), Leahy
(Middlesex), Swift (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire);
Representatives Herren (Fall River, Chairman), Binienda (Worcester), Gardner
(Holliston), Cabral (New Bedford), Galvin (Canton), Valianti (Marlborough),
Marzilli (Arlington), Fagan (Taunton), Paulsen (Belmont), Gauch (Shrewsbury),
Cousins (Newburyport).  The current plan is for Paul Messerschmidt, Dan Green,
Mario Motta, and Bob Wylie to arrange appointments in the next week or two
to talk with Committee members one-on-one, but your support is also needed
by way of phone calls and letters to your representative!

     No unfavorable comments have been received regarding my proposal in the
last NELPAG Circular for another regional meeting to be held on Saturday, May
21, from 10 a.m.-12 noon at Harvard Observatory.  So we will go with this plan,
and we hope to see as many of you as possible at that meeting.  -- D.G.

ENCLOSURES (by postal mail):
1) Two-page information sheet on the Wisconsin bill from the Milwaukee
   Astronomical Society newsletter (supplied by Steve O'Meara of Sky and
   Telescope magazine).


The NELPAG supports the International Dark-Sky Association and recommends
that all individuals/groups who are interested in the problems of light
pollution and obtrusive lighting should subscribe to the IDA Newsletter
(IDA membership costs $20.00 per year; send check to
International Dark-Sky Association, 3545 N. Stewart, Tucson, AZ  85716).