NELPAG Circular No. 5

NELPAG Circular No. 5                                     1994 April 6

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.  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.

     Here's the latest news on the outdoor-lighting bill currently being
discussed by the Mass. state legislature.  I spoke today with Rep. Jim Marzilli,
who said that most likely the bill will be "favorably reported" and put aside
until next year.  (There is the chance that the bill could be killed, but
Marzilli says he can keep that from happening.)  There's a very faint chance
that the bill could be voted on by the 17-member Energy Committee in the
next 1-2 weeks, but most likely it will not come to a vote UNLESS:
There is immediately a massive letter and phone campaign by Mass. people to
their own senators and reps on the Energy Committee; the committee members
are really only interested in hearing from their constituent district voters
(key point).  There is no point, according to Marzilli, in our doing anything
further at the State House (re: lobbying).  Our energies should now be spent
in getting people to call or write in support of H. 1652, and people should
be given the complete list of Energy Committee members (I have an updated
list to distribute below; there have been 3 retirements and 3 additions to the
House list), determine who represents them, and contact them, asking them
to support this bill now being considered by the Energy Committee, noting
the substitute wording that Marzilli will insert (the old wording is still
there), and making comments about night glare and safety for motorists
and pedestrians, about conservation, and about improving the appearance
of our nighttime environment (NOT commenting about the night sky unless
you make it a minor comment!).
     I am looking into getting a mailing list from Sky & Telescope magazine
for all of their Mass. subscribers, but there the problem is POSTAGE.  They have
kindly agreed to give us such a list free of charge, considering our volunteer
effort to be a worthy cause (and our thanks to Kelly Beatty and Douglas
Dinsmore for this), but there are perhaps 2000-3000 subscribers in Mass.
alone, giving postage costs of around $700 (at 29 cents each), and the
printing costs for 1-2 pages must be considered.  Yes, I'm afraid that we
should perhaps start having dues, but even they might not cover such a large
mailing.  Donations, anyone?  Some help will also be needed to mail out such
a list.
     Anyway, those contacting elected officials should be clear that it's
important not to talk about astronomy or the night sky.  Remember:
conservation, aesthetics (less tacky night lighting), and safety are the
real issues here.  Marzilli says not to worry if the bill doesn't make it to a
vote this year:  getting massive support now will give it a lot of credibility
for next year.  (But we should still try for this year, so let's get going!!)
     The Energy Committee members are listed here for convenience.  This list
is true as of April 6, 1994, but the districts are listed mostly as of a year
or two ago, and there has been some re-districting, so one needs to check
around.  Jim Marzilli actually said that those voters who don't have reps
listed below should write ONLY to Governor William Weld (and also perhaps to
Paul Cellucci, the Lieutenant Governor).  ALL people should write to Gov. Weld,
even if they also contact one or two of the elected officials below.  If you
write, send your letter to your elected official at the following address:
State House; Boston, MA 02133.  If your rep's phone number is not listed
below, try these numbers:  House switchboard 617-722-2000; Senate Clerk
722-1276; Energy Committee switchboard 722-2090.

      Senators Mark Montigny, Chair (Bristol)
           Thomas Norton, Vice-Chair (Bristol)
           Frederick Berry (Essex)
           Daniel Leahy (Middlesex)
           Shannon P. O'Brien (Hampden and Hampshire)
           James Swift (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire);
      Representatives Albert Herren, Chair (Fall River)
           John Binienda, Vice-Chair (Worcester)
           Frank Cousins (Newburyport)
           Bill Galvin (Canton)
           Barbara Gardner (Holliston)
           Ronald Gauch (Shrewsbury)
           Steven Kulik (western Mass. - Greenfield area; 617-722-2575)
           Jim Marzilli (Arlington; 617-722-2430)
           John Quinn (Dartmouth; 617-722-2070)
           John Rogers (Norwood, Westwood, Walpole, Medfield; 617-722-2370)
           Dan Valianti (Marlborough)

     In addition to Jim Marzilli (who filed the bill), the co-sponsors on
the outdoor-lighting bill are as follows:
     Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville; 617-722-2400)
     John McDonough (D-Boston; 617-722-2060)
     Anne Paulsen (D-Belmont; 617-722-2460)
     Douglas Petersen (D-Marblehead; 617-722-2210)
     Pamela Resor (D-Acton; 617-722-2060)

Some word of appreciation and support to any of them would also be good.
     For those unfamiliar with the proposed bill (given in NELPAG Circular
No. 3), the version filed last November calls for "cities and towns to
introduce a code for the design and installation of outdoor night lighting,
the purpose of which is to ensure that outdoor night lighting fixtures
conserve energy and reduce light pollution while providing adequate night-time
safety, utility, and security; and to implement this code in the installation
of all public lighting fixtures and as a condition of subdivision and planning
approvals."  Due to concern over city and town objections to this proposed
wording, the NELPAG developed revised wording with the encouragement of
Rep. Marzilli in January and February, to the effect that the bill now
addresses only state funding for new and replacement outdoor night lighting,
which must be full cut-off (shielded) lighting except for emergency and
unusual situations.  When we testified before the Energy Committee on March
22, we presented studies of how glare from unshielded (or improperly
shielded) lighting affects motorists and pedestrians, especially those who
are elderly and who suffer from cataracts.
     When writing or calling in your support of bill number "H. 1652", please
be sure to mention that you are supporting the substituted wording version of
the bill as implemented by Rep. Marzilli.  Two really good sources for letters
from people in your district, if you can initiate letter-writing campaigns,
are the following:  (1) elderly people, who will greatly benefit from the
passage of such a law, with regard to glare affecting eyesight at night; and
(2) children in schools, who will benefit both via safety and by being able to
see the stars better at night (educational).  Letters from both groups (senior
citizens and children) are very powerful ways to reach politicians.
     Now is the time that you can make a difference for a good cause!  Get all
your friends and relatives to call or write today.  Clubs should get actively
involved as soon as possible, whereby club members are contacted via phone or
e-mail (or newsletter if time doesn't permit phoning or e-mailing).  [A version
of this particular Circular would be what we send to the S&T list.]  -- D. Green


NOTE:  When sending SASEs to Dan for your subscription to the printed NELPAG
 Circular, please write the Circular number on the back of the envelope; he's
 losing track of who's getting which issue!  So, if you've run out after
 receiving this particular issue (No. 5), send three more SASEs, and number
 them 6, 7, and 8 on the back side.


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).