NELPAG Circular No. 28

NELPAG Circular No. 28                                    2007 January 1

New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG)
Editor:     Daniel W. E. Green     e-mail:
Secretary:  Eric Johansson         e-mail:

     NELPAG Circulars are issued at irregular intervals, as news accumulutes.
Contributed information for this Circular concerning outdoor lighting problems
in New England (or pertinent info from outside New England) are always welcome.
Please circulate this newsletter to all interested parties.  Look at our World
Wide Web site at URL


     At our recent NELPAG meeting -- the first held in a couple of years --
it was decided to try and reinvigorate the NELPAG through more regular
meetings and the issuance again of this Circular (the first such Circular
in over six years!).  While the NELPAG e-mail discussion group, run ably
by Eric Johansson all these years, fields much informal news, it was agreed
that there may still be some use for a formal Circular (newsletter) to spell
out in a "digest" manner the key things that NELPAG is working to
accomplish -- thereby highlighting, and perhaps calling attention to, those
things that are in need of focus.  I encourage readers to send me news of
their local efforts and work on attacking light pollution (and news of
related pertinent events, such as what the lighting industry and businesses
and governments are doing in the northeastern part of North America here),
and I can then include such information in future Circulars.
     Perhaps the biggest decision made at the NELPAG meeting in November (the
minutes of which are provided below) was to buy, and pay for, an Internet
domain name for NELPAG (, which will be used to re-establish the
NELPAG website, shifting it from its original (and still current) location
at the Center for Astrophysics.  The details have not yet been worked out on
all this, but it is hoped that several maintainers will volunteer to help
maintain the new website so that the work does not fall all on one person's
shoulders (as it has mine for the last 12-13 years).  Meanwhile, Mike Hansen
of Cambridge has paid the $30 and registered NELPAG.ORG for potential website
use for the next three years (thanks to Mike!).  It has been my pleasure to
host the NELPAG website since its beginning, but it is time to move the pages,
and hopefully this can be done by the end of 2007.
          -- Dan Green



by Bernie Kosicki

5 November 2006; Phillips Auditorium, CfA

Present:  Kelly Beatty (abbreviated KB in notes below), Dan Green (DG),
 Mike Hansen (MH), Bernie Kosicki (BK), Mario Motta (MM), Bob Napier
 (BN), Michael Ratner (MR), Paul Valleli (PV);
arriving late:  Eagle Scout Candidate Matt Arsenault and his
 mother, who observed the proceedings (he is working on an
 educational video about light pollution and its consequences).

KB proposed a list of agenda items:  Name of organization, become IDA
 Section (vs. Affiliate), Officers, light-pollution (hereafter
 abbreviated LP) efforts review, model-lighting-ordinance (MLO) review,

1. International Dark-Sky Assn. (IDA) Section.  An affiliate LP group
 has no formal relationship to IDA.  To become a Section, must be
 approved by IDA board, must file yearly report and financial statement,
 and can use IDA name and logo.  DG doesn't like IDA name -- it signifies
 too narrow an interest group.  This can be a disadvantage when
 testifying before a Massachusetts group on state legislation, for
 example.  DG believes that NELPAG should be broader-based.  MH wonders
 whether becoming a Section would lead to more control by IDA.  We
 decided to remain an Affiliate for now, and not seek Section status.

PV believes we should form a 501c(3) [IRS-class organization] as a
 separate educational corporation to solicit funding for promotional
 materials and run a web newsletter specific to LP issues in the
 Northeast U.S., where some of the most blatant LP in the World exists.
 MM points out that when he, as president, got 503c status for ATMOB,
 it was a long, drawn-out process, dragged on 3 years; it is a lot of
 work at this stage, and MM advises against it.  This status also would
 prohibit NELPAG from lobbying, though its primary purpose is to
 educate the public and create dialogue on outdoor lighting issues.

2. Newsletter.  Is there any interest in reviving newsletter (or
 electronic form of this)?  DG says that when he wrote the newsletter,
 a beneficial side benefit was that hassling people for content would
 remind them that they were supposed to do something.
 DG agreed to restart an electronic form of newsletter or digest.

3. Website.  Attendees believe that NELPAG should be a help for local
 people, and should develop its own resource set (separate from and
 complementary to the IDA material).  MM proposed that a list of all
 Mass. town bylaws be prepared.  KB proposed creating a list of
 (mostly local) professional people (e.g., lighting designers,
 engineers, specialty organizations with point-of-contact person, etc.)
 who would be willing to be a resource to NELPAG.  MM believes that
 every amateur astronomy group in New England should have a
 point-of-contact person for lighting issues, and that their websites
 should contain a link to NELPAG's site.   Finding a host computer
 will not be a problem -- the website will be moved soon from the
 CfA machines.  KB will help with content of updated NELPAG website.
 MM thought that the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston club might
 help with website design.  MH will acquire a domain name for the
 NELPAG website.

4. Contact list (see item 2 above).  KB gave the example of Nicola D.
 Ferzacca, presently President of the New England chapter of IESNA, as
 a good contact.  He is head of the local IES section, a professional
 designer, and is very devoted to promoting good, low-LP lighting.
 Another example is the Northeast Energy Efficiency Organization.  KB
 proposed that others forward their "good contacts" to him, and he will
 compile a list.  With each contact name the following information
 should also be provided:  expertise (what type of person is this?);
 casual or current contact; willing to have name posted on NELPAG
 website, or only on controlled list?; what type of affiliation the
 contact wants with NELPAG.  KB will compile a list of "good contacts"
 if people forward particulars to him.

5. Regular meeting.  Yes, there should be regular meetings, probably
 every 3 months.  The next NELPAG meeting will be in three months,
 during Sunday afternoon around full moon.  (This would be Sunday,
 January 28, because Feb. 4 is "Super Bowl" Sunday.)

6. Officers.  MM argued that there should be officers to keep track of
 progress, and so that a person could be cited as officially
 representing NELPAG when giving testimony before an official board.
 PV charged officers to maintain visibility and regular meetings, and
 activity.  DG is the current acting president (even though the present
 NELPAG has no official officers).  Voting a slate of officers will be
 undertaken at the next meeting.  DG will solicit proposals or offers
 for officers in e-mails.

7. Testimony help.  People are needed when testifying is needed before
 state and local panels regarding light-pollution potential legislation
 (DG says he fields queries for such help in Massachusetts alone a
 few times a year).  This provides support and gives the impression of
 larger organization of NELPAG (larger than a single person) during the
 testimony.  BK volunteered to go with DG for such meetings.

8. IDA MLO review.  KB provided a review of the MLO progress.

9. Massachusetts LP Bill review.  MM said that a decision must be made
 soon on whether or not to re-file the Bill for consideration in the
 next round of legislation.  Filing is due by December.  If missed, we
 will have to wait for two years to re-file.  MM asks that town
 representatives be mobilized to act as co-sponsors for bill.  DG and
 KB agreed that broad support from industry experts was needed for this

10. Minutes.  BK will write minutes for meeting and forward to attendees
 for comment.



     The next meeting of the NELPAG is planned for Sunday, January 28,
at 5:00 p.m., at Phillips Auditorium, Harvard College Observatory,
60 Garden St. (upper parking lot), Cambridge, Mass.  All are invited to



     Regarding the Massachusetts dark Sky Bill, it died last year in the
Ways and Means Committee, the worst showing in some years.  In past years,
we had come very close to passage.  We need to reinvigorate the effort to
get an anti-light-pollution bill passed in MA.  I have contacted
Representative Marzilli (D - Arlington) and spoke with him personally.  He
assures me that he will refile the bill and hopes that we can prevail in
the next session of the Legislature.  House bills need to be filled before
mid-January to be assigned a bill number and be placed in the process.  Two
years ago, the Massachusetts Legisalture changed the rules so that bills
are filed every 2 years, and it is a 2-year process for advancing bills.
I have asked if multiple members of the House can co-sign sponsorship, as
that would give it momentum.  This is where NELPAG and its members can have
a major impact.  I will send out such requests when it is needed.  As Chair
of the Mass Medical Society (MMS) Legislative Affairs Committee, I will be
meeting with various legislative leaders through the next two years.  I
hope to convince House Speaker DiMassi and Senate president Travaligni
that this is a worthwhile cause so that we advance to passage this next
session.  The MMS is in fact on record as supporting the bill and can
resend its position paper urging passage of this during the next session.
We will need a strong grass-roots effort of contacting local reps when the
time comes for voting.         -- Mario Motta, MD



    In Gloucester, we have had great success in promoting dark skies.
Gloucester and Cape Ann, in general, are blessed with relatively dark skies,
and of course I wish to see this preserved.  Fortunately there are many
townspeople who agree.  The mayor contacted me to serve on the Gloucester
Energy Committee, and for the past year we have met numerous times to draft
a proposed light-pollution law.  There has been input from many on this, and
various committees have been supportive.  Just recently the mayor (John
Bell) has publicly stated in the front page of the Gloucester Times that he
supports this regulation and will urge the City Council to adopt the measure.
I have been interviewed by the local papers and been interviewed on
local-access TV on this matter.  I recently developed a Powerpoint computer
presentation based on Gloucester lighting -- "the good, the bad and the ugly"
-- that has been widely seen and available to all citizens online.  I next
present this to the City Council, I believe on January 9th.  Once passed, all
new or replacement lighting in Gloucester will need to be full cutoffs, and
any new construction will need to have its lighting plan reviewed as part of
the permitting process.  (The Powerpoint can be seen by accessing the ATMoB
website -- -- and following the links to it).
         -- Mario Motta, MD


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 $30.00 per year; send check to International Dark-Sky
Association, 3225 N. First Ave., Tucson, AZ  85719 -- or pay via their
website at