Last month, New York Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R) announced his legislation to curtail light pollution from State-owned buildings was signed into law (Chapter 512) by Governor Andrew Cuomo. To reduce the unintended lighting of the sky, the new law requires the use of fully and partially shielded lights on the exterior of State buildings, directing lighting downward onto streets, walkways, and public spaces.
“New York State is taking the first step needed to protect our night sky, in addition to saving energy,” Senator Marcellino said. “Our children should have the excitement of finding the Big Dipper without a long drive into the country.”
Unshielded lighting causes light trespass and sky glow, obscuring night sky views and causing road glare. “Fatal light attraction” – which is produced by excessive outdoor lighting – is deadly for migratory birds, causing over 100 million bird fatalities across the United States.
There are exemptions in the bill for emergency personnel, road repair crews, aviation and nautical industries, athletic sporting fields, and general public safety and security concerns.
“The State has a responsibility to reduce light pollution, move to more energy-efficient lighting and preserve the beauty of the night sky for all people,” said Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal (D). “I am pleased that the Governor recognized the importance of this bill, and signed it into law.”
“Audubon New York applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Carl Marcellino, and Assembly member Linda Rosenthal for their leadership in enacting this important law to reduce light pollution and require the state to prioritize the use of energy-efficient lighting products,” said Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York. “By reducing the unnecessary lighting of the night sky, this law will decrease threats posed to migrating birds, which can become disoriented by excessive outdoor lighting, and reduce the state’s energy costs by using more efficient lighting products.”
National Electrical Manufacturers Association President and CEO Kevin J. Cosgriff added, “This model legislation is an excellent example of how private stakeholders and our elected leaders can work together to address an issue through legislation.”
What Is an International Dark Sky Place?
The International Dark Sky Places Program promotes preservation and protection of night skies across the globe. Three types of areas compose the program: communities, parks, and reserves. Preserving dark skies starts locally with a dedicated group of citizens, staff, or volunteers. IDA International Dark Sky Parks and Reserves are home to some of the darkest and most pristine skies in the world.
The International Dark Sky Places Program aims to protect locations of exceptional nighttime visages for future generations.
The International Dark-Sky Association continues to accept applications from locations wishing to join in the ranks of International Dark Sky Places Program. Designation almost always starts with a small group of individuals who organize to seek formal protection of their nightscape. Designations are open to communities and publicly and privately managed land areas. For more information, visit www.darksky.org/night-sky-conservation/dark-sky-places