EPA Petitions

Outreach to the Environmental Protection Agency

As the U.S. federal environmental watchdog, the Environmental Protection Agency develops and enforces regulations to maintain environmental quality. IDA has been encouraging the EPA and other federal bodies to consider the natural night as a threatened resource worthy of regulatory protection. IDA addresses light pollution on two fronts: energy efficiency legislation and potential ecological degradation by high levels of light at night.

UPDATE: The study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released 14 December linking light pollution to air quality has potential to garner attention for light pollution among federal bodies including the EPA. IDA is currently mobilizing a campaign that leverages this information.

EPA Correspondence

09 October 2008 – Petition to Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator
Re: Petition for Rulemaking Under the Clean Air Act to Monitor and Redue the Atmospheric Discoloration of the Night Sky
Created by Robert Wagner, President, IDA Board

“Thus, as part of the Regional Haze plan, states should be asked to make a significant contribution to reducing man-made emissions that contribute to atmospheric discoloration of the night sky. I therefore petition the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency...pursuant to the... Clean Air Act... and the Act’s implementing regulations, to control and reduce the emissions of light fixtures that contribute to visibility impairments. In this petition we request that EPA promulgate regulations (1) requiring the monitoring of the night sky for atmospheric discoloration, and (2) develop regulations necessary to achieve the “natural visibility” conditions of the Clean Air Act in relation to atmospheric discoloration of the night sky by 2064 and the Prevention of Significant Deterioration for other regulated areas.”

Read petition

30 July 2008 – Letter to Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator
Re: Congressional awareness letter requesting explanation of EPA’s current position on light pollution
Signed by 11 members of U.S. House of Representatives

“We all share the widespread public concern about this issue, and we request that the Environmental Protection Agency consider the following steps:
•    Codify a formal definition for “light pollution” that captures the detrimental effects that result from unchecked nighttime illumination
•    Incorporate consideration of the environmental, safety, and health effects of light pollution into EPA research programs
•    Expand discussion of well-designed (and theus energy-efficient) outdoor lighting in Energy Star publications and standards
•    Support education about light pollution in the agen cy’s education, outreach, and grant programs.”

Read letter

Read response from EPA

Secretary of Energy

23 November  2009 - Letter  to Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy
Re: Research into the effects of solid state lighting
Signed by U.S. Representatives Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Rush Holt (NJ-12), and Steve Israel (NY-02)
“The Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill signed into laq by President Obama identifies $27 million for solid state lighting research and development. Energy savings from this research could be significant. Consistent with the bill, we urge you to consider the following outdoor roadway lighting issues in the Department’s research program over the next year:
•    What impact will solid state light sources have on outdoor roadway lighting energy use;
•    What effect will solids state lightin sources have on light output, color, brightness, and light distribution when used for roadway lighting;
•    What type of glare, visibility, and light scattering in the atmosphere will occur with solid state lighting.”

Read letter to Sec. Chu