Light Pollution Example Letters

To the NJ Department of Community Affairs:

Ms. Jane Kenny
Commissioner, NJ Department of Community Affairs
P.O. Box 800
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Ms. Kenny,

It has been well over two years since the New Jersey Light Pollution Study Commission issued its final report to the Governor and Legislature. The Department of Transportation has revised its roadway lighting policy, but what else has the State done to reduce light pollution? I understand that this matter remains unresolved with the DCA Codes and Standards Department. Light pollution is actually getting worse, wasting even more energy since the State Commission reported its conclusions. The article titled, “Light Pollution Guide Offered”, appearing in the Winter 1999 issue of the ANJEC Report (the publication of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions) should offer assistance to those municipalities trying to solve the light pollution problem locally. Now it is time for the DCA to exercise its responsibility by providing guidelines for its own state organizations and county facilities to follow. What specifically can the DCA do? Analyze the following before attempting to answer this question.

  1. State Lighting
    • Are all building and parking lots now utilizing luminaires with cutoff glare control?
    • Does the level of illumination follow IES recommendations?
    • After business hours, is parking lot lighting and other unnecessary lighting being reduced in accordance with IESNA guidelines for lower level property security lighting?
    • Are all externally illuminated signs now being lighted from above? If not, is 90% of the illuminance restricted to the sign area?
  2. Are all transportation terminals, airports, and railroad stations avoiding unnecessary light pollution?
  3. In ultra-sensitive natural areas, is all new lighting being installed and existing lighting being adjusted to avoid a hostile light polluted environment for birds and other wildlife? This would include lighting on maintenance and other buildings, as well as in parking lots within parklands. Such places are also used by amateur astronomers to observe the night sky.
  4. Are electric utility floodlights that have been inappropriately installed on wooden power line poles, causing unnecessary light pollution throughout the state, being adjusted voluntarily by the utilities?
  5. Are all educational institutions, fire department buildings and similar facilities, usually exempt from local regulations, being provided by the state with information for effective lighting that will not cause unnecessary light pollution?
  6. Are all outdoor sports and recreational fields minimizing light pollution?
  7. Are all microwave, cellular phone and other high towers and structures being equipped with both red and white strobe lights (white for day use and red for night use)?
  8. Are all billboard signs now being lighted from above? If not, is 90% of the illumination restricted to the sign area?
Unfortunately, all of these questions cannot be answered affirmatively. It is now time for the DCA to roll up its sleeves and get to work on reducing light pollution!


To your local environmental commission:

The article about light pollution appearing in the 1999 Winter issue of the ANJEC Report includes streetlighting. It seems that we can all benefit from the use of cutoff light fixtures to reduce glare and improve our ability to see better at night, without increasing our taxes.

Needless to say, the new streelights would only apply to new and replacement lighting. However, we should get started and begin to follow the recommendations of the New Jersey Light Pollution Study Commission. The three major NJ electrical utilities, each of whom were represented on the State Commission, have done little to reduce their own light pollution.

Perhaps acquiring a copy of the ordinance guide package referred to in the article would be a good way to pursue this matter. I understand that there are sample letters included in the package that might be helpful to the Environmental Commission.

To your local utility company:

Appearing below are Electric Utility floodlights improperly installed at the locations indicated. These floodlights are objectionable because they cause unnecessary glare and other forms of light pollution. Please arrange to make corrections by adding visors, repositioning and/or replacing the lights to comply with the State Tariff that authorized the floodlight service.

The light pollution article appearing in the 1999 Winter issue of the ANJEC Report (publication of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions) covers the matter quite well. You may obtain a copy of this article by contact ANJEC at P.O. Box 157, Mendham, NJ 07945, calling them at (973) 539-7547 or faxing them at (973) 539-7713. I hope that your company will begin to take responsible action to reduce light pollution as suggested in the article.

Please let me know the outcome. I look forward to hearing from you.
          Pole # ID                                                                                                       Business or
       (on metal plate)                                  Street/Route Name                                    Other Facility
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