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Hawaii - Starlight Law

29Apr 2010
Written by Patricia 
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Starlight Reserve - Statewide Lighting Law

Photo Oscar Zamora

The Hawaii State Senate Committee on Economical Development and Technology passed Senate Bill 536

Many of the problems with light pollution that Hawaii faces are caused by improperly shielded lights. Poorly shielded lights direct energy straight into the atmosphere, where it is wasted. This light produces sky glow, which limits residents' ability to see stars. For example, in Honolulu only about the brightest twenty stars are visible, whereas about two thousand stars can be seen from a dark location. Poorly shielded lights also cause glare, which diminishes a person's ability to see at night. Poorly shielded lights also enter locations where the light is unwanted (light trespass), including bedrooms, making it difficult for residents to sleep. Excessive light in the sleeping environment has recently been linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer. Improperly shielded lights on the island of Kauai have led to many bird deaths, particularly of the endangered Newell's shearwater. Act 161, Session Laws of Hawaii 2009, formed a temporary advisory committee to assist the department of business, economic development, and tourism to develop a statewide starlight reserve strategy to preserve the quality of the night sky and its associated cultural, scientific, astronomical, natural, and landscape-related values. The temporary advisory committee recommended the enactment of certain measures in the 2011 regular session to conserve energy and promote responsible use of light. The purpose of this Act is to implement the recommended legislation of the temporary advisory committee established pursuant to Act 161. It is not the intent of this Act to require the realignment or relocation of any existing light poles.

 

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Last Updated on Aug162011

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