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Letters About Light Pollution - Examples

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#1 earlyriser

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 03:43 PM

I thought it might be helpful to have a thread where folks could post letters they've sent to city counsel, neighbors, etc. for others to use as templates or inspiration for their own letter writing. I've seen a few threads with letters in them, but no single place to go and see different types. Below is a link to one I posted a while back in another letter thread:

 

https://www.cloudyni...urch/?p=8869730

 

I've got another one I'll post shortly.



#2 earlyriser

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 03:46 PM

Below is an email I sent to the North Carolina Dare County commissioners:

 

Dear Commissioners:

 

After 20 years of vacationing in Myrtle Beach, last summer we rented a house in Rodanthe for our family vacation. One of the reasons we chose the Outer Banks this year is that it is one of the last places on the east coast where you can still see the Milky Way. I must confess, it was quite an experience to go out on the deck in the evening and see the Milky Way stretching across the sky surrounded by thousands of stars. It added a whole new dimension to our vacation.

 

Unfortunately, this extraordinary view of the universe and the distinctiveness it provides to your region may be endangered. Light pollution caused by increased levels of outdoor lighting that is unnecessarily intense and poorly aimed could, if left unchecked, obscure the beauty of your night sky. A case in point is the Dollar General in Rodanthe. (Image attached).

 

The exterior lights at the Dollar General send a significant amount of light skyward and create a large amount of glare on nearby streets and properties. This spill light represents more than just wasted energy, it also has negative impacts on wildlife such as migrating birds, creates visual discomfort in passersby, and increases star-obscuring sky-glow.

 

Light pollution is easily prevented through proper lighting management, such as requiring shields that block uplight, adjusting the angle, layout, and height of lights to avoid emitting light into areas other than those that need to be lit, and limiting intensity to only what is needed for the safety and comfort of people in the area. There is really no reason for lights to generate large amounts of glare and uplight, or to light streets and parking lots as brightly as an athletic field.

 

I hope that you appreciate your night sky for the increasing rare sight that it is, and agree that it is worth preserving. You should also recognize that it is much easier to preserve the night sky you have than it will be to get it back if it is lost. Thus, I encourage you to control light pollution on the Outer Banks so that future generations can also be amazed by views of our galaxy.

 

Yours truly,

 

Scott

 

Family Dollar Small.jpg


Edited by earlyriser, 08 October 2019 - 03:51 PM.

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#3 CChristakis

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 03:54 PM

Nice thread!!  I recently tried reaching out to CSX regarding their evasive rail yard lighting near my house.   However, their website had me go through an automated online submission of my complaint/concerns.

It's been a few weeks now and I haven't received any response.   I would be interested in seeing other letters.  I think a letter or email follow up will be needed.



#4 MikeMiller

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 04:04 PM

Nice thread!!  I recently tried reaching out to CSX regarding their evasive rail yard lighting near my house.   However, their website had me go through an automated online submission of my complaint/concerns.

It's been a few weeks now and I haven't received any response.   I would be interested in seeing other letters.  I think a letter or email follow up will be needed.

I have found that contacting businesses directly, especially giant multinational ones, will result in no reply or a "we are sorry but not sorry enough to do anything about it" reply.

 

Try getting in touch with a local wildlife, nature, or parks organization. The only way a huge company will get the picture is with political pressure.

 

As always, see if the IDA has a chapter or contact in your state. If not... start one!



#5 earlyriser

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 04:18 PM

Here is one I wrote to an engineering firm that was responsible for a gross emitter of light pollution. I sent this one through snail mail, and I don't know if he ever read it. I also can't remember which pictures I selected to send with the email - I have a lot. I plan to follow-up with the chemical company. Most big companies have some sort of "Green" initiative, so I like to point out how they could help advance that initiative by cutting their light pollution. The hard part is often getting in contact with the right person.

 

XXX XXXXXXX
President and CEO
Eco Engineering, Inc.
11815 Hwy Dr #600
Sharonville, OH 45241

 

Dear Mr. XXXXXXX:

 

Each morning on my way to work, I pass the EMD Millipore plant at 2828 Highland Avenue. The glare emitted by the lighting there is such that I eventually felt compelled to bring it to the attention of someone at EMD Millipore. (See enclosed photographs). While investigating who to contact, I discovered Eco Engineering was responsible for the lighting. (See enclosed Case Study). Although I am supportive of your commitment to the environment through reductions in energy consumption and proper disposal of old lighting, I believe there is more Eco Engineering can and should do.

 

The lights at EMD Millipore are not just an eyesore, and light being spilled off site is not just wasted. Rather, this spill light is unnecessarily contributing to light pollution, which has been linked to various human health issues, has negative impacts on the ecosystem and wildlife, and obscures the beauty of the night sky. I do not know if a photometric study was done as part of the comprehensive plan for this site, but if one was, it appears that controlling glare and uplight was not a design objective.

 

Eco Engineering’s mission statement is to “Help customers identify and implement energy-saving solutions that deliver improved financial results while creating an ideal visual environment and preserving our world for future generations.” In view of the amount of light being wastefully spilled off site and into the sky, and the negative impact this spill light is having on the surrounding environment, it seems this installation does not fulfill your mission as completely as it could.

 

I realize there may not be much you can do at this point to improve the lighting at EMD Millipore, and that you have a business to run. My hope is that this feedback will motivate you to begin taking light pollution into consideration when designing future lighting installations. There are many companies that can help customers save energy by simply replacing existing lights with more efficient LED fixtures. If you want to set your company apart as a leader on environmental issues, I encourage you to take a more holistic approach to the environment when designing lighting installations.

 

If you would like to discuss the EMD Millipore site in more detail, or would like to talk for any other reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours truly,

 

chemical plant C.jpg

 

EMD Millipore from I-71 1600X1200.jpg


Edited by earlyriser, 09 October 2019 - 04:40 AM.

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#6 MikeMiller

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:12 PM

It is a bit ironic that a company called "Eco Engineering" is producing that much light pollution.

 

The attached pictures really drive home the eyesore these lighting solutions are creating.


Edited by MikeMiller, 08 October 2019 - 10:13 PM.


#7 Oyaji

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 10:01 AM

Here's a letter I wrote to the Chancellor and others at a local university, who had installed searchlights to advertise performances at their performing arts center.  The University kindly wrote back and said they would mend their ways by limiting use of the searchlights  to more reasonable times before a performance begins, and making sure they are turned off just as soon as the performance begins.  I do believe they were as good as their word--there have been no more complaints.  Names deleted so that nobody is embarrassed.   

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Dear XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX:

 

I am writing concerning the searchlights that have recently been installed atop the XXXXXXXXXX Performing Arts Center. 

 

I am an amateur astronomer and a semi-retired attorney.  As an amateur astronomer, I am concerned about light pollution issues.  Amateur astronomers come in many flavors, from casual star-gazers, to highly engaged deep sky observers and astrophotographers, to hard core spectroscopists.  Aside from cloudy nights, the biggest problem faced by amateur astronomers in this area is light pollution.  You might be interested in seeing the light pollution map of the southeast area of XXXXXXXXXXXX which I enclose with this letter.  This map, a standard astronomical tool used by most amateurs, dates to 2015.  Basically, astronomy is impossible in the purple area, only the very brightest celestial objects can be examined in red area, and useful astronomy only begins to be possible in the yellow area. 

 

The University XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX is of course a contributor to light pollution with its parking lot and other lights.  These point sources, however, are generally directed downward and are likely no worse than normal city lights.  Their light output doubtless contributes to the light pollution shown on the 2015 map, but turning them off entirely would probably have little effect. 

 

The searchlights, however, introduce an entirely new type of light pollution, one that extends well beyond the area depicted on the map.  These lights are directed upward and significantly degrade what astronomers call "seeing conditions" for many miles around.  Indeed, press reports say that the searchlights are 1.7 billion candlepower each.  A review of advertising literature for such searchlights shows that they are visible up to 28 or even 40 miles away, which is consistent with what people are telling me of your lights.  This means that seeing conditions can be degraded to the same extent. 

 

While I live on the far west side of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and can conveniently do my observing out in rural sites between XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXX, many of my fellow hobbyists in the XXXXXXXXXX Astronomical Society, especially those with fixed observatories, are not so fortunate.  Viewing is degraded, and astrophotography and spectroscopy are nigh impossible for them to perform while the searchlights are on.

 

As an attorney, I believe that your searchlights violate, among other things, Section XXXXXXXXXXX of XXXXXXXXXXXXX's Code of Ordinance, which provides in relevant part with respect to site lighting (italics added):

(3)  General standards.

 

(i)  Site lighting shall include all lighting on property, other than lighting within a fully enclosed building.

 

   * * *

(iv)  Site lighting shall not result in light trespass by spilling over to adjacent sites or properties.

 

   * * *

(vii)  Except when displaying the flags of the United States of America, State of Illinois or City of XXXXXXXXXXXXXX or as may be provided elsewhere in this section, site lighting shall at no time be directed upward (up lighting), in a radiating pattern and/or moving or sweeping pattern, or at any angle which will light surfaces other than building walls, parking or pedestrian areas, and landscaped area, and shall not create lighting patterns which will direct light toward residential areas.

 

But aside from all that, it is just plain unneighborly to have such lights.  Several of my friends who have no interest in astronomy but have seen the lights far to the south of XXXXXXXXXXX have remarked on that point.

I'm sure that XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX had the best of intentions in installing these lights as a way of advertising various events to be held at XXXXXXXXXXXXX  However, for the reasons stated above, I respectfully suggest that this was a mistake, and I ask that XXXXXXXXXXXX reconsider its decision.

 

Thank you.

       Sincerely,


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#8 Titan63

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 01:57 PM

Thank you for this template letter. I am currently experiencing search lights on weekends that lights up the sky over my back yard from neighboring towns or in my own small town in Ohio. 

 

No doubt some genius marketing idea from a brain storm session. I thought these search lights were no longer used but I guess I am wrong. Just adds to the current problem I see in my own town. 



#9 leetje

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 02:56 PM

This article appeared today in the The Patch, nationwide. They are actually encouraging people to install more outdoor lights.

https://patch.com/us...utdoor-lighting

#10 Delta608

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 06:31 PM

This article appeared today in the The Patch, nationwide. They are actually encouraging people to install more outdoor lights.

https://patch.com/us...utdoor-lighting

 

 Well its useful and it has it purposes..Im already resigned to the fact, I will never see the milky way again from my yard..The more developments come in the worse it gets, especially in these parts..Move or get use to it...But it will eventually catch up...



#11 bumm

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 10:13 PM

This article appeared today in the The Patch, nationwide. They are actually encouraging people to install more outdoor lights.

https://patch.com/us...utdoor-lighting

Most of the replies to the article are encouraging.  :)

                                                                      Marty



#12 Astrohobby

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 10:09 AM

 Well its useful and it has it purposes..Im already resigned to the fact, I will never see the milky way again from my yard..The more developments come in the worse it gets, especially in these parts..Move or get use to it...But it will eventually catch up...

That has happened over the last 10 years around my holiday home on Mallorca/Balears/Spain. In the beginning I could see the Milky Way from my roof terrasse and had may enjoyable nights. In the past 4 years they increased the urbanisation - everbody is lighting their yards - they have changed to more powerfull streetlights - you can read a Newspaper below without problems - I don`t have much hope....!

Nevertheless the attempt to convince and the action to write a letter or inform is mandatory.

 

My direct neighbours understand this after explaination and invitation to observe. At least a little success when I`m there putting my scope out.

 

Best  Oliver


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#13 earlyriser

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 04:59 PM

Below is my latest attempt to make the night a little darker.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Dear Mr. XXXXX:

 

I don’t believe we’ve met, but my family and I have been members of the XXXX for many years. The reason I am writing to you today is offer some constructive feedback on how to improve the XXXX facility.

 

I have noticed that the lights in the parking lot are aimed at a high angle. Obviously, the purpose of the lights is to illuminate the parking areas to provide for the comfort and safety of people using the XXXX. However, as currently configured, much of the light is being wasted on neighboring properties and the sky, while areas in and around the building are left in shadows. To illustrate my point, I have attached some pictures.

 

As can be seen in Figures 1 and 2, the lights are doing a reasonable job of illuminating the parking lot. However, due to their orientation, they are also producing deep shadows between the light poles and the building, which could provide a convenient hiding place. A lot of light is also being projected upward and outward away from the building as can be seen by how well the trees are lit along the edge of the parking lot in Figure 3.

 

The light being spilled onto the sky and adjoining properties is not only wasted, it also contributes to light pollution and is a potential annoyance to the neighbors. By simply adjusting the angle of the lights downward, it should be possible to fill in the shadows around the building while maintaining coverage of the parking area and reducing their impact on neighbors and the nighttime environment.

 

I would appreciate an opportunity to speak with you or someone else at the XXXX about re-aiming the lights. If equipment is needed to reach the lights, I would also be willing to contribute to the cost of renting it. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you will consider allowing me to assist with this improvement to your facilities.

 

Regards,

 

XXXXXX

Figure 1.jpg

Figure 2.jpg

Figure 3 small.jpg


Edited by earlyriser, 07 January 2020 - 05:01 PM.


#14 earlyriser

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 01:52 PM

Well, this last letter ultimately resulted me in receiving an invitation to join a board that helps manage the place. I never would have predicted that. I suppose that would put me in a position to influence their lighting decisions. 


Edited by earlyriser, 16 January 2020 - 01:52 PM.

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#15 csa/montana

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 02:07 PM

Fantastic!  Indeed I believe this would give you some influence on the lighting!

 

Let us know if anything transpires!




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