Outdoor lighting bill OK’d by council

Saturday, January 20, 2007 10:54 AM


WAILUKU – The Maui County Council gave final approval Friday to a bill aimed at restricting street lamps and other outdoor lights, making a quiet end to a proposal that saw years of heated debate.

Dark-skies advocates previously had said the bill didn’t go far enough in curb-

ing light pollution that hampers astronomy and harms wildlife, but council members said Friday it would be a first step after six years of discussion. The council voted 9-0 to approve the new lighting standards.

“Although it has been said by some that the bill has been ’watered down’

. . . nonetheless it’s a start,” said Council Member Mike Molina.

The regulations focus on requiring streetlights and some commercial lighting to be “shielded,” preventing glare from shining into the night sky.

Council members previously deleted requirements for new lights to use low-pressure sodium fixtures. The specialized bulbs cast a yellow-tinted light on a narrow bandwidth that doesn’t interfere with telescopes or night-flying birds and are required on the Big Island, which has 13 telescopes operating on Mauna Kea.

Jo Anne Johnson, who previously voted against the bill to make a “statement” of disapproval for the changes, said she would support it this time around. “You have to start somewhere,” she said.

Copyright © 2005 The Maui News.