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Legislative Memo

BILL:

A.7404 (Grannis)/S.4474 (Marcellino)

Support

SUBJECT:

Energy Efficient Lighting

 

DATE:

May 15, 2006

 

The Business Council of New York State has reviewed the abovementioned legislation and opposes its adoption. This bill would amend the Environmental Conservation Law and the Public Service Law by establishing stringent and overreaching standards for outdoor lighting, mandate the creation of “dark-sky preserves” in the state, and establish the infraction of “light trespass.”

Specifically, the legislation would add a new section to the Environmental Conservation Law known as the “Healthy, Safe and Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting Act”, in an attempt to prohibit “light pollution” (defined as any adverse effect of outdoor lighting including, but not limited to, glare, sky glow, and light trespass).

The lighting standards mandated in the legislation apply whenever a state agency or public corporation “shall install or cause to be installed any new or replacement permanent outdoor luminaire.” Since municipal corporations are considered public corporations, the bill exposes the state and its municipalities, and consequently the taxpayers, to higher capital costs for new and replacement lighting.

This impact could also extend to some of the state's utilities who own or operate street lighting systems on behalf of municipalities. While the bill would exempt these entities from light trespass, it would still require adherence to the new lighting standards whenever the state and public corporations “install or cause to be installed” any new or replacement lighting. Whether the cost of replacement falls to the municipalities or the utility, it is ultimately borne by the taxpayer.

Additionally, the bill requires that utilities distribute a pamphlet on light trespass prepared by the Department of Environmental Conservation. As the proposed legislation's purpose is the implementation of public policy, the cost of preparing, publishing and distributing such material should not be borne by utility ratepayers but by government.

For the abovementioned reasons The Business Council opposes this legislation and requests that it not be approved.