Suffolk Places Additional Restrictions To Limit Light Pollution At County-Owned Facilities

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A resolution introduced by Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman to amend a 2004 law restricting light pollution emitted from county-owned facilities was signed into law by County Executive Steve Bellone late last month.

The updated law now requires county-owned outdoor facilities to use warm-colored lights in order to “protect the health and well-being of residents and to protect the county’s ecological systems,” according to a press release issued from the office of Mr. Schneiderman, an Independence Party member who represents the 2nd Legislative District.

First introduced in June, the resolution requires all lights purchased up until December 31, 2015, have a Kelvin rating—a unit that measures the perceived color of light, with the higher the number the bluer the appearance—of no more than 3500. All lights purchased by Suffolk starting in January 2016 must have a Kelvin rating of 3000 or less, according to the modified law.

The original law introduced by Mr. Schneiderman, who is running for reelection next month, required only that the county install outdoor fixtures with shields that direct light toward the ground to minimize pollution. It did not include a Kelvin restriction.

Exposure to “blue-rich white light,” which is commonly produced by LED lights, is associated with the disruption of the human body’s natural cycles, according to the same press release.

“This amendment to my previous legislation to limit excess lighting is an important step forward in efforts to protect human health and the health of our wildlife, and to ensure that we save money on energy costs and reduce unnecessary light that limits our ability to enjoy the beauty of the night sky,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a prepared statement.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the Suffolk County Legislature during its general meeting on September 12 before making its way to Mr. Bellone’s desk.

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