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Washington House Democrats Tee Up Light Pollution For Attention

This file photo taken from Queen Anne Hill shows that urban sky glow is evident in the night sky over Seattle.
This file photo taken from Queen Anne Hill shows that urban sky glow is evident in the night sky over Seattle.

Some Democrats in the Washington House want the state to take a look at what it could do to cut back on light pollution.

A legislative committee Tuesday considered whether to order a study on the public health and environmental effects of glare and excessive outdoor lighting. The idea would be to get policy recommendations to consider next year.

This got a thumbs up from David Ingram of Kent, Washington, who volunteers with the International Dark-Sky Association.

"I have three grandkids that I want to endow with the same kind of wonder that I had when I laid on my grandfather's barn roof 45 years ago and looked at the night sky,” Ingram said. “There are fewer and fewer places in America today that have any opportunity for children to find the night sky and discover it for themselves."

After Ingram testified, a lobbyist for shopping centers in Washington state expressed concern that new regulations might affect parking lot lighting and safety.

State Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, the prime sponsor behind the proposed light pollution study, said she wants to “take a cautious approach” on this issue.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.
Tom Banse
Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.