Night Sky Protection Act
SYNOPSIS: Under existing law, permanent or portable outdoor artificial
illuminating devices are not regulated.
This bill would provide for the regulation of permanent or portable
outdoor artificial illuminating devices.
This bill would provide exemptions for certain outdoor artificial illuminating
This bill would provide for civil penalties for violations.
TO BE ENTITLED
Relating to permanent or portable outdoor artificial illuminating devices;
to provide for the regulation of permanent or portable outdoor artificial
illuminating devices; to provide exemptions for certain outdoor artificial
illuminating devices; and to provide for civil penalties for violations.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Night Sky Protection Act."
The Legislature finds and declares that the purpose of this act shall be
to regulate outdoor night lighting fixtures to preserve and enhance the
dark sky of the state while promoting safety, conserving energy, and preserving
the environment for astronomy.
For purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the following
(1) DEPARTMENT. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
(2) OUTDOOR LIGHTING FIXTURE. An outdoor artificial illuminating
device, whether permanent or portable, used for illumination or advertisement,
including searchlights, spotlights, and floodlights, whether for architectural
lighting, parking lot lighting, landscape lighting, billboards, or street
(3) SHIELDED. A fixture that is shielded in a manner that light
rays emitted by the fixture, either directly from the lamp or indirectly
from the fixture, are projected below a horizontal plane running through
the lowest point on the fixture where light is emitted.
All outdoor lighting fixtures installed after January 1, 2011, shall be
shielded, except incandescent fixtures of 150 watts or less and other sources
of 70 watts or less.
(a) In addition to other exemptions provided in this act, an outdoor lighting
fixture not meeting these provisions shall be allowed, if the fixture is
extinguished by an automatic shutoff device between the hours of 11:00
p.m. and sunrise.
(b) No outdoor recreational facility, whether public or private, shall
be illuminated after 11:00 p.m. except for a national or international
tournament or to conclude any recreational or sporting event or other activity
conducted, which is in progress prior to 11:00 p.m. at a ballpark, outdoor
amphitheater, arena, or similar facility.
No new mercury vapor outdoor lighting fixtures shall be sold or installed
after January 1, 2011.
(a) The following shall be exempt from the requirements of this act:
(1) Outdoor lighting fixtures on advertisement signs on interstates
and federal primary highways.
(2) Outdoor lighting fixtures existing and legally installed prior to
the effective date of this act, however, when existing lighting fixtures
become unrepairable, their replacements shall be subject to all the provisions
of this act.
(3) Navigational lighting systems at airports and other lighting necessary
for aircraft safety.
(4) Outdoor lighting fixtures necessary for worker safety at farms,
ranches, dairies, feedlots, or industrial, mining, or oil and gas facilities.
(b) The provisions of this act are cumulative and supplemental and
shall not apply within any county or municipality that, by ordinance or
resolution, has adopted provisions restricting light pollution that are
equal to or more stringent than the provisions of this act.
The department shall review the outdoor lighting provisions in the uniform
building codes used in this state and make recommendations for appropriate
changes to comply with the provisions of this act.
If public utilities are required pursuant to the provisions of this act
or by local government ordinances to accelerate replacement of lighting
fixtures, the cost of the replacement shall be included in rates approved
by the Public Service Commission.
Any person, firm, or corporation violating the provisions of this act shall
be punished as follows:
(1) For a first offense, the offender may be issued a warning
by the department.
(2) For a second offense or offense that continues for 30 days
from the date of the warning, twenty-five dollars ($25) minus the replacement
cost for each offending fixture shall be assessed by the department.
(3) Before issuing a warning or imposing a civil penalty under this
act, the department shall provide a written notice to the person, firm,
or corporation violating the provisions of this act and the opportunity
to request, within 30 days of notice, a hearing on the record.
This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following
its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.