Feds Award Grant to Study Colorado “Light Pollution”

November 26, 2013
By
Environmentalists have seized upon the issue as a new weapon in their battle against fracking and mining operations and warn that bright lights around the facilities at night are polluting parks several miles away

The green lobby has seized upon the “light pollution” issue as a new weapon in their battle against fracking and mining operations

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service has awarded a grant to study whether the night skies above the Colorado Plateau are being polluted by light sources but some officials are skeptical the efforts are aimed at curbing energy development.

The $22,000 grant for “Estimating the Potential Value of the Night Skies above the Colorado Plateau” was awarded to two economic professors at Missouri State University to study the impact of tourism on nightly visits and will help determine whether the darkness of night skies needs special protections from the federal government.

The parks included in the study typically draw visitors during daylight hours to view exquisite sceneries, and includes the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Dinosaur National Monument and Mesa Verde in Colorado, and Grand Staircase-Escalante and other parks in Utah.

“Dark nights are a fundamental part of the natural environment, yet are severely threatened by light pollution,” said Terrel Gallaway, acting head of the university’s economic department in a statement announcing the grant.

“This light pollution does substantial damage to wildlife, aesthetics and human health. Increasingly, remote locations, such as much of the Colorado Plateau, are the only places wildlife and humans can find naturally dark night skies,” Gallaway said.

The Colorado Observer reported in May that the Obama administration had created the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service with its main offices in Colorado to begin regulating the impact of light from energy development outside of national park boundaries.

Environmentalists have seized upon the issue as a new weapon in their battle against fracking and mining operations and warn that bright lights around the facilities at night are polluting parks several miles away.

The Colorado Plateau is the starting point for the agency’s “Starry Starry Night” program and part of the government’s new mission to protect darkness as a precious resource.

One federal government official says there is concern that the primary purpose of the grant is to restrict energy development including mining and drilling activities.

Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research agreed, and said there is no energy development in any national park, but the Obama administration wants to extend that to property located miles away from parks by creating a new source of concern, pollution from lights.

“Of course this administration is using every tool in its box to restrict energy development on federal land and water,” Kish said.

“Isn’t the Statue of Liberty a national park? Maybe we should shut down New York at night. Lady liberty needs her beauty sleep, and those lights from Manhattan are keeping her awake at night,” Kish said.

“The same with Washington, D.C., the entire city is a national park,” Kish said.

The Colorado Plateau stretches across 100 million acres in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, and already boasts of 40 million visits every year.

The study is expected to inform federal officials whether expanding operating hours would increase tourism, but is not expected to include indicators as to whether it should require additional infrastructure to ensure nighttime safety, such as road improvements or lighted trails.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

4 Responses to Feds Award Grant to Study Colorado “Light Pollution”

  1. Lew
    November 26, 2013 at 9:02 am

    If they start with the excessively bright signs along I-25 I’m all for it.
    Coming around the curve south of the Stadium that appliance dealer sign on the west side is so bright I’ve lost track of cars around me.

    They need to dim it at night when it doesn’t need to be as bright as during the day. Heck – it can be so bright you can’t even read it.

  2. Bob Terry
    December 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Obama administration had created the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service …“Starry Starry Night” program… wow how is that helping anything..but deflecting from agenda..
    Who has been in the Escalante Capitol Reef area lately… Me…its dark and wow the grand metropolis of Torrey Loa Boulder and Escalante, Utah …haarr… like a flashlight on dim batteries…Along with the EPA and the DEA…this is another bureaucracy that needs to be eliminated.. Big Government doing less and spending more on total C R A P …They speak this and feed on that…and Don’t dare criticize. Because you really don’t know the facts …yeah the facts are trumped up BS that people buy into..

    my two cents and no lights were turned on while writing this

    • Bob Terry
      December 5, 2013 at 9:51 am

      I’ll bet 60 to 1 Obama doesn’t even know where these places are or even has visited …but again its the west and beneath his royal majesty .. But he knows there is a problem …lol yeah right Washington DC arrogance … sorta a small Hunger games scenario

  3. December 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    How about a grant to help veterans see the “light” in the dismal darkness of THEIR hopelessness. The RMVVF is at best doing the best we can with what amounts to candlelight.

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