Streetlights and Birds – Testify on the 26th!

Hello from,

The DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) plans to replace all of the District’s 75,000 streetlights with new LED lights. While LEDs are more energy-efficient than older lights, DDOT’s plan calls for the use of new lights that are far too bright – much, much brighter than what is set out in national standards. The planned over-lighting of DC will amount to a huge waste of energy – and tax money – as well as an array of needless and adverse effects on the environment and human health.The DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a video hearing on March 26 to entertain comments on the proposal. Many environmental organizations are asking DC to adopt smarter, more ecological lighting – including the Sierra Club, International Dark-Sky Association, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and City Wildlife. Please help us educate the Council on this important matter!

Background: Streetlighting is an essential element of modern life. It promotes public safety and enables nighttime recreation and commerce. However, outdoor lighting should be directed only where it is needed, when it is needed, and in prescribed amounts. Excess lighting (“light pollution”) is a well-known cause of many environmental harms. It adversely affects the behavior of nocturnal wildlife, migratory fish and even plants. Excessive lighting near DC’s natural areas draws millions of insects (including mosquitos and pollinators) into our neighborhoods! Light from globes, “acorns,” and other unshielded streetlights strays into our homes – with adverse effects on our sleep patterns and our health generally. (for more information, see the website of the International Dark-Sky Assn).

We urge you to ask the City Council to send the LED lighting proposal back to DDOT for revision. Our messages: DDOT should-

  • Limit street-lighting levels to no more than what is prescribed by national standards;
  • Place FULL shielding on all streetlights so that the light goes down – to streets and sidewalks – where it is needed.
  • Keep the light warm-white (under 2700° Kelvin) , rather than cool-white.

To testify, you can sign up via this Link…/transportation-the-environment…/

If you can’t testify, please send an email to

Thanks for your help! For more information call Jim Dougherty (IDA) (jimdougherty@aol) (202-488-1140), Wayne Savage (Sierra) ( (202-829-5829)…/lighting-for…/lighting-basics/

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