Lawmakers Fahy, Hoylman introduce bill to reduce light pollution

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Two state lawmakers want to protect migratory birds by turning off outdoor lights.

Asemblywoman Pat Fahy (D-Albany) and Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WFP-Manhattan) introduced the "Dark Skies Act" (S.7663). The legislation would require most non-essential, upward-facing lights to be turned off after 11:00 p.m. The lights can also be covered by an external shield or motion-activated.

Lights needed for navigation and public safety would be exempt.

The lawmakers say artificial light causes birds to become disoriented and fly into buildings. Fahy said the light pollution is also disrupting migratory patterns and ecosystems.

In a press statement released by Fahy’s office, Erin McGrath, the policy manager for Audubon New York, said collisions with buildings kill between 365 million and one billion birds each year in the United States.

Kathryn Heintz, the executive director of NYC Audubon said her volunteers collected more than 400 dead birds — 200 at one building alone — September 14. She said the birds were distracted by bright lights and collided with the buildings.