Rock(y) II

Nov. 3, 1998

A report from Light Pollution committee chairperson Bob Mickey on the goings on at the West Deer Township Board of Supervisor's meeting last week (from the AAAP listserver)

Folks,

Sorry to take so long to write regarding the West Deer Twp. meeting about the airport expansion, industrial park, and the Keystone Initiative. Thanks to the strong support from the members that attended. I would like to name them but would feel remiss if I missed someone. I thought the township was very receptive (at least 2 members mentioned how they have been to NEWO many times). Rock Ferrone also in a side conversation after the meeting told me he would be interested in having us work with them as design begins to happen. I gave him a copy of the IDA Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting Policy and another IDA handout.

I have his address, phone, and fax if anyone wants it. I also wrote down the names of the West Deer board members. All in all I think we did very well and at least have opened the door for further discussion with all involved. Below is a copy of my pitch at the meeting if anyone is interested.....please return comments to me directly.

Clear and Dark Skies,
Bob Mickey

To The Board:
We, the membership of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh, and our Light Pollution Committee would first like to thank you for your quick response to our fax and inviting us to the meeting tonight. As most of you know, we maintain and operate the Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory in nearby Deer Lakes Park.

Our concern about the project being discussed tonight is the lighting and the detrimental effects inefficient, unshielded lighting could have on our facility. We understand that the vast majority of our over 500 members are guests in your community and have worked very hard to be an asset to your area. We not only open our facility, containing a historic 11" Brashear refractor built in 1908 and a 20" reflector, to the public, (having brought over 15,000 visitors in the last 3 years), but have also introduced hundreds of school organizations, Boy scout troops, Girl Scout troops, and other groups to the wonders of the night sky.

This project concerns us deeply because if responsible lighting issues are not addressed and airport expansion is approved, our facility has the potential to be rendered virtually useless. The observatory exists today because of the hard work of people with a dream to be able to pass the magnificence of the night sky along with the educational benefits to future generations·.How would a child know they would want to be a scientist or astronaut if he/she canāt see anything there?

We also hold the same concerns as many of your citizens regarding additional congestion, noise, pollution, and potential safety issues. But we respect your needs as leaders to work for what is best for your community. We have been working very close with Frazier Township on the lighting issues as the projects get under way there and would like to be able to work closely with you too.

As members of the International Dark Sky Association and the Allegheny Region Astronomy Coalition, we can provide assistance and information regarding responsible lighting methods and zoning laws.

We would like to invite the board, at its convenience, to meet with us at the observatory, tour the facility, and allow us the opportunity to provide you with the information we have available. Hopefully we can work together to put good and effective lighting laws on the books to save energy, pollution, tax dollars, and the night sky for future generations.