Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) Soliciting Comments – Request For Light Pollution Comments And Consideration Of IDA Recommendations

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The following post to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) Outdoor Lighting Forum from Gary Honis (astrophotographer extraordinaire) was sent along to me by John McMahon (local amateur astronomer and responsible-lighting proponent extraordinaire). John had also forwarded the youtube video from Gary concerning drilling-related light pollution made at Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park, home of the Cherry Springs Star Party (Ryan Goodson and I are currently registered for the event this year) late last fall (see the image above, taken from Gary Honis’ Skyglow from Marcellus Gas Well Drilling Site page).

Gary is requesting that concerned amateur astronomers comment on the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) website immediately as this new organization establishes standards for shale drilling. Of note is the request for the CSSD to consider the IDA lighting fixture recommendations. Of drilling-specific note is the recommendation that flaring times be limited. Gary’s post, including links to the CSSD page and several relevant articles, is provided below.

A new organization (CSSD) was formed this week comprised of the gas drilling industry and environmental groups that have reached agreement to create a system to set standards for reducing the effects of shale drilling. The article is here:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/03/both_sides_agree_on_tough_new.html

According to the article, multiple states will be covered but it does not mention any outdoor lighting or flaring controls.

The CSSD has a comment page set up for receiving comments. If you are so inclined, please consider requesting that they include exterior lighting and flaring standards to address the problem of light pollution. The CSSD comment page is here:

http://037186e.netsolhost.com/site/contact/

If they don’t receive comments from the astronomical community, I doubt lighting issues will be addressed. Below are the comments I provided:

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My recommendation is the CSSD should include flaring and lighting requirements in its standards to avoid the problems of light pollution such as glare, light trespass, energy waste and skyglow. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) maintains a list of IDA approved shielded light fixtures and also has developed lighting codes jointly with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). See

http://www.darksky.org/outdoorlighting

Utilizing the IDA approved light fixtures and CSSD adoption of the IDA/IESNA lighting codes would address lighting problems for adjacent land owners. It would also avoid the light pollution as documented in
the 2012 NASA Earth Observatory images showing wasted light and skyglow in North Dakota and Pennsylvania from gas drilling operations. See:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NPP/news/earth-at-night.html

Having standards that limit flaring operations to daytime or during New Moon periods, as is being done in sensitive areas of PA, would help preserve our disappearing night sky resource.

Thanks for your consideration of this request.

Gary Honis, P.E.
GHAAS

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I have one YouTube video of the effect on Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park from flaring and associated unshielded lighting at gas drill rigs posted here:

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