Maui News

Sierra Club: State’s Ultra-Bright Streetlights Threaten Hawaiʻi’s Birds

December 22, 2015, 4:02 PM HST
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The Sierra Club Hawaiʻi says state highway officials on Oʻahu are installing controversial new “ultra-bright LED streetlights,” despite opposition from some area residents and environmental concerns.

Club representatives call the 4000-kelvin lights a “clear violation” of environmental protections.  Sierra Club Director Marti Townsend said that while the organization applauds the state’s commitment to energy-efficient lighting, she said the particular fixtures selected will “increase visual light pollution, impact seabirds, and flood the North Shore with zombie lights.”

The environmental group claims that while the lights burn energy more efficiently, they can “pull protected bird species off-course, risking their lives.”

In a press release statement, Townsend said, “Transportation officials must have been aware of the negotiations with Honolulu officials over precisely this issue and our contention that these lights violate the Endangered Species Act and/or the Migratory Bird Treaty. That’s why the city withdrew its contract to install the polluting 4000 kelvin lights on county roadways.”

According to Townsend, city transportation officials are considering alternative streetlights that provide for similar energy-savings and public safety benefits, while not interfering with the night-time sky and the natural resources that rely on it.

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Townsend said the Sierra Club is calling on state officials to reconsider its plans.

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