cc: of a response to my State Rep., Glenn Anderson:
Norbert Vance

Dear Representative Anderson,

I am a Westland resident who recalls your years of excellent service to our city as councilman, and
am pleased that you are now serving in an even larger capacity as a state representative.  I am writing
to call your attention to a concern that I addressed to the city council a few years ago, but that has
even larger implications than for our city alone - excessive outdoor light levels - light pollution.  Action
to fully address this issue is being considered in the State Legislature.  I am respectfully requesting
your support, or even co-sponsorship, of any legislation Representive Paul DeWeese (District 67,
Ingham and Livingston counties) may introduce on this subject.

California's energy crisis has been headline news for weeks now....  huge price jumps, rolling black
outs, energy conservation requirements.  Michigan is not exempt from this situation.  We perenially
push electrical demand to near limits, yet one glance down a many a street in the average town at
night and you would think power is free!  Downtowns with frivolous acorn lights all aglow (and more
planned to come - help!), gas stations with as many as 60 brilliant halogen lights, car dealerships
lit like the day with nary a soul in sight.  This situation simply did not exist only a few decades ago. 
Why the lust for light now?  Crime reduction?  Safety?  Hardly....  Much of it is sheer decoration
and advertising.  It's a national shame, and the effect is economically and environmentally irresponsible.

No correlation between lighting and crime reduction has ever been established.  In fact, some of our
brightest sites experience the most crime - witness three gas station robberies in this area in just the
past week alone.  More remarkably, towns in New Mexico that reduced or even eliminated streetlighting
found a dramatic drop in crime!  While I do not advocate the elimination of nightime lighting, I and
many others feel it is far too misused and overused.

A recent Environmental Protection Agency study consistently listed electrical power plants as leading
polluters in each state. Our Monroe Edison coal-burning plant, for example, released 12 million pounds
of pollutants into the atmosphere in 1998 alone according to the report. Yet a drive down Plymouth Rd.
in Livonia or downtown Ypsilanti at night makes me want to cry.

The antique light installations there are splendid monuments to stupidity and greed.  This is not the way
to light our cities in year 2001 when better ways exist.  I routinely point to the full-cutoff fixtures along
Eureka Rd. at Vining, south of Detroit Metro Airport as examples of how to do it right.  Conservative,
well-placed, well-designed lights that do not assault the senses or waste energy to the night sky should
be the norm, not the exception. Further, gas stations should be required to contain lights in recessed
fixtures that limit excess and do not produce light tresspass.  Little consideration is given to those that
live near these installations and have to endure the brilliant conditions.  One should not have to pull
heavy blinds at home just to get a decent night's sleep.  Animals, dazed and confused by the light,
that have evolved having darkness necessary for navigationor their very survival, are put into jeopardy.

The night sky we enjoyed as children is a but a memory and does not exist for the current generation. 
Our night sky should be black, not orange!  This is yet another way in which we have lost touch with
nature,  a message I will convey as part of a grant I received to inform high school students in southeast
Michigan of the problem.

I appreciate any consideration you might give to help legislate the reduction of energy waste, environ-
mental damage, and needless expense for the taxpayers.   Please support efforts to reduce light pollution.


Norbert Vance
38524 Jill Dr.
Westland, MI  48186
(734) 487-4146