Updated bill to protect native birds from outdoor lighting goes before Maui Council
Councilmember Kelly Takaya King announced today that a revised version of the bill to protect native Hawaiian seabirds from outdoor lighting will be reviewed Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Climate Action, Resilience and Environment Committee.
The new version of the bill incorporates clarifying language based on recent public testimony and comments from county departments.
The proposed CD2 version of Bill 21, CD1, FD1 (2022) incorporates amendments to exempt most residential uses, clarify the exemptions for evening sporting events and emergency services and provide information about the benefits of dark skies and protections for sea turtles. The council passed the bill on the first of two required readings on July 1, and at the request of administration officials, returned it committee for further review on July 18.
“The main objective is to honor biodiversity and the culture of ʻāina first in the community,” said King, who chairs the committee and holds the seat for the South Maui residency area. “The revised bill achieves that goal while including requested changes for clarity. Dark night skies hold important cultural, astronomical and tourism-related values, all of which are negatively impacted as a result of increased artificial lighting.”
King noted the council has adopted Resolutions 21-166 and 22-135, both supporting the perpetuation of biodiversity. Seabird conservationists, astronomers, cultural practitioners and environmental activists have provided input on the bill, which she called “science-based legislation.”
King said there are various business outlets that sell lights compliant with the bill, such as Beachside Lighting Honolulu, Amazon and Home Depot. She said existing shielded streetlights on Maui Veterans Highway and on Kenolio Road are compliant with the bill.
Committee Report 22-47 was presented to the council following a series of committee meetings on the bill from February through June. The report included data presented to the committee showing “that artificial lighting has a major negative impact on various species of animals but is particularly harmful to birds.”
King said Bill 21’s provisions would be part of the Maui County Code’s Chapter 20.35, whose purpose is “establish standards to limit degradation of the night’s visual environment.”