AMENDMENT TO DARK SKY PRESERVES PROGRAM

House Bill 5023

Sponsor:  Rep. Peter Pettalia

Committee:  Tourism and Outdoor Recreation

Complete to 10-27-15

SUMMARY:

House Bill 5023 would amend the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act by adding three dark sky preserves to the existing three.  The proposed dark sky preserves would be:

·         The state-owned land encompassing Rockport State Recreation Area, located in Presque Isle Township, Presque Isle County and Alpena Township, Alpena County;

·         The state-owned land encompassing Negwegon State Park, located in Sanborn Township, Alpena County and Alcona Township, Alcona County; and

·         The state-owned land encompassing Thompson's Harbor State Park, located in Krakow Township, Presque Isle County. 

Dark sky protections designate land free from artificial light pollution, in order to promote astronomy. Michigan became the first state in the country to adopt standards for dark sky preserves when it designated state-owned land at Lake Hudson in Lenawee County as its first dark sky preserve in Public Act 57 of 1993.  Under the act, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is required to ensure that outdoor lighting within the preserve is not installed unless it is necessary for safety, security, or the reasonable use and enjoyment of property within the preserve.  The NRC must also ensure that outdoor lighting in the preserve that does not unreasonably interfere with nighttime activities that require darkness. 

FISCAL IMPACT:

House Bill 5023 would have no fiscal impact on the Department of Natural Resources or local units of government.

                                                                                        Legislative Analyst:   Jennifer McInerney

                                                                                                                           Chris Couch

                                                                                                Fiscal Analyst:   Austin Scott

This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency staff for use by House members in their deliberations, and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.