Lystrup, D. E. (2017). The Dark Side of the Light: Rachel Carson, Light Pollution, and a Case for Federal Regulation. Jurimetrics, 57(4), 505–528.
Abstract: This comment explores the negative effects of light pollution and considers whether current levels of artificial light at night (LAN) warrant federal control by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This study first identifies the negative effects of light pollution on human health and the environment, treatment of which aligns with the mission statement of the EPA. Light pollution comprises both a private and a public nuisance. Next, this comment assesses the effectiveness of the common law approach, local government, state government, and federal control over light pollution in this context to determine which form of governance is most effective. Then, EPA involvement through federal and state implemented plans, as well as federal regulation of manufacturing is investigated. Last, this comment considers the necessity of private action through an emerging legal reform called new governance, which emphasizes public-private approaches. The negative effects of light pollution on human health and the environment could eventually lead the EPA to assert control over the regulation of light pollution, but under the current presidential administration this is highly unlikely. The predicted lack of government action leads me to call for nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to step in and take action to privately regulate light pollution and mitigate its negative effects through certification regimes, insurance premium incentives, and corporate social responsibility until government exerts regulatory control.