Daylight-saving plan has critics burning

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by -Cp, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    Daylight-saving plan has critics burning
    Lawmakers having second thoughts after extending period by two months

    By DAVID IVANOVICH


    WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers trying to craft an energy bill started with the issues they thought wouldn't generate much heat.

    But then they tried to tinker with Americans' clocks, by extending daylight-saving time by two months.

    Proponents figure extra daylight in the evenings will help the nation save electricity. But juggling Americans' biorhythms, lawmakers learned, transcends the energy policy debate.

    Critics started complaining loudly about children walking to school in the dark, airlines struggling to schedule flights overseas and technicians scrambling to recalibrate computers.

    House and Senate negotiators, trying to sort out their differences and craft a comprehensive energy bill before the end of next week, approved language Tuesday to lengthen daylight-saving time.


    Falling back on issue
    But hearing all the gripes, they agreed to revisit the issue before finishing up with the bill.

    "Dialing back on what has been proposed is one option," said Bill Wicker, a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., a key member on the House-Senate conference committee writing the energy legislation.

    The proposal — perhaps the most visible change triggered under Congress' sweeping overhaul of the nation's energy strategy — would have Americans turn their clocks forward one hour on the first Sunday in March, rather than the first Sunday in April.

    Daylight-saving time would then continue until the last Sunday in November. Currently, the nation "falls back" to standard time the last Sunday in October.

    Just how much energy might be saved under the proposal is not entirely clear. The Energy Information Administration, the federal government's energy research arm, hasn't analyzed the proposal.

    Proponents such as Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., point to studies conducted in the mid-1970s that suggested changing the clock reduced overall demand by about 1 percent each day, comparable to about 100,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

    But the nation's energy demand has grown dramatically since that time.

    Benjamin Franklin is credited with the idea of rising earlier in the morning to save on candle wax in the evening hours. Then, a century ago, British builder William Willett proposed actually resetting the clocks.


    Began in World War I
    The United States first implemented daylight-saving time during World War I and then imposed it again during the World War II. But for years, the nation lived with a hodgepodge of local daylight savings rules. Finally, Congress tried to create some consistency with the Uniform Time Act of 1966.

    In the wake of the Arab Oil Embargo, lawmakers extended daylight-saving time to 10 full months in 1974.

    The current calendar was set back in 1986.

    Two states — Arizona and Hawaii — still opt out of daylight-saving time. The portion of Indiana in the Eastern Time Zone which, for years, has refused to "spring forward" is slated to implement daylight-saving time next year.

    The extra daylight helps motorists driving in the evenings, when car traffic is the heaviest, says David Prerau, a former government researcher and author of the book Seize the Daylight.

    Crooks don't tend to be early risers, so the extra daylight helps cut down on crime.

    And with daylight-saving time extending through most of November, trick-or-treaters will have a bit of daylight left when they head off on Halloween night, Prerau said.

    Voters, meanwhile, might be more encouraged to head to the polls on Election Day if it's still light after work.

    Clarence McKinney, who coaches football at Yates High School, said "it would definitely help us. ... Our practice field doesn't have lights. It would give us a little bit more time to get our practice in, especially late in the season."

    Critics fear extending daylight-saving time to nearly nine months starting next year will have school children standing out at dark school bus stops. In Houston, for instance, the sun would not rise in late November until nearly 8 a.m.

    "There's no price you can place on the safety of a child who could be exposed to traffic in a dark situation," said Michael Resnick, associate executive director for the Alexandria, Va.-based National School Boards Association.


    Problems for airlines
    Airlines worry they won't be able to keep their much-coveted slots at foreign airports, since the rest of the world won't be changing along with the United States. Currently, the nation's daylight-saving calendar is only one week different from that of Europe. Under this proposal, the United States would have seven weeks more of daylight-saving time than Europe.

    Carriers also pointed out that, under the proposal, the time would usually change on the last day of the long Thanksgiving Day weekend, already one the busiest travel days of the year. That's all the airlines would need, they say — more confused customers on what's already a manic day at the nation's airports.

    Information technology experts anticipate the work involved in changing the clocks on computers.

    Dairy farmers would prefer to have no time change at all, since schedule changes disorient their cows. "It doesn't really matter if it's standard time or daylight-saving time, it just needs to stay put," said John Cowan, executive director of the Texas Association of Dairymen in Grapevine.

    Despite the problems, proponents like Prerau say, "Overall, it's a good thing. I think the pros generally outweigh the cons."

    But in the wake of the recent uproar, lawmakers want time to reconsider.

    "We'll be back," Wicker said.

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3273643
     
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  2. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Granny says, "Dat's right - dey ought shift it a half hour an' leave it dat way year `round...

    Daylight Savings ends: Why the clocks shouldn't turn back, according to safety campaigners
    Oct 24, 2015 - The clocks are set to go back and we will all be able to enjoy an extra hour in bed - however campaigners argue that daylight savings must be scrapped to save lives.
     
  3. my2¢
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    my2¢ Registered Text Offender

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    I live in Arizona where we don't mess with time. (To which Costello might have replied to Abbot, "Yeah, it's still 1869 out there.")
     

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