A depressing turn in Arizona

Posted by David Eicher
on Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two weeks ago, I mentioned an ongoing light pollution battle raging in Arizona over e-billboards. As most of you know, these brightly glowing monstrosities are disastrous for viewers of the night sky, as they flood the surrounding area with photons blasting upward.

P. Cinzano/F. Falchi (Univ. of Padova)/C. D. Elvidge (NOAA NG Data Center)
I’m afraid there’s bad news. Yesterday, the Arizona legislature passed the bill they were considering 20–8–2, which now allows advertisers in the state to use them. And the legislature also shot down a proposed amendment that would have limited the use of e-billboards within 75 miles (120 kilometers) of observatories. Score another win for lobbyists and big business, and a loss for astronomy.

Jeff Hall, director of Lowell Observatory, has written Arizona Governor Jan Brewer asking her to veto the bill. You can read the letter here.

The story has also gotten some national play in USA Today.

Thanks to Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory for keeping us informed of the latest developments.

I hope the government in Arizona can begin to exercise better judgment.

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