New Arizona Bill Poses Threat to Dark Sky Restrictions on Electronic Billboards
Mar 07, 2016 04:24 AM EST
The Arizona Legislature is currently considering a proposal that would extend its scope of where electronic billboards are permitted to be displayed along highways and interstates. Advocates from Dark-sky, however, claim that this will be harmful for the astronomy industry, which is based in Arizona.
Reported by KRQE, Arizona currently bans the use of bright digital billboards. The ban, however, does not extend to the Phoenix area and west of it, along Interstate 8 and Interstate 10. KJZZ attributes this ban to the 2012 compromise between advertisers and astronomers who designed the agreement so that light pollution may be prevented in areas where observatories are commonly found.
A new bill, however, is currently being studied by the state Legislature. Once the new bill is passed, it would lift the ban covering most of Mohave County and a portion of La Paz County.
Seattle Times reported that, the lifting of the ban "is a matter of fairness for cities," as explained by Lamar Advertising's Timothy La Sota. La Sota shares that if "they want to choose to engage in a revenue-generating endeavor, they should have the same ability to do that as other cities and towns in Arizona do that are in a similar situation, and that is that they're not anywhere near an observatory."
The director of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Jeffrey Hall, confirms that the proposed area is already far from the big observatories. Despite this, he argues that the bill goes back on the 2012 compromise. Because of this, he warns of the long-term effects this could lead to. "The signal that sends is that Arizona is willing to, bit by bit, chip away at the dark-sky protection that keeps the astronomy industry viable."
Throughout the world, the largest group of designated dark-sky cities can be found in Arizona. Because of this, the state relies on the billion-dollar industry brought about by the astronomy observatories.