Latest News

Newsom Vetoes California Light Pollution Bill

Newsom Vetoes California Light Pollution Bill

On September 23, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 2382, aimed at decreasing light pollution.

AB 2382 was introduced by Assemblyman Alex Lee (D-San Jose) last April. It would have required all outdoor lights installed or replaced after Jan. 1 that are state-owned to meet new criteria, including timing, color temperatures, antilight pollution shields, etc.

The bill passed the California State Assembly in a 76-1 landslide vote in August, moving it to Newsom’s inbox.

“This bill would have protected our night skies and migratory species, while reducing wasteful and unnecessary electricity consumption,” said Lee, who called the veto “extremely disappointing.”

In his veto message, Newsom justified that his decision to return the bill unsigned was mainly for fiscal reasons, saying “… the costs associated with this bill are unfunded and potentially significant,” costing millions of dollars that are not in the budget. Newsome expounded, saying that the potential $20 billion up-front spending commitment with more than $10 billion in ongoing maintenance wasn’t accounted for in the state budget, and should be considered part of the annual budget process. He also stated that the “provisions create an overly broad mandate that raises concerns for health and safety, security, and crime prevention.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill’s supporters described that view as shortsighted.

“Making lighting at state buildings more night sky- and wildlife- and human health-friendly is a long-term money saver, because you use less energy,” said Travis Longcore, an urban ecologist at UCLA who studies the environmental effects of artificial light and advised the bill’s authors. “It’s a matter of prioritizing things that are important.”

LED lights use less than 25% of the energy of the incandescent bulbs they were intended to replace. People have embraced them with gusto, lighting more spaces for longer into the night than before.

Many of these bulbs also emit a cooler blue light that diffuses more broadly, meaning that the bright lights of urban Los Angeles can make it harder to spot the stars in Death Valley. A clear night sky in Los Angeles now shines 1.5 times more brightly than a night lit by a full moon, Longcore estimates.

Nineteen states including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have passed laws to prevent light pollution.

Tagged with

Discussion (5 comments)

    Margaret McAlister October 4, 2022 / 11:50 am

    This Newsom Must be amongst all the other IDIOT climate denial set

    Charlene October 4, 2022 / 2:48 pm

    Do Not Give Up On This Proposal. It Is MOST Important and ESPECIALLY With Th Light Pollution Of Large Cities ` ALL Of California Need Light Pollution Reduction. For All Life On Earth…

    Christine Callahan October 4, 2022 / 3:14 pm

    How shortsighted

    Barbara October 5, 2022 / 2:21 pm

    If the CA Assembly passed this bill 76-1, why can’t they override his veyo? The Assembly certainly have the votes.

    Cathy Handzel November 12, 2022 / 2:43 pm

    Governor Newsom said, “later is too late to act on climate change”, then he vetoed bill AB 2382, aimed at reducing energy wasted by the state of California to shine light up into the sky, all night long. We all see water running down the sidewalk and into the gutter as senseless and wasteful. This is no different from wasting energy to shine light up into the sky. The idea that California cannot afford to reduce light pollution is ludicrous, and a failure to act responsibly. There are negative social, environmental, and economic impacts from energy waste, glare, and exposure to artificial light at night.

    This veto was an uninformed, short-sighted view on the growing threat of light pollution – which isn’t just about seeing the stars, although that is an amazing benefit of lighting responsibly at night! Light pollution has a wide range of costly impacts including human health: circadian disruption, breast and prostate cancer, obesity, diabetes, and daytime fatigue resulting in poor memory, lowered productivity, and increased accidents. Light pollution kills migrating birds and monarch butterflies (now endangered), sea turtles, frogs, and plant pollinators such as bats and insects (affects food supply). And, you guessed it, light pollution CONTRIBUTES TO CLIMATE CHANGE.

    Shielding light fixtures, using timers and motion sensors, and turning off unnecessary lights doesn’t seem like aggressive action, but it sure is GOOD, COMMON SENSE! Californians can step up and flip the switch on light pollution and climate change – every bit helps. Join me, we can start tonight: light it right to save the planet and save night! End GLARE now, let’s learn how… Visit the International Dark Sky Association at darksky.org to learn more.

Comment on the story

Your email address will not be published.