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 light pollution