Dark Skies Initiative
Flagstaff Forty has long had an interest in protecting the dark skies of Northern Arizona. Astronomy is an important part of our community economically, culturally and historically. In early 2012, Arizona’s observatories, scenic preservation groups, and leadership organizations, including Flagstaff Forty, were instrumental in the defeat of House Bill 2757, which would have allowed a proliferation of electronic billboards on Federal and State highways across the state. The horizontally-emitted glare from these very bright billboards is a significant source of light pollution and the bill would have been a major weakening of Arizona’s long-standing protection of the nighttime sky for public enjoyment as well as the state’s $1.2B astronomy industry.
Although the bill passed in both houses of the legislature, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill on March 27, 2012, citing Arizona’s extensive investment in astronomy and space science as worthy of protection. Following the veto, representatives from the billboard and astronomy sectors worked out a compromise that limited placement of electronic billboards to the already light-polluted Phoenix area and the busy interstate corridors west of Phoenix, with no billboards allowed within 75-mile radii of any of the state’s major observatories.