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Dark Skies in Arizona (Arizona Daily Star report)

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Astronomers have rallied strong support for keeping the skies dark in Flagstaff, where sky- watching has a long tradition, and Tucson, a world-famous space science community. Local governments in Coconino and Pima counties have upheld lighting ordinances that protect the night skies by using lights sparingly and shielding them so they point down at the things they're meant to illuminate.

To address statewide light pollution issues, State Sen. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Tucson, has sponsored astronomy-friendly legislation, including the "good-lighting bill" that the governor signed into law in 2003. And she helped defeat legislation last spring that would've allowed for bright, blinking billboards along the state's highways. But she says she's fighting a hard battle with her colleagues from Phoenix.

"Many members don't understand the importance of rural Arizona, don't understand the importance of industries in Flagstaff or Pima County and they just don't care," she said. "They feel that Phoenix is the central driving economy to the rest of the state."

More: Arizona Daily Star - Tucson, Flagstaff help astronomy; Phoenix is another matter by Anne Minard

Link: International Dark Skies Association