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Senate Squashes Bid To Allow Internally-Illuminated Billboards In Mohave County

A Senate panel on Monday quashed a bid to open up all of Mohave County to internally illuminated billboards.

A 2012 deal between billboard companies and the astronomy community set aside a wedge of the west Valley along Interstates 8 and 10 for the signs. Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, carrying the bill for Lamar Advertising, told colleagues there's no reason his home county should be excluded, saying it's plenty far from existing observatories.

But research scientist Angela Cotera showed lawmakers photos of how much light pollution there already is from Phoenix at Kitt Peak, more than 100 miles away. Cotera acknowledged that regular billboards, illuminated from the bottom, also cause light pollution.

But she said this is worse--"Turn them towards you and all of a sudden there's a lot more light. In addition, the light goes out straight for a long time and then it scatters. And so this light is particularly egregious as far as light pollution goes."

The Senate Committee on Commerce and Workforce Development agreed, concluded it's best to leave the restrictions as they are now.