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Killea Measure Would Keep Observatories in the Shade

Increased light and glare from new developments in the shadow of Palomar Observatory would become matters of serious concern in the future under a bill that has passed the Assembly and been sent to the Senate.

The measure by Assemblywoman Lucy Killea (D-San Diego), which the Assembly passed 54-20 this week, would require that Gov. George Deukmejian’s Office of Planning and Research develop guidelines to regulate “light pollution” from new buildings near California observatories.

Officials of the California Institute of Technology, which operates the Palomar Observatory, have been contending for some time that potential glare should be considered in environmental impact reports prepared for new developments. But with the exception of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, local governments have generally scoffed at the notion.

Under Killea’s bill, light pollution would be considered a significant factor when developments are near observatories. After public hearings, new light pollution standards would, in effect, become state regulations under the bill.

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Killea won crucial Republican support for the measure, and eliminated the Administration’s stated opposition, by narrowing the scope of the bill so that it applied only to developments near astronomical facilities operated by scientific and educational institutions.

Killea introduced the bill in February. It won approval of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee in May and the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee earlier this month.


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