Nevada Gov. Sisolak signs ‘Dark Skies Bill’ to help prevent light pollution

In this May 2, 2017 photo provided by Kurt Kuznicki is the Massacre Rim Wilderness Area in...
In this May 2, 2017 photo provided by Kurt Kuznicki is the Massacre Rim Wilderness Area in northwestern Nevada, 150 miles north of Reno and near the state line with Oregon.(Kurt Kuznicki | AP)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 9:21 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Nevada could be seeing clearer night skies in the near future.

Governor Steve Sisolak on Friday signed Senate Bill 52, the Dark Skies Bill, into law. The bill will allow communities to apply for a dark sky designation.

Those in favor say it could be used to promote tourism, especially in rural communities.

Sisolak is joined by Lt. Governor Kate Marshall, whose office sponsored the legislation this session in partnership with the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation.

“From Lake Tahoe to Beatty to Ely, Nevada’s extraordinary dark night skies provide ample opportunity for stargazing, and this bill is a reflection of the State’s commitment to protecting our bountiful and beautiful natural resources,” Sisolak said in a statement. “The ‘Dark Sky Designation’ will help continue our focused efforts on improving our economy by helping to create opportunities for jobs and recreation businesses.”

The fear for a number of years has revolved around “light pollution” from surrounding cities and towns.

“Excessive artificial ‘light pollution’ not only impairs night-sky viewing opportunities, but can also impact public health and quality of life, outdoor recreation experiences, astronomical research, and native plant and wildlife species,” Sisolak’s office said in a release.

The bill promotes energy efficiency to help preserve Nevada’s natural dark skies.

“The Dark Skies Bill builds on Nevada’s long history of preserving our state’s amazing natural heritage,” said Colin Robertson, Administrator of the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation. “I look forward to working with local and rural communities to solidify Nevada as a world-class dark sky destination to bolster the economy while bringing an additional form of responsible and sustainable tourism to the state.”

Right now, Great Basin National Park and the Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area are the only designated dark sky places in Nevada.