Tennessee Approves ‘Chemtrails’ Bill, Airborne Chemicals Banned

The Tennessee legislature has passed laws banning chemical dispersal in the sky. The legislation will prohibit the aerial distribution of any product that affects temperature, weather, or sunlight intensity. If signed by Governor Bill Lee, it will take effect on July 1. Critics say the law and accompanying debate are founded on a conspiracy theory usually referred to as “chemtrails.” Proponents, however, insist it is no conspiracy but a response to the prospect of “geoengineering,” or “solar radiation modification,” which the White House addressed last year.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration produced a report last summer weighing up the risks of solar radiation modification (SRM) and described it as “a potential complement to other tools available to address climate change.” SRM means reflecting the sun away from the Earth to cool the planet. The White House report concluded that more research is needed, adding that there are no plans to pursue an SRM policy.

Some people believe, however, that SRM is already taking place and cite “chemtrails” in the sky as evidence. These are condensation trails left by aircraft, which many people insist have only appeared in the skies in recent years and therefore are not a normal consequence of air travel.

Republican Senator Frank Niceley supported the bill, saying the trails are “everywhere.” He said he has taken pictures on his phone of an array of white trail marks in the skies over his home, adding that the government has denied potentially-toxic chemical dispersal “for years.”

Tennessee is not the first state to address the issue, and legislation has already passed in Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. However, Josh Horton of the Harvard Kennedy School notes that Tennessee is the first to pass it through both legislative chambers.

Justin Mankin, a Dartmouth University climate scientist, described the Volunteer State bill as “nonsense” that undermines scientific credibility and legitimizes “debunked conspiratorial belief.”