Tennessee Appears to Want to Protect Itself From 'Chemtrails'

Though it doesn't say as much (and also, chemtrails don't exist)
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2024 12:30 AM CDT
Tennessee Passes 'Chemtrail Bill'
   (Getty Images / Cunaplus_M.Faba)

Tennessee's new bill banning the release of airborne chemicals, which will become law July 1 if the governor signs it, does not mention "chemtrails" by name but is said to be inspired by the chemtrail conspiracy theory, in which toxic chemicals are said to be spread by airplanes. (The theory has been debunked multiple times.) Outlets including the BBC are, as such, referring to it as the "chemtrail" bill.

  • What the bill actually bans: The "intentional injection, release, or dispersion, by any means, of chemicals, chemical compounds, substances" into the air, plus anything "affecting temperature, weather, or the intensity of the sunlight."
  • What people are saying it's meant to ban: As the Guardian explains, the decades-old chemtrails conspiracy theory claims the cloudy white trails sometimes left behind by planes are actually chemicals being released into the atmosphere by (in some tellings) the government or (in other versions) private organizations. The goal? It also varies depending who you're talking to, but it could be anything from mind control to weather modification. The idea is that, without saying as much, Tennessee is looking to ban chemtrails (which don't actually exist).

  • So what are those cloudy white trails, then? Contrails, which are created when warm, humid air meets cold, dry air.
  • What prompted this: Per the BBC and the Tennessean, the bill was inspired by "a government report released last year on solar geoengineering, which is the idea of cooling the planet by reflecting sunlight back into space" (and which is not practiced in the US) as well as debunked conspiracy theories around supposed government geoengineering programs. NBC News explains that geoengineering involves "intentionally modifying the atmosphere to counteract global warming," and the field is mostly theoretical.
  • A quote from the legislative discussion of the bill: Many of these outlets have quotes from lawmakers, some of whom did bring up chemtrails, like so: "If you look up—one day, it'll be clear. The next day they will look like some angels have been playing tic-tac-toe. They're everywhere. I've got pictures on my phone with X's right over my house. For years they denied they were doing anything."
  • More to come? States considering similar bills include Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Minnesota, and New Hampshire
(More Tennessee stories.)

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