Archive for Friday, December 16, 2011

Congress flips dimmer switch on light bulb law

December 16, 2011


— Republicans in Congress are flipping the dimmer switch on a law that sets new energy-savings standards for light bulbs.

They’ve reached a deal to delay until October enforcement of standards that some fear will bring about the end of old-style 100-watt bulbs. GOP lawmakers say they’re trying to head off more government interference in people’s lives.

But environmentalists and the light bulb industry say the move is not too bright.

Language postponing enforcement of the light bulb law — it was set to take effect Jan. 1 — was included in a massive spending bill that funds the government through September. The House passed the measure on Friday, with approval expected Saturday in the Senate.

Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the light bulb delay shows Congress is listening to the American people.

“We heard the message loud and clear,” said Upton, R-Mich. “Americans don’t want government standards determining how they light their homes.”

Upton said he was not opposed to the more efficient — and expensive— curlicue fluorescents that have become increasingly familiar in recent years. But he said government should not penalize those who prefer traditional, incandescent bulbs.

“New lighting options are great news for the public, but the lesson is that markets and consumer demand are the best drivers of innovation and new choices,” Upton said.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the move would have little practical consequence, since it does not affect a 2007 law that requires manufacturers to produce or import more efficient bulbs. The five largest light bulb manufacturers have already switched to making and selling the more efficient bulbs, Bingaman said, so the enforcement delay only serves to confuse the public.

“Blocking funds to enforce minimum standards works against our nation getting the full benefits of energy efficiency,” said Bingaman, D-N.M., a key sponsor of the 2007 law, which was signed by President George W. Bush.

A group representing light bulb manufacturers spoke out against the delay, which applies only to 100-watt bulbs. Tighter standards for 75-watt bulbs take effect in 2013, and lower wattage bulbs must be more efficient by 2014.


JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

Is there no end to the republican hypocrisy? Since when do light bulb energy standards interfere more with people's lives than say when or if a woman can have an abortion? They have no problem with interfering in people's lives tpwhen it suits their values. Back to the specific topic, Maybe I would like the right to breathe air that is free of particulate matter produced by burning coal to provide power to incandescent bulbs. The role of government is in part to balance these conflicting rights. Having said all this, I'm a little concerned about the disposal of the fluorescent bulbs as I understand they contain some mercury. If that ends up in landfills, I suppose it could leach into public water supplies which to me at least might be a better reason to oppose fluorescent bulbs. The problem is that republican minds are fixated on deregulation just as babies are fixated on nipples. Capitalism is the best economic system we've thought of so far, but it must be regulated by government. This is explained thoroughly in Garrett's "tragedy of the commons."

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

wow, and killing the baby in the womb sure does interfere with that person's life and future choices one heckuva lot more.


JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

A baby only exists outside it's mothers womb. While still inside the womb, it's a fetus.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

It doesn't make any sense to be against Westar's recent request for a electric rate increase and still insist on using very inefficient incandescent light bulbs.

It's strange that no one ever worries about the mercury in common thermometers that were used years ago leaching into public water supplies. You know it's there - they were always made of glass and were quite often broken. Maybe no one worries about that now because it's too late to do anything about it.

And, the days of fluorescent bulbs are very likely numbered anyway - advances in LED technology appear that it's likely they will replace florescent lights rather soon anyway, because it shouldn't be that much longer until they are more efficient than fluorescents.

Phil Minkin 6 years, 1 month ago

I have a question about "government interference in people’s lives". Should we allow lead back in paint and gasoline?, should we end the ban on DDT? do we really need speed limits? inspections of food, air planes and drugs? I'm just askin'.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

This is nothing but political pandering to satisfy Fox News fans who've bought into the light-bulb hysteria.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 1 month ago

Common sense one, Glowarmers zero. Keep the wins coming.

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