Republicans Try Another Way to Keep Cherished Energy Hog Bulbs

Last week, the House voted down the "Better Use of Light Bulbs Act," sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), 233-193.

The bill, which would have repealed a strongly bipartisan 2007 law, signed by former President GW Bush, needed a two-thirds majority to pass. 10 Republicans joined all but 5 Democrats in defeating the repeal. 

Republicans rallied against the law as symbolic of government over-reach and over-regulation, while Democrats rallied against the repeal because it would prevent a ubiquitous appliance – used by individuals and businesses alike – from becoming more energy efficient. 

Those who want to repeal the bill say it takes away peoples’ right "choose" which lightbulbs they buy. Well, the FACTs are: Incandescents will still be on store shelves and anyone will be able to buy them – they will simply use less energy – 30% less starting in 2012.  

But Republicans plan to keep fighting the upgrade in efficiency standards, which have been a major force behind industry innovation, competitiveness, and billions of dollars in energy savings for decades for every single appliance – from industrial motors to refrigerators and air conditioners.

Last Friday, an amendment passed the House which would deny funds to implement the law. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) added the amendement to the Energy Department’s Appropriations bill, the 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Act.

Although it will face resistance in the Democratic-led Senate, it has a better chance of passing because only a simply majority is needed. But even if a similar amendment passes the Senate, the funding would have to be cut every year because they didn’t succeed in repealing the law.

It’s also prompted several states to get around the law – Texas Gov. Rick Perry just signed a bill that would allow the old incandescents to be manufactured and sold inside the state;  and states like South Carolina and Pennsylvania are considering do the same. 

Instead of lobbying for loose rules as many industries do, in this case, the lighting industry strongly supports the new standards.

The industry says they will help the economy, not hurt it. They’re closing old production lines and improving technologies, so state laws and appropriations bill may not have much impact on keeping the old bulbs around.

"This cynical move breaks faith with U.S.-based manufacturers who worked with Congress and President George W. Bush in 2007 to write the law. Since then, manufacturers have researched, re-tooled and developed new, energy-saving bulbs to meet the new standards, which are expected to save the average U.S. family about $100 and the nation as much as $12 billion each year," says Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan.

"Now manufacturers will be left in the dark, along with their workers, as they obey the law while others bypass it, because the Department of Energy will be prohibited from stopping illegal products," she adds.

(Visited 4,494 times, 1 visits today)

Comments on “Republicans Try Another Way to Keep Cherished Energy Hog Bulbs”

Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *