It Worked: Omnibus Spending Bill Passes Blocking Funds for Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Congress has agreed to the 2012 omnibus spending bill, which, of course, contained dozens of anti-environment riders from the GOP. 

Democrats were able to eliminate most of the riders, including those that would block air and water pollution regulation, and endangered species and public lands protection.

But two key riders passed as part of the bill.

One weakens air pollution controls in the Arctic, and the other blocks funding for the Dept of Energy to enforce the new light bulb efficiency bill.

Yes, although the GOP failed in repealing the bill which establishes higher efficiency standards for light bulbs, they managed to block funding for its implementation. 

"It is unfortunate that some members of Congress have inserted a provision in the federal appropriations bill seeking to derail implementation of lighting efficiency standards enacted in 2007 and signed by then-President Bush," says Steve Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

Contrary to misinformation spread by GOP opponents, the standards require incandescents to be 30% more efficient, they don’t ban them. Five manufacturers are already selling bulbs that meet new standards.

"Law-abiding companies will follow the law, Nadel says, but "less scrupulous companies will take advantage of the lack of enforcement, selling products that waste energy and increase energy costs for consumers. If many manufacturers take advantage of the lack of enforcement, recent investments that these five manufacturers have made to produce efficient lamps could be undermined."

Businesses, who usually resist new regulations, are on the side of greater efficiency this time, because it positively affects their bottom line.

Light bulb manufacturers such as General Electric, Philips and Osram Sylvania say they are fuming about the "GOP bid to undercut them." They’ve spent four years and millions of dollars preparing for the standards, and they don’t want potential "bad actors" to be able to sell inefficient light bulbs without fear of federal enforcement.

61% of Americans call the new lighting standard "a good law" and 84% say are satisfied or very satisfied with the new bulbs, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll (February 2011).

In early November, China announced it would completely eliminate incandescent light bulbs over the next five years to increase energy efficiency in the country.

The GOP-led House has cast 170 anti-environment votes in 2011, and just about every rider House leadership tries to attach to last-minute, "must pass" bills is designed to undermine environmental protections. No other issue has come under such withering attacks.

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Comments on “It Worked: Omnibus Spending Bill Passes Blocking Funds for Energy Efficient Light Bulbs”

  1. Falcon

    I’m sorry air pollution controls in the Arctic were weakened but I’m glad Department of Energy funding for higher efficiency standards for light bulbs was blocked. Businesses and consumers and not government should be paying for higher energy efficiency. One, there is no Constitutional authority for the federal government to be paying for higher efficiency standards. And two, polluters and not everyone should pay. What we need is a pollution tax and have the revenue from it used to mitigate the effects of the pollution and to have those adversely affected by pollution reimbursed.

  2. Bill

    I think Falcon missed the point. If I am not mistaken, the funding was only for the enforcement of energy efficieny standards. Voluntary standards tend to only apply those with ethical standards. Those who choose to pollute through use of excessive energy impact us all. Seems that is where Government should come in.

  3. Karim

    … This pro-choice, free market philpsoohy tends to ignore how the market places, as much as government, limits my choices. For example I can not buy a replacement for my twenty-five year old GE refrigerator that will server as well because they are now designed to last no more than fifteen years. I can not get the original Wilkerson razor blades that would last a month, because as soon as they realized that, they degraded the blade. For Rand Paul, I would suggest he check out the dual flush ToTo, who have been designing and developing low-volume flushing systems for decades– they work quite well! The market, when pushed, can even design full spectrum bulbs that cut down on the juice.You miss the point completely. If the market demanded that these are things that people will buy, they will make them, but in a market driven world, you will get things like a 15 year old lifespan fridge, or a razor that lasts half as long because we consume them and the private sector is what delivers them. They are not edicts from the state projected onto private industry as a function of tax breaks or some other financial concessions to peddle the ideology of a free market in the form of limited products. I want government out of the private sector for the most part. If it is a function of safety, I have no issue with government or civilian oversight. Beyond that, stay out. I don’t want them forcing me to buy what they think I should buy for my own good. I want the freedom and liberty to consume what I wish, when I wish it and without their oversight to do so.


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