The BULB act.

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TyrantOfTheWeek's picture
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The BULB act.

WASHINGTON — Opponents of the federal phaseout of old-style incandescent light bulbs failed in the House on Tuesday to repeal the requirement for more efficient lighting but are expected to try again soon.

Republicans who have made the new light-bulb efficiency rules a symbol of Washington regulatory overreach fell short of the two-thirds majority required for expedited action on the repeal measure, the Better Use of Our Light Bulbs, or BULB, Act.

But with a 233-193 vote in favor of it, the House GOP leadership may bring it back for approval under procedures that require only a simple majority. The repeal faces dim prospects in the Democrat-controlled Senate, however.

"I don't think it will go anywhere," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

"We're not opposed to new technology," Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, leader of the repeal effort, said during the debate earlier this week. "We're saying let people make their own choices. Why in the world does the federal government have to tell people what kind of lights to use in their home?"

Federal energy legislation signed by President George W. Bush in 2007 phases out the old incandescents over three years, starting with 100-watt bulbs next Jan. 1, in favor of more efficient lighting.

California has already implemented the new standards. Democratic leaders of the California state Senate sent a letter to the state's congressional delegation, contending the bill would invalidate the state's new light-bulb standards and urging the bill's defeat.

But Texas recently enacted legislation seeking to get around the federal law by declaring that incandescent bulbs — if made and sold only in Texas — do not involve interstate commerce and are not subject to federal regulation, and a number of other states are considering following suit.

The vote came after supporters of the new rules held up more efficient incandescent bulbs on the House floor to point out that consumers would still be able to buy incandescents instead of compact fluorescent light bulbs that have drawn criticism for being more costly, mostly made in China and containing mercury.

The Obama administration, along with a diverse coalition that includes Thomas Edison's descendants, bulb manufacturers, the United Steelworkers and consumer and environmental groups opposes the repeal.

Is this a case of the government micromanaging our lives, or do you think that this is something that should be done?

GloriaInTX's picture
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When the new bulbs came out I thought it was a good idea because they would last longer. I bought many of them, the only problem was they burned out just as fast as regular bulbs but cost twice as much. So I quit buying them and went back to the regular bulbs, and will buy the regular bulbs as long as possible. I think it is a silly thing for the government to get involved in telling me which light bulbs I can buy.

Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
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Hm. Mine last forever though I wish they would die. I admit to hating the light they give.

As to the topic? Silly. The federal govmt tells people where and when they can burn. They tell people where and when they can dump toxins. They tell people where and when they can do lots of things. I actually think that the Repub party should feel some shame for making this some line in the sand. I mean, REALLY?

I hope some super scientist comes out of one of those low income schools like the debate Lilly posted and comes up with a live forever and give good soft flattering home light bulb! Win/Win.

Starryblue702's picture
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I've never given my lightbulbs much thought I just tend to go for whatever's the cheapest! In the case of the OP's question though, I absolutely think that the government should butt out and not force us to do ANYTHING!! Give me a break! Isn't this one of the reasons our forefathers came to this country to start anew from Europe? Because they were trying to interfere in everyone's lives, from taxes to religion and everything in between. I agree that government should butt out. I'm telling you, if you open the doors to let a few drops of water in, they turn into floodgates.

Rivergallery's picture
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The new bulbs have mercury, and no one has been told they should be handling them with care if broken. I'll stick with the actually more truely environmentally friendly incandecants.

Spacers's picture
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I can see both sides. The CFLs use a lot less energy, so getting many or most homes to switch to CFLs would relieve a lot of pressure from our nation's extremely-fragile electrical grid. But they contain mercury, are difficult to dispose of properly, and are made in China. This is micromanaging our lives, IMHO. I gladly accepted the free CFLs that were handed out a couple of years ago, I use them in my ceiling fixtures that are a PITA to change, but I won't spend my own money on them until they can be tossed in the trash or recycled somewhere convenient. I think the better idea than pushing legislation would be to develop a better CFL, one that was manufactured in America and didn't contain poisons, and then a lot of people would willingly switch.

boilermaker's picture
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I'm all for it. I think sometimes the gov't has to encourage us to do better, and it isn't until they require individuals or corporations through legislation or the EPA to perform better. I do believe that the almighty dollar is what motivates big companies-- and people, too. Sometimes we are just so short sighted that we choose the cheap incandescent over the cost saving CFL....

Yes, CFL's have mercury in them. But it is a miniscule amount and a smaller amount than is released through the production of dirty energy in the US (most of our electricity is from coal fired plants-- not all, but most.) You'll release more mercury into the atmosphere burning your incandescent bulb than your CFL. My CFL's have lasted years.

There are a few produced in the US-- so this is another "myth" about them. Certainly most of them are made in China (as is most of everything else....) but this legislation has been coming for a while, so companies have had time to re-tool and adjust IMO.

But I do agree, you have to adjust to the they provide. It isn't my favorite, either....