Congress Smashes Light Bulb Law .. For Now
Americans of all political bents have been stockpiling traditional, incandescent light bulbs ahead of the planned enforcement of the so-called Light Bulb Law which was signed by former President Bush. It now appears they have more time before having CFLs shoved down their throats.
In an attempt to pull government from yet another facet of American life, GOP lawmakers reached a deal and were able to include a postponement of the law in the Omnibus spending bill. The spending bill that will fund the government through the end of September of 2012 passed the House last Friday.
Republicans removed any funding for the enforcement of the Light Bulb Law. Without finding, the Energy Department will have no way to make sure that Americans no longer use the wildly popular and very inexpensive bulbs to which they have become accustomed.
The funding cut will have no effect on those that choose Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) or LED lights which require less electricity to run, but are hugely more expensive to purchase. 6 100-watt equivalent CFLs cost about $20.00 – more than $3 per bulb – while the standard 100 watt incandescent bulbs can be purchased for less than $0.80 per bulb.
The CFLs at the the $3.25/bulb end of the spectrum also contain mercury – a serious toxin that makes bulb breakage a HAZMAT event.
The standards that were due to go into effect on January 1st only applied to 100 watt bulbs. 75-watt bulbs would have been regulated out-of-existence in 2013 and all other incandescents in 2014.
To fully reverse the light bulb mandates, the 2007 law will need to be repealed. Something Republicans in the House and Senate were looking to do in March of this year. As it stands, the 100-watt provisions would now go into effect in October of 2012 with the 75-watt provisions following close behind. This could be another regulation that will be killed or strengthened at the ballot box in 2012.
Jim Presswood, policy director for the environmentalist group Natural Resources Defence Council, called the move by Republicans “dim-witted” and “completely ridiculous”.
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Fred Upton said that they had “heard the message loud and clear. Americans don’t want government standards determining how they light their homes”