Screw You (and that new bulb)

December 21st, 2011 | Posted in Blog, Bright Ideas | No Comments »

Signed into law by President Bush in 2007 to phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs, it was promoted as a simple and almost painless. By requiring that light bulbs use at least 25 percent less electricity, the nation would use less energy, manufacturers would invent more efficient types of bulbs and the planet would be spared millions of tons of carbon emissions every year. Pretty good idea, huh?

It was a good idea until after the 2010 election and the uprising of the Tea Party. For some reason doing something that has absolutely no downside became a political issue of the government telling its citizens what to do.  Of course, the people who espouse this intrusion fail to realize that it is the government’s responsibility to pass, support and enforce this type of legislation.  Why? Because it benefits society, not just the 1%.

Conservatives have lambasted the bulb standards as unnecessary meddling. Conservationists have praised them as environmentally friendly. Both sides, however, agree that the bill that pushed through by House Republicans this week is all about the fight over the length of government’s reach. Conservatives refuse to realize that opposing this legislation is akin to believing that the government should not legislate what the speed limit is or that cars should get better gas mileage.

Of course, there will always be a faction who wants the government to be completely out of business and that is there constitutional right. Luckily, it is just white noise.   “This is just a stupid, stupid idea,” said Jim Presswood, energy policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, of the delay in bulb standards enforcement. “Why would anybody be against something that saves consumers money and cuts harmful air pollution?”

Eventually, the new factory standards for bulbs will still go into effect. Major retailers across the country have already been shifting to light bulbs that meet the efficiency requirements, including incandescent bulbs that use halogen technology, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and LED bulbs.  “Bottom line, the standards are moving forward unabated,” said Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has promoted the standards. Calling the delay in enforcement a “speed bump,” he added, “Incandescent light bulbs are not going away due to the standard, they are just getting better. The new ones that meet the standard will use 28 percent less power and look and perform exactly like the old one.”

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