Last Wednesday the House voted to block the enforcement of light bulb standards that many say would effectively force people to buy more expensive compact fluorescent bulbs. As this blog described in a post last year, we promote energy efficiency in every way.
As a refresher, the bill was signed into law by President Bush in 2007 to phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs and 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?
Just like last year, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) proposed the language as an addition to the energy and water spending bill. His language prohibits the use of any funds at the Department of Energy to implement the standards.
Burgess said the federal government should not use regulations to impose standards that force consumers to buy the pricier bulbs, and said the market should be allowed to sort it out.
“If the new energy-efficient light bulbs save money, and if they’re better for the environment, we should trust our constituents to make the choice on their own move toward these bulbs,” he said. “Let the market decide.” Well, the market has decided and the sale of incandescent bulbs has been decreasing every year. So why all of the brushback? (possibly pandering to the constituents back in the district?)
Supporters of the law have said it does not ban any particular bulb, but instead requires bulbs to become more energy efficient. Democrats said incandescent bulbs are available that meet the standards, and said the law does not require the purchase of compact fluorescent bulbs.
But Burgess’s amendment easily won the day — it was passed in a voice vote, and no member called for a recorded vote. His language was also voice-voted in 2012 to the energy and water spending bill.
Members are expected to consider amendments throughout the day to this year’s spending bill, H.R. 2609.
In a separate voice vote, the House accepted a proposal from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) that would prohibit the use of funds to implement or enforce rules related to energy efficient ceiling fans, toasters, refrigerators, clock radios, televisions, DVR’s, VCR’s, blenders or anything that has to plug into the wall to work.