Even though the bill was passed in 2007, signed by President George W. Bush, has widespread support by the lighting industry and will save consumers millions on energy costs, there are still some members of the GOP who think that energy efficient bulbs are bad for Americans. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) on Wednesday proposed legislation to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs, just weeks after a a ban on the most common traditional bulbs took effect.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 phased in a ban on bulbs that don’t meet new energy efficient standards. As a result of that law, the 100- and 75-watt bulb are already banned, and the 60- and 40-watt bulb were banned as of this month. Stores can continue to sell off their stock, but after that, they’re gone.
Republicans in particular have said the light bulb ban is an example of the nanny state that needs to be repealed. The GOP had some success delaying elements of the new policy, but it now appears likely to take hold for good.
Duncan’s bill, H.R. 3818, would repeal the entire section of the 2007 ban dealing with energy efficiency standards for bulbs. Luckily, GOP leaders have so far given no sign that they would consider the bill in the coming weeks.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) on Wednesday highlighted the problems related to ending the sale of incandescent bulbs, and requiring consumers to buy compact fluorescent bulbs. Poe said the new bulbs are much more expensive and contain mercury, and thus pose possible health risks and must be disposed of very carefully. If Rep. Poe actually knew the facts, he would realize that new bulbs will cost the consumer much less over the lifespan of the bulb and that the amount of mercury in a CFL can fit on the head of a pin. Actually, there is more mercury in a can of tuna than a CFL!
In a pithy statement, he said on the House floor, “You are supposed to take them to a local recycling center. Yeah, right.” (So I guess he does not separate his glass and plastics at home either.)
Poe also complained that the law effectively tells Americans what they must buy, and said that shouldn’t happen “whether it is health care, a box of donuts, or even CFL light bulbs.”
“As Willie Nelson has said: ‘Turn out the lights, the party’s over. They say that all good things must end. Turn out the lights, the party’s over,’ for at least Thomas Edison’s light bulb.”
We are Americans and constantly innovating to make the products in our daily lives more efficient so they cost us less to use. It’s called the American way Mr. Poe.