Once again, some members of the House are trying to turn back a train that has already left the station. They have inserted a light bulb rider in the 2014 omnibus spending bill which would prohibit the Department of Energy (DOE) from enforcing the light bulb standards enacted in 2007 and signed into law by President Bush.
The rider will not bring back the old, inefficient light bulbs. U.S. manufacturers such as GE, Philips, and Sylvania have complied with the standards and consumers are already reaping the savings from the more efficient bulbs. New halogen incandescents, now on store shelves, look and light up just like the old light bulbs but use about 30% less electricity. LED and CFL light bulbs save even more.
Here’s the bad news: the rider could endanger U.S. jobs. Manufacturers have invested in U.S. factories to make the compliant halogen incandescent light bulbs. Since the rider prohibits enforcement of the standards, it opens the door to foreign lighting factories and importers that would seek to sell substandard, energy-wasting bulbs, threatening U.S. manufacturing and domestic jobs.
The light bulb standards have been a success, providing energy reductions and cost savings for consumers. The rider could turn that success into a train wreck for U.S. manufacturers.