Congress Blocks Light Bulb Efficiency Standards with Spending Bill

Under a 2007 energy law signed by President George W. Bush, the United States. was poised to cut energy use and climate pollution equivalent to 17 million cars by retiring the incandescent light bulb. Last week, Congress blocked those regulations from going into effect as planned next month by inserting language into the spending bill that averted a federal government shutdown on Friday.

While Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) referred to the rider as “another poke in the eye” and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) credited the postponement of efficiency standards to “…the power of Michele Bachmann and the presidential campaign,” the rider only preserves the 100-watt incandescent temporarily, until October 2012.

According to The Wilderness Society, the irony of defending the 135-year-old incandescent technology is that light bulb manufacturers supported the new regulations. Consumers could have saved $15.8 billion in energy costs annually by full adoption of the new, more efficient, but still incandescent, bulbs the industry has introduced.

“In the real world, outside talk radio’s echo chamber, lighting manufacturers such as GE, Philips and Sylvania have tooled up to produce new incandescent light bulbs that look and operate exactly the same as old incandescent bulbs, and give off just as much warm light,” Republicans for Environmental Protection Policy Director Jim DiPeso told Politico. “The only difference is they produce less excess heat and are therefore 30 percent more efficient. Same light, lower energy bills. What’s not to like?”

Whatever the presidential campaign about the light bulb uprising out there, most American’s actually support efficiency standards, with 61% regarding them favorably according to a USA TODAY/Gallup poll. “Of those surveyed, 71%, said they have replaced standard light bulbs in their home with more efficient options, and 84% said they are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the alternatives,” the paper reported.

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anne t.
anne t.3 years ago

LED lights are now coming in in the UK at a reasonable price and light intensity and to fit standard fittings. An American I spoke to said she could get them in America 3 years ago. They are one tenth of the wattage of conventional incandescents or half of CFLs for the same light intensity. They come on instantly and don't contain mercury. They now also come in the same size as 50W halogen spot lights that are very common here and waste enormous amounts of energy. They also last a lot longer. I'm replacing our CFLs with LEDs as they break. Regarding the mercury in CFLs. It is a small amount which is less than that that would be released into the atmosphere when burning the extra coal required to keep an incandescent going.
About half of retail electricity is used for lighting. If this could be reduced to a tenth it would be an enormous saving both in money and carbon emissions. Not quite as much for homes but it will still be a lot. If you are using conventional bulbs it's like burning money apart from the effect on the planet.

Russell R.
Russell R.3 years ago

I'll support it when they they can make the new bulbs work off a dimmer switch and when you don't need the Environmental Agency to come in to your home to clean up toxic mess of a broken bulb.
CFLs contain mercury -- a dangerous toxin that can effect your nervous system. And if one breaks, mercury is released into your home.
if you break one -- the EPA recommends you follow a 15-step process that's similar to cleaning up hazardous waste.
Instructions include:

Evacuate all kids, pets and pregnant women...

Open all the windows...

Clean up the bulb using rubber gloves and stiff cardboard...

Then seal it in an airtight glass jar and take it outside.

If the bulb breaks on carpet, you should dispose of the carpet, or ventilate the area for several weeks.

You can't just throw CFL bulbs in the trash. They have to be recycled, at special facilities!
Where are they?

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

If this doesn't show the backward and nonsensical stance of the republicans... what does?

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush3 years ago

This is what is meant by, cutting off your nose to spite your face.
In fact, it sounds like a child, who wants to get their way, even if it is bad for him.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark


All because of political differences...prejudices....power hungry......short sighted..... @#$%&@ fools.

Betty P.
Betty Ann3 years ago

I am thinking alot of jobs have left this good ol country we got. We have soo many regulations that any more you can go to another country that do not have all those regulations. Not to mention all those people that take advantage of lawsuits you know the crazy laws we have. Companies can go elsewhere and have. When are we going to realize this ? I think it have to get alot worse before we admitt why jobs have left.

Sue T.
Susan T.3 years ago

I have some of the new light bulbs and I really do not like them. Less light and I guess I am old school. and what about if they break and they are hazardous....blah blah blah. In 20 years there is gonna be some reason why they are "bad" as well.
I like my old incandescent bulbs and am thinking of buying some Edison bulbs because they look cool.

K s Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Steve Moss
Stephen Moss3 years ago

I am actually amazed that anyone in the USA actually votes for Republicans. Republicans don't even pretend to give a damn about what is right more often than not. If this was any other First world country they would not stand a chance....except maybe in Italy.

sherry l.
sherry luciano3 years ago

Maybe the republicans need a bright light to shine on their stupidity. We can't seem to do the correct thing before the rest of the world. I'm sorry maybe war and taking away people's rights always comes first.