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  • Allison Stalker

Some Lawmakers Push to Overturn Light Bulb Efficiency Standards

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Representative Joe Barton, R-Texas, is promoting legislation to overturn a law requiring efficiency upgrades to light bulbs. The standards were signed into law by George Bush in the 2007 energy act. The republicans supporting the bill claim the law takes away personal freedom by forcing consumers to buy certain light bulbs. They also focus on the higher costs of the energy efficient bulbs and mercury related health risks.

The law requires that by January 1, 2012, inefficient 100-watt bulbs will no longer be available at most stores. Additionally, inefficient 75-watt bulbs will be removed in 2013 and 40 and 60-watt bulbs in 2014. Barton claims that consumers should be able to buy the cheaper, inefficient bulbs if they choose. “If you are Al Gore and want to spend $10 for a light bulb, more power to you,” he said. But “let people make their own choices.”

While these bulbs do cost more upfront, they offer huge savings in energy costs. According to the White House, the bulbs will save $6 billion in American household in 2015 alone. Similar improvements to refrigerator energy usages have saved Americans $20 billion a year.

The law will be fully implemented in 2020, at which point the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said that energy costs would be reduced by 7% each year. This equates to about $85 per household each year and the elimination of the need for 33 large power plants. The Obama administration opposes the bill, stating that it would repeal standards that are driving U.S. innovation, creating new manufacturing jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House before it moves to the Senate. With Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee urging opposition in the House and a Democratic controlled Senate, the bill will not be easily passed. A Gallup poll in USA Today reported that 61% thought the law was good, with 31% agreeing it was bad. Out of the 7 in 10 who switched to energy-efficient bulbs, 84% are satisfied with the bulbs



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