Dirty Energy & Fuel light bulbs gop

Published on December 23rd, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


GOP Pisses Off Light Bulb Industry


light bulbs gop

This is last week’s news, a bit, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to cover more and haven’t gotten to. So, here’s a quickie on it:

The GOP, in the name of “freedom” tried to kill lightbulb standards established and signed into law under George W. Bush (somewhat sucessfully). The GOP framed it as a ban on incandescent light bulbs and a ban on freedom of choice. However, it was NOT a ban on incandescent bulbs but just a mandate to make them more efficient. Aside from those who want clean air and a livable climate, the GOP’s ridiculous obstructionism on this pissed off the light bulb industry!

More from Politico (a rather conservative politics site):

Big Business usually loves it when the GOP goes to war over federal rules.

But not when it comes to light bulbs.

This year, House Republicans made it a top priority to roll back regulations they say are too costly for business. Last week, the GOP won a long-fought battle to kill new energy efficiency rules for bulbs when House and Senate negotiators included a rider to block enforcement of the regulations in the $1 trillion-plus, year-end spending bill.

The rider may have advanced GOP talking points about light bulb “freedom of choice,” but it didn’t win them many friends in the industry, who are more interested in their bottom line than political rhetoric.

Big companies like General Electric, Philips and Osram Sylvania spent big bucks preparing for the standards, and the industry is fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them.

After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort.

Yep, that’s our House GOP (or GOP leaders in general these days), looking out for… no one.

Light bulb man via shutterstock

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

  • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

    Note to commenters: if you post a comment full of lies that do not add to the discussion at all, it will be deleted..

    CFLs & LEDs are clearly much more efficient and long-lasting than traditional incandescents — this has tested and retested and retested, and I’ve got lights that live up to the studies.

    This legislation will help consumers save a ton of money, will cut health costs, and will help to maintain a livable climate and environment. There is no doubt about that.

    • Peter Gray

      As evidence that Zachary is not “censoring” valid contrary viewpoints, see Lightsmith1′s comment at the top of the thread. Nothing but misinformation from one end to the other, and with no detectable contribution to the discussion, but even that didn’t qualify as “stuffed with lies.”

      The best I can say for Lightsmith’s comment is that it reminded us of the hoary, long-discredited mercury anti-CFL argument. But sheesh, even Popular Mechanics (http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/news/4217864
      ) blew that one away 4 years before this blog post.

      • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan


  • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

    Artcuras, it’s not technically a “ban” — but, sure, you can say it is one effectively if they can’t improve the technology to make it more efficient. But what’s your problem/point?

    We set efficiency standards for cars and for other things as well. They save consumers money. They protect our health. They create jobs. Where’s the problem.

    Lighting accounts for a large portion of our electricity use. It is required at night but also often used in the day. This will make a considerable difference for our health and the maintenance of a livable climate.

    As for the money aspect: this is something that has been set for implementation since George W. Bush. The lighting industry put a ton of time and money into preparing for the standards. A last-minute decision to drop them doesn’t make sense. It harms consumers and it pisses off an industry that has been working on this topic for years.

  • Pingback: How many Republicans does it take to screw up the light bulb industry?

  • Robert Klein

    I love LED’s. The color is very nice and I’ve already seen a difference in my energy costs since I switched over. I found really great prices at Earthled.com.

  • Lightsmith1

    I don’t think either party and perhaps the writer of this article know what they are talking about. The energy efficient bulbs TPB want us to use contain mercury and when not properly disposed of the mercury will leach into the environment. How many people know about this? Do we really think they will be disposed of safely? There is a shortage of tungsten right now and I suspect these new bulbs were introduced by corporations like GE to save money not energy and improve their green image.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Well, first of all, the legislation isn’t ‘for’ any particular bulb. More efficient incandescent bulbs could be produced/sold instead, CFLs (what you’re talking about), or LEDs.

      That said, while CFLs contain a little bit of mercury, so do many thermometers, so do many fish. And the mercury risk from these bulbs is minimal compared to their energy savings (and the mercury that doesn’t comes from coal power plants).. if they replace traditional incandescent light bulbs.

    • Peter Gray

      Sorry to be rude, but what a stunningly ignorant comment! As Zachary noted, CFLs contain a little mercury. About 5 milligrams/bulb. That could add up to a few pounds if all CFLs were tossed into the street, but in fact there are educational campaigns and recycling programs all over the place, that are quite successful. Non-properly disposed bulbs end up in landfills, that these days are fairly well contained. Meanwhile, the avoided coal combustion from each 75W-equivalent CFL reduces mercury emissions by 10 mg. Powerplant mercury goes straight into the air and the oceans. Lots of people know about this – just not you, Lightsmith.
      There is no “shortage” of tungsten. You can buy all of it you want, just at a price up to 10 times higher than the low points of a decade ago. But a 60W incandescent contains 20 milligrams of tungsten, about $0.001/bulb, at the very highest prices ever.
      So yeah, this year’s high tungsten prices, that have added a tenth of a cent to the mfg. cost of a bulb, must be what drove this nasty industry conspiracy for CFL and LED R&D that began, what? Twenty years ago? 30?
      You might want to think before typing next time…

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