Congress Debates–Yes–Light Bulbs; the Agrugents For; the Reasons Against

By Mihir Zaveri, The Oregonian
Published July 27, 2011

Even the light bulb has become political.

The U.S. House Republicans urged passage of a measure to block a phase-out of traditional light bulbs on Monday (Incandescent bulbs defended by Republicans over Obama opposition: Bloomberg), as the Obama administration called the bill anti-consumer.

The legislation, debated on the House floor yesterday and may be voted on this week, would cost Americans $6 billion in energy savings in 2015, the White House said in a statement yesterday.

The Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, which would eliminate a 2007 energy bill requirement that incandescent light bulbs be more energy efficient, renewing the debate on incandescent versus fluorescent light bulbs.

Those backing the new standards say the mercury risk is negligible and say new incandescent and LED bulbs contain no mercury.

The Obama administration, in a statement released Monday, said it opposes the bill because it would repeal standards that are driving U.S. innovation, creating new manufacturing jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s what others are saying about the politics of the debate — and the energy savings.

House to Vote on Light-bulb Repeal (NY Times)

The House is expected to vote as early as Monday night on a measure to repeal efficiency standards for light bulbs that are scheduled to take effect at the beginning of next year. Pledge of allegiance: Edison’s original patented bulb. Bloomberg NewsPledge of allegiance: Edison’s original incandescent bulb.

The Republican-sponsored repeal bill, H.R. 2417, would undo part of a 2007 energy bill that passed with broad Republican support and was signed into law by former President George W. Bush.

Repeal of the Light Bulb Ban Under the Spotlight (Heritage Network)

The bottom line is the market is far better equipped to meet all the demands of consumers–including energy savings. The government should not stand in the way with its “we know best” mentality.”

Environmental Release of Mercury from Broken Compact Fluorescent Lamps (Environmental Engineering Science)

Hg vapor emission test revealed that the CFLs continuously release Hg vapor once broken and the release can last over 10 weeks.

The facts on compact fluorescent lightbulbs (ConsumerReports.org)

Each bulb has a tiny fraction of the mercury in a traditional fever thermometer. Energy Star CFLs require 5 milligrams or less for bulbs that use less than 25 watts.