Well that certainly was a short lived victory. Just last Wednesday, we were celebrating the House of Representative’s rejection of the BULB Act, a bill that would put a stop to the light bulb efficiency standards signed into law by George W. Bush. But then just three days later, the House passed an amendment to that bill that prohibits spending to enforce the efficiency standards, essentially stopping them altogether. Many, including us, are completely baffled as to why the Republicans would want to stop a bill that will save Americans billions of dollars, but now it’s clear that they are doing this simply to play to their Tea Party supporters.
Republicans have pulled out all the stops in trying to end what most are calling a ban on incandescent light bulbs. While the standards do not actually ban all incandescent bulbs, they do require that all light bulbs be 30 percent more energy efficient than the standard 100-watt incandescent bulb. The standards would save Americans $12.5 billion a year in energy costs and allow more than a dozen coal burning plants to be shut down.
Republicans, lead by Rep. Michael Burgess (Texas) and Michele Bachmann (Minnesota), have been crusading against the 2007 Energy Act, which the light bulb efficiency standards are part of, pretty much since the get-go. Never mind the fact that it was President George W. Bush who signed the act into law. Bachmann even nicknamed the BULB Act the “The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act,” (the name for her original light bulb legislation in 2008) which can only be seen as an attempt to stir up dust about a ‘Big Government’ that wants to tell you which light bulb you must choose.
The energy efficiency standards have already been largely accepted by the lighting industry. Philips and GE are just a couple of companies that have created new bulbs, and others, like Lutron and even Google, are designing new technologies specifically for more energy-efficient light bulbs. There’s really no other reason for the Republicans’ actions besides politics. Given that the standards would save energy, save money, reduce pollution, cut carbon emissions, and create jobs, we can’t see any downside.
As our friends at Treehugger said, “This has nothing to do with common sense, and everything to do with ideological manipulation.” Or, if you prefer a more biting take on the House’s actions, head over to Think Progress Green, where they sum it up with a few kind words:
“In short, the House of Representatives is run by radical extremists with an Oil Above All agenda, willing to destroy any chance of a prosperous and healthy future for the United States of America just to serve their fossil-fuel paymasters.”