Republicans in the House of Representatives – in the midst of attempting to raise the debt ceiling and balance our budget – have decided to take on what some are calling the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act”. Partially spearheaded by Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Republican candidate for President, the initiative is working to repeal the section of the 2007 Energy Act signed by George W. Bush that mandates energy efficiency standards for light bulbs starting next year. Voting on the decision, dubbed BULB, was supposed to happen yesterday but according to the House of Representatives’ minutes, it was postponed. Surely this came as sad news for Bachmann who has been crusading against this section of the Energy Act since 2008. Oh and did we mention that if Bachmann is unsuccessful and the section is left in place, it could save Americans $12.5 billion a year? Yeah.
Republicans call their new measure, H.R. 2417, the Better Use of a Light Bulb Act (BULB) — yes, that’s the real name — but Bachmann has her own pet name for the movement, the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act (the name for her original light bulb legislation in 2008). Republicans are specifically looking to repeal the part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which mandates that all light bulbs be 30% more efficient in 2012 and 60% more efficient in 2020. Estimates show that this provision within the Energy Act will save the average American household $90 per year, and allow the phase out of up to 30 large coal fired power plants and reduce emissions equivalent to taking 17 million cars off the road.
Nevermind that the Republicans are totally misrepresenting the restrictions put in place by the 2007 Energy Act — incandescent bulbs will not actually be phased out but rather subject to higher energy efficiency standards — they’ve decided this decision to help us save some dough and cut our harmful emissions is an infringement on our personal freedoms. Bachmann has personally called the light bulb efficiency mandate “a massive Big Brother intrusion into our homes and our lives.” She’s also pointed out to the people that, “Fluorescent bulbs are more polluting because of their mercury content. We are working on a light bulb bill. If the Democrats can hose up a light bulb, don’t trust them with the country.” While we’re at it let’s just take a note of her stance on the state of the environment – she’s noted that global warming is “voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.”
The sad part is this legislation has a fighting chance to be passed in the currently Republican-led House of Representatives. We’ll just have to wait until the bill is brought back in for a vote to see if Bachmann’s CFL-hating, energy consuming message has accomplished her “freedom-loving” goals. Let’s hope someone in that chamber has even the tiniest bit of sense to turn this momentum around.