this is a copy of a post I made earlier somewhere else…………and with the response from my Representative, Mike Ross.
Congress flips dimmer switch on light bulb law
By MATTHEW DALY | AP – Fri, Dec 16, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress are flipping the dimmer switch on a law that sets new energy-savings standards for light bulbs.
They’ve reached a deal to delay until October enforcement of standards that some fear will bring about the end of old-style 100-watt bulbs. GOP lawmakers say they’re trying to head off more government interference in people’s lives.
But environmentalists and the light bulb industry say the move is not too bright.
Language postponing enforcement of the light bulb law — it was set to take effect Jan. 1 — was included in a massive spending bill that funds the government through September. The House passed the measure on Friday, with approval expected Saturday in the Senate.
Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the light bulb delay shows Congress is listening to the American people.
“We heard the message loud and clear,” said Upton, R-Mich. “Americans don’t want government standards determining how they light their homes.”
Upton said he was not opposed to the more efficient — and expensive— curlicue fluorescents that have become increasingly familiar in recent years. But he said government should not penalize those who prefer traditional, incandescent bulbs.
“New lighting options are great news for the public, but the lesson is that markets and consumer demand are the best drivers of innovation and new choices,” Upton said.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the move would have little practical consequence, since it does not affect a 2007 law that requires manufacturers to produce or import more efficient bulbs. The five largest light bulb manufacturers have already switched to making and selling the more efficient bulbs, Bingaman said, so the enforcement delay only serves to confuse the public.
“Blocking funds to enforce minimum standards works against our nation getting the full benefits of energy efficiency,” said Bingaman, D-N.M., a key sponsor of the 2007 law, which was signed by President George W. Bush.
A group representing light bulb manufacturers spoke out against the delay, which applies only to 100-watt bulbs. Tighter standards for 75-watt bulbs take effect in 2013, and lower wattage bulbs must be more efficient by 2014.
“American manufacturers have invested millions of dollars in energy-efficient light bulbs,” said Joseph Higbee, a spokesman for the National Electric Manufacturers Association, which represents 95 percent U.S. light bulb makers.
Delaying enforcement of the standards “undermines those investments and creates regulatory uncertainty and consumer confusion,” he said, adding that a lack of federal enforcement “allows bad actors to sell noncompliant products” to consumers who may be unable to tell the difference between an energy-efficient bulb and one that isn’t.
The new law blocks the Energy Department from enforcing efficiency standards, but it does not prevent states from enforcing their own standards.
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, called the light-bulb provision “an early Christmas present for all Americans” and said it strikes a blow against expensive fluorescents that he said are not as reliable as the old-style incandescents that have changed little since Thomas Edison’s day.
“This means Americans can continue to flip the switch on an affordable and reliable product, instead of turning to one that costs five times more and may not live up to manufacturers’ promises,” said Barton, a former House Energy chairman who opposed the 2007 law and has worked to overturn it ever since.
Jim Presswood, federal energy policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, called the GOP-backed delay dimwitted.
“It’s just a completely ridiculous move by Congress,” Presswood said. “It undermines the ability of the Energy Department to enforce standards that are going to give consumers tremendous savings as well as reduce pollution.”
Follow Matthew Daly’s energy coverage at http://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC
I had heard about this regulation and finally took the time to check into it. Needless to say I was not the happiest of campers to read it. It actually spurred me to action and I wrote my Congressman for the first time.
Dear Mr Ross:
I was just reading where the Light Bulb Law was extended to October and I want to encourage you and other lawmakers to please stop this regulation from ever taking effect.
The so-called curlicue or pigtail light bulb maybe or may not be more efficient or last longer, but my concern is cost. I can afford a 4 pack of bulbs for about $1 but I cannot afford 1 light bulb for $3 when I need light. The new ones also are not as bright and therefore I, for one, cannot see as well.
The new ones are mainly made overseas, losing jobs to Americans when we need to be stimulating the economy and making jobs here. Instead this will cause yet more layoffs and more unemployed persons.
My biggest concerns are the materials in the new ‘efficient’ light bulbs. Children, adults and pets do not need to be exposed to mercury. We have bans on eating fish from certain fish in the State of Arkansas because of mercury content in the water, and yet we are being forced by intrusive government to put mercury filled light bulbs that can (and you know will) break, releasing toxins into our homes. What happens when the first baby gets ill from mercury due to a poor clean up job after a break? I see lawsuits clogging up our already slow system. And who cleans up mercury spills? Hazmat teams? Can the average American afford that?
The only reason this is an issue is because someone out there wants to make a large profit by making everyone buy these light bulbs. They have been on the market for years and those that truly want them are buying them, and those that cannot afford them or do not like their poor lighting qualities or their look or whatever should not be forced to buy them.
Meanwhile…I think I will need to start stockpiling regular incandescent light bulbs and/or candles. One because I like the lights better and two because I’m tired of being forced to do things in our free society.
So I ask you to please stand up for us Arkansans and stop this ridiculous regulation.
Am I the only one that is tired of the government forcing us to do things, buy things, etc just to justify their pocketbook? They are probably all waiting for the stock prices to jump and fall due to this change in October–and are only upset because they will have to wait 10 more months for that to happen.
Do we really want foreign made light bulbs that cost 3-4 times more than American made bulbs? Do we want light bulbs that can break and spread mercury into our homes, posing a danger to adults and children and pets?
Why is this even an issue? Sell both bulbs. Let everyone choose which light they want. So what if I have to change my bulbs more often, it should be my choice. And as for pollution or whatever else the government wants to throw up in our face as to why we need to fire hundreds of people and increase our unemployment, we need to remember that where ever the new mercury filled bulbs are made is also polluting the earth, it’s just not in our borders.
Contact your Congressmen and Senators. Maybe they will hear our voices. And remember, their employment contracts are due for renewal in November. VOTE!
and here is Mike Ross’s response:
Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-140) into law on December 19, 2007, which set new performance standards for many common light bulbs. The legislation requires a 25-30 percent increase in the energy efficiency of typical light bulbs beginning in 2012 and greater improvements are required starting in 2020.
I truly appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this issue with me. Despite the many rumors, there is no current or future ban on incandescent bulbs. The law simply states that incandescent bulbs should be 30 percent more energy efficient beginning in 2012. It does not require consumers to purchase any specific type of bulb, nor does it ban any type of light bulb.
I support increased energy efficiency that will save families and businesses money by lowering their energy bills. The efficiency standards also help reduce the strain on our nation’s electrical grid preventing blackouts and brownouts, especially during summer months when energy demand is at its strongest.
The incandescent light bulb is not only not banned, it has been improved and is now more energy efficient than ever. Most importantly, the incandescent light bulb will remain available to American consumers for years to come.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.
I wish he had used my name, but at least he or one of his staff members took the time to answer. More than I expected. But at least my voice was heard.