GOP wins battle of the bulb

December 26, 2011 By Russell McLendon

Congress has dodged a government shutdown, agreeing to a $1 trillion spending bill that features a variety of rare compromises. Both Democrats and Republicans won some concessions, and it's too early to say who came out on top. But there's one issue where the GOP seems to have won lights-out: the battle of the bulb.

House Republicans have become livid in recent months about the Energy Department's updated efficiency rules for light bulbs, which were signed by President George W. Bush in 2007 and scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. The standards are meant to help the U.S. use less electricity, requiring that traditional become 30 percent more energy-efficient by 2012.

But under the new omnibus spending bill, Republicans have blocked the standards by prohibiting the from using federal funds to implement them. The rules technically can still take effect next month, but the GOP rider will prevent the U.S. from enforcing them through Sept. 30, Politico reports.

Critics have cast the standards as a "light bulb ban," suggesting they would outlaw incandescent bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs. But supporters point out that no specific type of bulb would be outlawed; incandescent bulbs could still be sold under the new rules, as long as they're 30 percent more efficient than older models. CFLs and other energy-efficient bulbs are costlier to buy up-front, but they save money in the long run: A typical CFL saves $30 over its lifespan, according to the U.S. , and pays for itself in about six months.

CFLs do contain small amounts of mercury, but it's only a risk if the bulb breaks. This can make recycling CFLs difficult, although proponents point out that release mercury directly into the environment. Since traditional bulbs need more electricity, they argue, CFLs actually have a smaller "mercury footprint."

The pushback against the efficiency rules was led by conservative talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, as well as by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who's running for president. ("President Bachmann will allow you to buy any light bulb you want," she said earlier this year.) And while Republicans have recently abandoned several other environmental riders in the spirit of progress - including major cuts to the EPA - many felt too strongly about the light-bulb issue to simply let it go.

"Speaker (John) Boehner to Chairman (Fred) Upton to Chairman (Hal) Rogers, they all strongly support keeping it in," says Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2007 when the energy law was approved. "And it's a personal commitment because of their philosophy."

According to Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., the GOP bulb block is "just another poke in the eye." Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., attributes it to "the power of Michele Bachmann and the presidential campaign." And on Twitter, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., wrote, "I strongly oppose that language. I hope it's deleted from any final bill that we pass."

A spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, however, says the GOP's anti-efficiency provision remains in the final version of the bill. "There is no change in this language from the version that was posted last night," she tells the Hill.

On Dec. 15, some lawmakers from both sides of the aisle expressed exhaustion, even apathy, about the measure. "Is it a must-have for me? No," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. "That was not something that I got focused on or took up as an initiative." As Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., groused, "It's not even worth talking about. It's something that can always be worked out."

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ryggesogn2
Dec 26, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Howhot
2.6 / 5 (13) Dec 26, 2011
California WINS! attributed to "the power of Michele Bachmann"
Howhot
3 / 5 (14) Dec 26, 2011
An example of NO CREDIBILITY:
the pushback against the efficiency rules was led by conservative talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh


VD, just give us some time. We are working on the credibility issue of our political spokespeople(s) at this very moment.
barakn
3.4 / 5 (15) Dec 26, 2011
The impending regulation forced light bulb manufacturers to invent a better incandescent bulb. They now have a 72 watt bulb that gives off the same light as an old 100 watt, and none of them at this point wanted Congress to repeal the ban on 100 watt incandescents. Many of them are not going to manufacture them. So here we have a regulation that was not even enforced but still did some permanent good. It didn't reduce anyone's choice (you can still purchase a super-bright incandescent), and since it's going to reduce electrical bills, in some sense it has given consumers more choice - to choose what to do with the money they saved. I think it's awesome the Republicans blocked this. It shows just how antiquated and reactionary they are. Oh, and ryggesogn2, get a clue. http://www.npr.or...ss-stall
Howhot
2.9 / 5 (15) Dec 26, 2011
I think it's awesome the Republicans blocked this. It shows just how antiquated and reactionary they are.


I'll SECOND IT.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (17) Dec 26, 2011
They now have a 72 watt bulb that gives off the same light as an old 100 watt,

What's new? It's a quartz-halogen lamp the gets VERY hot.

"CFLs do contain small amounts of mercury, but it's only a risk if the bulb breaks."

"Most mercury spilled in the home is
from broken thermometers. Clean up
spilled mercury as soon as possible so
family members are not exposed to
airborne mercury,"
{And now CFLs}
"Cleanup of broken fluorescent and HID lamps
If the lamp has just been broken, quickly open a
window or exterior door and leave the area for 15 to
20 minutes.
Follow mercury cleanup instructions for the type of
surface to be cleaned.
Label the container Mercury Waste: Hazardous."
http://www.mnpois...ov03.pdf
la7dfa
3 / 5 (12) Dec 26, 2011
I have replaced all my bulbs with energy saving type.
Its saving about 70-80% energy, and the lighting is very decent.

Smart people dont use GOP as a guideline to the future :P
barakn
3.4 / 5 (15) Dec 26, 2011
Ryg- since it's in the same form-factor as any other incandescent bulb and uses less energy to produce the same amount of light, it is physically impossible for the bulb to be hotter than the old 100 watter. Vendicar is right, you can't open your mouth without lying.
CapitalismPrevails
2.3 / 5 (25) Dec 26, 2011
With all the GOP smearing, I can tell most people on Physorg have no confidence in the individual to do what's best. NOPE, there's no way self-interest can inadvertently lead to better prosperity for masses. This mercury laden CFL mandate is absolutely devoid of economic understanding. If incandescent light bulbs are banned then people will just order them from outside the country or in the black market if there is enough demand.

CapitalismPrevails
2.3 / 5 (24) Dec 26, 2011
CFLs and other energy-efficient bulbs are costlier to buy up-front, but they save money in the long run: A typical CFL saves $30 over its lifespan, according to the U.S. Energy Star program, and pays for itself in about six months.

What they conveniently leave out is they can't be turned on and off as much as incandescents. Meaning they are going to be a lot more inconvenient. Secondly, they're full of mercury. Third, they also don't emit as much ambient light as incandescents. This article is slanted....
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (19) Dec 27, 2011
'Normal' W lamp:

"At the center of the lamp is a tungsten filament. Electricity heats this filament up to about 4,500 degrees F (2,500 degrees Celsius). Just like any hot metal, the tungsten gets "white hot" at that heat and emits a great deal of visible light in a process called incandescence. "

Quartz-halogen W lamp:
"In addition, it is now possible to run the filament hotter, meaning you get more light per unit of energy. You still get a lot of heat, though; and because the quartz envelope is so close to the filament, it is extremely hot compared to a normal light bulb.­­"
http://home.howst...n151.htm
W-Halogen: 3300K
W: 2700K
A quartz envelope is required because the filament would melt the glass.

ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (21) Dec 27, 2011
Of course the EPA, or other socialists here, don't consider is the consumers' color temperature preferences. Gas lamps emit in a narrow spectrum. Florescent emit in the UV which is converted by coatings to narrow visible spectral lines which appear in various colors. Some like the traditional blue while others like other color temps. (Na lamps are the typical yellow street lamps.)
Incandescent I think are preferred by many as they more closely match the sun's broad spectrum.
But 'our elite betters' know what is best for the ignorant masses.
brianweymes
2.4 / 5 (14) Dec 27, 2011
The GOP, especially tea partiers like Michelle Bachman, is becoming the party of ignorance. This is a shame because this wasn't always the case. But now they reject evolution, they reject climate change, they reject stem cell research, most green technology or indeed any technological advancement if it doesn't fit their 19th century ideology.
dan42day
3 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2011
CFL's can't be dimmed like incandescents. While dimming (reducing the voltage) makes incandescents even less efficient, overall energy is saved since I rarely run my lights above half their wattage rating. This also improves their lifespan.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (22) Dec 27, 2011
The current democrat/'progressive'/socialist regime in the USA and around is quite ignorant of economics.
The 'progressives' believe they can force people to buy expensive electric cars (Volt). They believe if they give taxpayers money to solar companies they will magically replace oil and coal.
But when the socialists fail, they try to cover it up and lay blame on the ignorant masses who won't buy the crap they try to sell.
There are centuries of data supporting the failure of govt supported 'winners'.
Ignoring this data is either stupidity, or an overt attempt at tyranny. Given socialist history of coercion and murder, the latter is most likely.
Howhot
3.9 / 5 (14) Dec 27, 2011
R2 says
The current democrat/'progressive'/socialist regime in the USA and around is quite ignorant of economics.


You are soooo full of loose marbles R2. You must have done some serious drugs to swallow the anti-AGW and anti-environmental position you take. You sound like a the soup natzee "Your a socialist, that technology is too good for you, no technology"

There is nothing "socialist" about it, your just an ass.

DGBEACH
5 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2011
Personally, I can't stand the light given off by CFLs, I'd take a soft LED lamp over CFL anyday! That being said, I DO think we should have a choice as to which bulbs we can buy. A tax rebate for CFL/alternate-lighting should have been considered instead.
Here in Quebec our electricity supplier, Hydro Quebec, has had a rebate program for switching out your home's thermostats for electronic ones for many years, whereby they give you up to $10/thermostat you purchase. In the end they paid for themselves the first year in savings. Programs like these give tangible results.
Skepticus_Rex
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2011
CFL's can't be dimmed like incandescents.


Actually, I have four dimmable CFLs in my ceiling fan fixture. I hate them because they take a while to reach full brightness after startup but they also have a 13-year warranty. Looking forward to replacing them with LEDs in the very near future, however. Brightness has been an issue but the technology is almost there.

So far as the rest of the article goes, I have already replaced all incandescent lights except the ones in the conventional oven and the microwave oven. Those cannot be replaced with anything other than incandescent lighting, unfortunately.
Callippo
1.7 / 5 (9) Dec 27, 2011
CFL's need many rare metal elements, which China banned for export recently. It could escalate their price even more. The energetic effectiveness of CFL's depends on their time of usage, because the production of CFL requires more energy, than the traditional incandescent bulbs. Until effective LED's will not be developed, with perspective of cold fusion I'd vote for halogen lamps, because the supplies of rare earth metals are limited.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (18) Dec 27, 2011
R2 says
The current democrat/'progressive'/socialist regime in the USA and around is quite ignorant of economics.


You are soooo full of loose marbles R2. You must have done some serious drugs to swallow the anti-AGW and anti-environmental position you take. You sound like a the soup natzee "Your a socialist, that technology is too good for you, no technology"

There is nothing "socialist" about it, your just an ass.


Ever hear of 'central planning'? It is the basis of socialism. The state makes all decisions about what to produce. The govt, (EPA) decided conventional, 100 Watt light bulbs could no longer be sold in the USA.
Current central plans of various socialist govt around the world have bankrupted these govts: Greece, Spain, EU, USA, ....
Obamacare is just one more example of socialist central planning. Medicare, another failed example of central planning.
Shelgeyr
1.8 / 5 (13) Dec 27, 2011
Interesting related news article:
"Fire hazard fears over compact fluorescent lamps - after they've stopped working"
http://www.dailym...mps.html

FTA:
The lamps (CFLs) use electricity to heat an element in the lamps base that leads the mercury vapor gas in the coils to emit light.

But when a CFL can no longer produce light, the electronics in its base will still try to function, sometimes leading to overheating, smoke and fire.

Fires from the old incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, are virtually nonexistent, masslive.com reports.


In a sane world, if any bulb were banned it would be the CFLs, not the incandescents.
lighthouse10
5 / 5 (2) Dec 27, 2011
The 2012 sale of regular 100W incandescents was never banned.
Only the manufacture and import.
Since stores are/were stocking up, it will not change things for consumers short term

But the amendment does mean Congressmen are forced to look again at the whole issue, in the fall of election year 2012.
lighthouse10
2 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2011
Long term is a different story:
incandescent technology for ordinary lamps, including touted halogen replacements,
will effectively be banned according to the present legislation,
on the mandated 45 lumen per Watt end regulation standard, as described:
Explanation of light bulb regulations,
official links, and updates on the 7 US local state repeal bills (legislated Texas)
http://ceolas.net/#li01inx
.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (20) Dec 27, 2011
The 2012 sale of regular 100W incandescents was never banned.
Only the manufacture and import.

Stupid is as stupid does.
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck.
If it looks like a ban, acts like a ban, it is a ban.
lighthouse10
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 27, 2011
ryggesogn

I definitely agree..the ban is wrong!
just that the sale (in 2012) was not actually banned.
unfortunately, on future "backstop" regulation, the sale will be banned too..

See http://ceolas.net/#li23x on why stimulation of Competition, and even Taxation (for liberals), is better than light bulb regulation - also to save energy...
Xbw
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 27, 2011
I bought a few of those "Runs as bright as a 100 watt bulb!" lights and plugged them in. Not only were they huge and ugly but they gave light closer to that of a 10 watt bulb. I still haven't seen any power saving bulbs that compare to the 100 watt natural light ones. When you find one, give me a call.
Howhot
3.7 / 5 (9) Dec 28, 2011
Yeah, well CFLs do reduce the energy consumption of average consumers and that makes for less Co2... Thanks Xnw.
bhiestand
4.6 / 5 (11) Dec 28, 2011
I think most of the commenters are missing or ignoring a few points, so let me pull them out from the article:

1. Bush signed these regulations in 2007. Republicans have since decided this is an issue they can beat Democrats up over, but the blame is with their own party.

2. Incandescents weren't banned and will continue to be available either way. There are plenty leftover in this country, and many of us have been trying to give them away as we switch to more efficient lighting. Personally, I had to throw about 10 incandescents away because I couldn't find anyone who wanted mine and I got sick of storing them.

3. Efficiency regulations are not "socialism" or "communism". Private manufacturers continue to produce as much or little of anything else as they wish, and these particular standards were easy to meet with a more efficient incandescent design. It's government interference in a market, but that's not, in and of itself, socialism. I'm sure readers here know the difference
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (15) Dec 29, 2011
Efficiency regulations are not "socialism" or "communism".

They are if required by law.
If the govt forces all cars to get 100mpg, well they are not banning cars per se, but they create an impossible 'standard'.
Socialism is as socialism does, control private property.
It's government interference in a market, but that's not, in and of itself, socialism.

Yes, is. Read all about it in The Law by Bastiat, and The Road to Serfdom by Hayek.
bhiestand
4.6 / 5 (11) Dec 29, 2011
No, they're really not. Read any textbook from an introduction to political science course. Or read Marx and see how the current American system compares to his proposals. Does the government own the means of production? Does the government directly control production and distribution of resources? The answer to both is "no". Additionally, these regulations have nothing to do with wealth redistribution.

You may not like them because they interfere with your ideal free market, but that is not "socialism".

Of course, most countries now have mixed economies, with elements of socialism, but I think it's pretty unfair to Marx to say that his lifelong goal was the regulation of lightbulb efficiency.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (17) Dec 29, 2011
Read any textbook from an introduction to political science course

Written by socialist sympathists no doubt.

Read 'Socialism' by von Mises and you will see that govt control of private property IS socialism.

Attempts at regulating light bulb efficiency is a great socialist example of central planning.
And, it is redistributionist. The law redistributes income from low cost producers of commodity light bulbs to larger companies, like GE and Philips, who have invested heavily into CFLs and LEDs that people don't want.
Govt IS controlling the means of production with such standards and import tariffs and bans.

"The lighting industry largely backed a 2007 move to phase out incandescent light bulbs. But amid a consumer and political backlash, that support seems far more tepid now."
"General Electric (GE) and Royal Philips Electronics (PHG), two of the biggest light bulb producers, helped Congress develop the de facto incandescent ban." IBD.
ryggesogn2
1.1 / 5 (15) Dec 29, 2011
No income redistribution?
"But Myron Ebell, president of the libertarian Freedom Action, replied, "The whole point was to twist government rules so light bulb makers will be guaranteed a much bigger profit. They can't make much money selling bulbs at 25 or 50 cents a pop. They can make money on bulbs that cost $2, $3 or even $25.""
http://news.inves...port.htm

"Holger Krahmer, for example, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany's business-friendly FDP party has accused the EU of imposing 'light bulb socialism.""
http://www.spiege...,00.html
FrankHerbert
2.9 / 5 (15) Dec 29, 2011
CFLs do contain small amounts of mercury, but it's only a risk if the bulb breaks. This can make recycling CFLs difficult, although proponents point out that coal-fired power plants release mercury directly into the environment. Since traditional bulbs need more electricity, they argue, CFLs actually have a smaller "mercury footprint."


Why do 'conservatives' support mass mercury poisoning?
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (15) Dec 29, 2011
"General Electric has been making compact fluorescents for 20 years. Now the company admits that the little bit of mercury in each bulbs could become a real problem if sales balloon as expected. "
http://www.npr.or...=7431198
Dose makes the poison.
Now an incandescent bulb may, MAY result in the emission of 10 mg of Hg from a coal fired power plant. A CFL would emit 2.4 mg. But a CFL would release ~4 mg of Hg if broken creating a greater local risk.
FrankHerbert
2.8 / 5 (16) Dec 29, 2011
So 'conservative' hypocrites support poisoning their neighbors with mercury, just not themselves? Sounds like NIMBY to me. Do you feel that way about nuclear power?
FrankHerbert
2.7 / 5 (14) Dec 29, 2011
So 'conservative' hypocrites support poisoning their neighbors with mercury, just not themselves? Sounds like NIMBY to me.

________
I double posted accidentally trying to alter my previous post. I realized I asked two questions and that's usually too much for Marjon to handle. I wanted to keep it simple for him.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Dec 29, 2011
If a CFL breaks in your home it releases 1.4 million times more Hg in one second than an incandescent bulb releases in one second.
MorituriMax
2 / 5 (9) Dec 29, 2011
Ahahahaha... God Americans are such Moronic Fools.

It is long past time to snuff that worthless nation.
If you weren't such a waste of sperm and a blowhard, people might actually take exception to that. As it is, just stop dribbling on your keyboard, clean your diapers and try to stay out of the way of the adults. (pats vendicars head, there there little wookums)
kochevnik
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 31, 2011
Read any textbook from an introduction to political science course
Written by socialist sympathists no doubt.
Yes socialists use trigger words like 'read.' The Trigger Phrase is a post-hypnotic suggestion. It can activate a Deep Cover Agent or Manchurian Agent, so hidden that the person may not even know they are an agent. The phrase can practically be anything, even a piece of music. It's like a Brown Note specifically programmed into an individual. The Trigger Phrase may also be used to activate latent physical prowess: A Berserk Button that not even the victims themselves know about, used when situations are about to get dangerous.

They are plotting to steal all your incandescent lamps. They have utter disregard for private electric property, a core human right more important than health, education or life itself! Truly fiendish these CFL socialists!
Howhot
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 01, 2012
Ahh VD dude, I'm on your side, but the game is kind of fun. The bun heads, the anti-global-warming types, they are the scuzzz of the environmental debate.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) Jan 01, 2012
Koch, socialism as socialism does: central planning.
Do Fascists attempt to control their economy? Yes.
Do socialists attempt to control their economy? Yes.
How do they achieve such control? Limiting or eliminating private property rights, aka coercion.
Koch has lived in such a coercive world so long he must not know any difference.

Hottie claims to be a scientist. Has Frankie or SH every tried to 'out' Hottie? Try to prove his claims? Has Hottie posted a list of publications?
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (13) Jan 02, 2012
Correction: Koch, socialism IS as socialism does: central planning.
Do Fascists attempt to control their economy? Yes.
Do socialists attempt to control their economy? Yes.
How do they achieve such control? Limiting or eliminating private property rights, aka coercion.
Koch has lived in such a coercive world so long he must not know any difference.

Hottie claims to be a scientist. Has Frankie or SH every tried to 'out' Hottie? Try to prove his claims? Has Hottie posted a list of publications?

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