Environmental activists may suffer a major loss at the hands of an omnibus spending bill winding its way through Congress, as lawmakers look to defund new Energy Department standards for incandescent light bulbs.
The budget bill, drawn up to avert a federal government shutdown before Friday night, blocks new efficiency standards for light bulbs which would have rendered some classic light bulbs obsolete. A rider authored by House Republicans stops the measure originally passed in 2007 during George W. Bush's tenure in the White House, from taking effect.
There are just some issues that just grab the public's attention. This is one of them, said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., according to Politico. It's going to be dealt with in this legislation once and for all.
Tea Party activists and Republicans, notably Presidential candidate Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., have decried the measure as an example of Big Brother's intrusion into the average American's life.
President Bachmann will allow you to buy any light bulb you want, Bachmann said during a campaign stop this summer. The issue had become a common
Democrats and environmental activists have pushed for the new efficiency standards, which would in essence kill off classic 100 watt bulbs.
If America is to have a rational energy policy, we need to make progress in efficiency, said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. Blocking funds to enforce minimum standards works against our nation getting the full benefits of energy efficiency.
The measure included in the omnibus bill does not technically kill the new regulations so much as remove any teeth behind them by shortchanging the DOE. The 2007 law still stands, and many manufacturers have already transitioned to halogen bulbs in anticipation of the new regulations.
Still, some producers may use the regulatory loophole to continue to produce 100-watt bulbs.
According to Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, state attorneys general force companies to comply with the law.
Advocates of the switch to halogen bulbs claim though the savings are not immediate, they pay off the investment in electric bill savings over the long run.