Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Bright Burgess Bulb Coup
amendment AO75 (H.Amdt. 678) by Rep. Michael Burgess to Energy Bill H.R.2354 of July 14 2011, was successfully passed in a vote on the floor of the House.
The amendment cuts the funds needed next year to implement and monitor American federal light bulb regulation starting January 2012, which would have seen regular 100 Watt bulbs removed from sale. It is therefore temporary in nature, and does not permanently set back the lighting regulations.
The Energy Bill now passes to the Senate:
Bill content and progress (Govtrack link)
Following the earlier reported failure to achieve a 2/3 majority in the House,
and rather than seek a simple majority to pass a bill to the Senate unlikely to get sufficient backing (or to be signed by President Obama):
Rep. Michael Burgess, who had earlier introduced his own specific bill regarding mercury-containing lamps and also collaborated with Rep. Burton on the repeal bill, took the interesting step of seeking to amend the H.R.2354 2012 Water and Energy Appropriations Bill instead. This bill finances subsidies wanted also by Democrats, albeit with cuts in these Budget-conscious times, so that such a bill is more likely to pass in the Senate.
Moreover, if the Senate starts tinkering with the small part relating to light bulbs, it lays them open to the same criticism previously levelled at those looking for a repeal of the ban, namely of petty politics in the face of Bigger National Issues
(in context, one might say that it was the original decision to ban some light bulbs which was the petty decision, firstly because of the much more relevant alternative ways to save energy, if required, and secondly in the sense that most people spend at least half of their lives under artificial lighting, and might be allowed a say in the matter)
Taking a wider context,
in light of the current Budget difficulties in the USA, California, and other entities worldwide, their cash-strapped governments that ban Cars, Buildings and Electrical Products based on energy use should seriously consider the taxation alternative:
This would give a large direct Government income that also could help finance cheaper energy saving alternatives, so that consumers both keep choice and are not just hit by taxes.
As seen on the New Electric Politics companion site the need to target products based on energy use can seriously be questioned, and if so should first consider stimulated market competition, but taxation is still preferable to regulations - also for Governments who favor them today.
The issue is covered on that website, and will also be covered here in a following post.