If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Friday, July 29, 2011

Michigan Repeal Bill Update 2

Rep. Tom McMillin, bill author, writing in The Michigan View today 29th July, excerpt, emphasis:

This ban on home-use incandescent bulbs poses three separate questions:

1) Does eliminating incandescent light bulbs solve our energy crisis?

2) What happens to American jobs once the ban goes into effect?

3) Should the federal government tell us how to light our homes?

a light bulb mandate will not solve our energy crisis.
Energy savings at the residential level from light bulb replacements would contribute fractionally to our energy footprint within our existing electricity generation and transmission systems - namely, our existing 50-year-old electric grid. To advocate CFL-like bulbs as the solution to our energy crisis is like applying new paint to a rusty car.

Furthermore, CFLs are known to contain mercury and require a multi-step cleanup process if they happen to break. Is this really something an environmentalist would want disposed into our ecosystem - or even within arm's reach of children?

the ban on traditional light bulbs ships American jobs overseas.
CFLs are heavier and much more expensive than our existing incandescent light bulbs. Literally, the higher cost - even domestic shipping - of these new bulbs gives the upper hand to foreign manufacturers. Because of the ban, the last major U.S. incandescent light bulb manufacturing plant closed in 2010 and 200 American jobs were lost.
Once American store shelves are filled with CFL's, they will be marked, "Made in China," not "Made in the USA."

this ban allows the long arm of the federal government into our homes.
Federal regulators have no business interfering with our choice of light bulbs.
Our founders built our nation upon the bedrock notion that individuals - not government - know how best to manage their lives. Michigan consumers deserve to exercise this freedom and our economy needs the boost that would come from exempting incandescent light bulb manufacturers in Michigan from the ban.

Jobs and increased business would then flock to our state.

While this particular matter concerns light bulbs, the larger quarrel is with our liberty.
It is our duty to stand up to the federal government and let them know when to get out of the way.
Now is one of those times.

There is further backing for these good points.
Taking each in turn:

1. RE energy consumption,
a fraction of 1% US energy savings, and only c.1% grid electricity savings from the lighting regulation, and mainly at off-peak times anyway, using DOE and other official data http://ceolas.net/#li171x
- as Rep McMillin implies, there are far more relevant savings obtainable from energy efficient electricity generation, grid distribution, and waste consumption, than banning the personal choice of safe-to-use products.

RE CFL mercury,
the issue is extensively covered here, with references

2. RE local/overseas jobs,
while it is true that manufacturing jobs have tended to go overseas anyway, regulations obviously speeded the demise - and in an era of increasing fuel and transport cost, and cost of minerals in CFL/LED manufacture, a back-to-basics simple local manufacture and the local jobs involved, would not necessarily have been lost in today's world either.

Moreover, any simple product (including invention of new simple lighting technology, otherwise likely banned by the regulations) is obviously easier for a local start-up company to make, than complex (and often patented) "green" technology.
This is of course also why profit-seeking competition-avoiding global executives love the regulations, and why shouldn't they, though it's rather oddly hand-in-hand with supposedly green non-global activists, activists normally supportive of local sustainability through locally easily made and transported simple safe products, activists who do most of the shouting on behalf of the global multinational executives. It's a funny world.

3. RE choice,
the pro-ban people keep saying "We are only making the bulbs more energy efficient",
choosing to forget that energy saving mandates affect product characteristics, whether it's cars, buildings, washing machines or light bulbs as exemplified for those and other products on http://ceolas.net/#cc21x.
Even if bulbs had to be targeted, stimulated market competition (right-wing policy) or taxation (left-wing policy) are both better ways to achieve energy efficiency, also keeping choice, regardless of political ideology (http://ceolas.net/#li23x).

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Previous update

Courtesy of this Michigan Capitol Confidential article of July 21 by Jack Spencer, the bill is due to be taken up by the House Energy and Technology Committee in the fall, probably in the first 5 weeks...and the prospects appear to be good for the bill:

“We're meeting this week in Lansing to plan out a schedule for after we return in the fall,” said Rep. Kenneth Horn, R-Frankenmuth, Chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee. “I expect to be taking it (the light bulb bill) up within the first five weeks.”

“We might have some hearings where we take testimony on it before then,” Horn added. “We'll be checking with the governor's office as we make our plans. Overall, I really don't see it taking up much time.”

The key to Horn's statement was probably the idea of checking with the governor's office. The strategy for moving the legislation could depend on whether or not Snyder supports the bill as it is currently drafted. If Snyder wants changes, a negotiation process could slow things down....

McMillin's bill is probably a “slam dunk” to pass in the Michigan House, and it's difficult to imagine it not passing in the Michigan Senate as well. It appears that Senate Energy and Technology Committee Chair Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, supports the bill in concept, which should help. What's more, the public outcry over the federal law would probably make it very difficult for lawmakers to oppose or postpone taking action.

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Original post June 27th

More states are waking up to the fact of the looming federal ban...

As informed by Rep. Tom McMillin and the Right Michigan organization,
he has launched a bulb ban repeal bill in the Michigan House of Representatives with 27 early co-sponsors, although as yet unreported either by news media or Michigan Legislature press releases.

Bill extract:

The legislature finds all of the following:

(a) An incandescent lightbulb that is manufactured in this
state without the inclusion of parts, other than generic or
insignificant parts, imported from outside of this state and that
remains within this state has not entered into interstate commerce
and is not subject to congressional authority to regulate
interstate commerce.

(b) Basic materials, such as unmachined and unshaped steel and
glass, are not incandescent lightbulbs and are not subject to
congressional authority to regulate incandescent lightbulbs in
interstate commerce in as if the basic materials were actually
incandescent lightbulbs.

(c) Congressional authority to regulate interstate commerce in
basic materials does not include authority to regulate incandescent
lightbulbs manufactured in this state from those basic materials.

There are as seen issues of Federal v State regulation:
It played a part in the earlier veto by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer of their bill, but subsequent bills in different states have taken that aboard, and been phrased accordingly, at least in some cases after communication with the Attorney General's office.

News of the passing of the Texas bill into law was posted earlier.
Updates on other bills here (http://ceolas.net/#li01inx).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow are we really trying to figure out if creating more jobs by manufacturing our own light buld is in question. Who the hell is incharge of this moronic choice