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

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bright Burgess Bulb Bill Block... part 2

From The Hill news site, 7th May article, by Andrew Restuccia - summary of main points

Republican to revive lightbulb war

A House Republican is planning in the coming weeks to revive the GOP offensive against federal lightbulb efficiency standards.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) will offer an amendment to Energy Department spending legislation that would block funding for implementation of standards, the lawmaker's office told The Hill.
The standards have come under fire from conservatives in recent years.

Republicans won the inclusion of a similar provision in an omnibus spending compromise that House and Senate lawmakers agreed to in December. The provision blocked funding for implementation of the law for fiscal year 2012. Burgess’ amendment would apply to fiscal year 2013.
The House Appropriations committee approved the Energy Department’s fiscal 2013 spending bill late last month. The legislation is expected to come up for a floor vote in the coming weeks.

The previous similar amendment was covered here in an earlier July 2011 post, extract:

On the 15th of July, the 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.

Bill content and progress (Govtrack link)


There are a number of predictable online responses to this announcement,
as indeed towards any other politician opposing the light bulb regulations.

I'll take the first one pretty well as on the newly updated "Deception" page rundown

"Hey, the Economy is still in deep trouble, and Republicans worry about Light Bulbs?!"

Oddly, a lot of such critics supported the regulations in the first place - why, if the bulbs are irrelevant as an issue? ;-)

In any case, since people spend half their lives under artifical lights, one could say that such regulation affects them more than most other regulations, also given the psychological and well-being effects of lighting.

But there is also the deeper issue of regulating well known safe to use products, however good the motive. Light bulbs are in the vanguard of a new wave of worldwide product regulations, whether based on energy usage or otherwise.

It also throws up the bigger question, as covered on the Ceolas.net site, about relevant resource management and about questionable "feelgood" sacrifices to "save the planet", rather than to actually deal with any underlying problems.

Finally - and ironically - those (generally on the left) who make such criticism and keep saying the economy matters more, are the very ones ignoring that with bans they get nothing, whereas with a tax on around 2 Billion annual sold relevant bulbs (in the US, as in pre-ban EU), they get plenty for their public spending, which in price-lowering subsidies on alternative lighting would not "just hit people with taxes" either - albeit that market competition is a better policy.

"Typical of Un-Progressive Republicans to want to hang on to Horse and Buggy technology, rather than to support Innovation!"

....or strange of "liberal" politicians to uncritically support capitalists pushing more profitable expensive questionably safe bulbs on Joe Public for marginal if any society savings, light bulbs he would not voluntarily buy, or the ban, and/or the big bulb subsidies, would not be "necessary"...

As said before, unfortunately and unnecessarily this is a partisan issue in the USA,
since the regulations are irrelevant whatever the background ideology one chooses to apply.
Still, going with the typical comments that are around, like this "un-progressive" taunt...

The arguments are again covered on the "Deception" page, albeit split up into separate "obsolescence" and "innovation" sections.

None of "Horse and Buggy", or Model T cars, or Wright brother airplanes, or typewriters, or vacuum tubes, or candles or any other(!) examples that keep being offered online, had to be banned to serve progress.

Better, or more popular, alternatives came about through the presence - not the absence - of their competing presence (and in some cases, they still have useful niche roles).

Increased, not decreased, competition is what spurs innovation that people actually want to see: Rather than a bunch of bureaucrats deciding "what is best".

And there is No Free Lunch.
Not even for the Washington Bureaucrats!
Restricting energy usage on buildings, cars, washing machines, TV sets or light bulbs always alters their characteristics: in construction, appearance, usability and/or performance as well as price, http://ceolas.net/#cc21x

That is not all.
The standards must be set so that such products already exist.
Otherwise, with light bulbs, people might literally be left in the dark.
Halogens, CFLs, LEDs - all invented before any ban.

New inventions - energy saving or with other advantages - can always be helped to the market, though not continually supported.
On the contrary, the innovations are proven as desirable, in direct comparison and direct competition on the market place.

Stimulation of free market competition happens to be the best option also to lower energy consumption all the way along the energy usage chain, for reasons described.

"How many Times do we have to Keep Saying that this is not a Ban!"

... and how many times does one have to ask the naysayers to read the Act? ;-)
See the previous post: "Yes it is a ban"

It is not just a ban because obviously something "not allowed" or "phased out" is also "banned"... but it is also a ban on incandescents for ordinary use, that is, including the continually mentioned halogen type replacements (which incidentally also have differences to regular incandescents).

The 2007 EISA law phase 2 beginning after 2014 has 45 lumen per Watt end regulation which therefore also bans the touted 2012 72W halogen and other replacements (typically 20-22 lumen per Watt).

Relevant links, passages, and updates on Congress and local state repeal ban bills to date: http://ceolas.net/#li01inx


steven mccullough said...

If innovation is only possible thru
Washington lawmakers decisions,
how did we get all the inventions so far without them? :-)

Anonymous said...

on effects of lighting UV light and radiation and mercury from new bulbs, not surprising not so many bought