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Friday, 15 July 2011 17:45

House Fails to Pass BULB Act

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On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act. Though the vote was 233-193, which normally would have been enough, the measure required a two-thirds majority for passage. While House Republicans may still try to adopt the measure by simple majority, most expect that it will not pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The BULB Act would repeal Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which ultimately bans incandescent light bulbs.

The Kansas City Star reports:

The original legislation, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, requires all new bulbs to use at least 27 percent less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs. It will go into effect next year and gradually phase out traditional 100-, 75-, 60- and 40-watt incandescent bulbs by 2014.

A second set of standards in 2020 will require most light bulbs to become 60 to 70 percent more efficient.

According to the BULB Act author, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the 2007 Energy Act is an example of government overreach:

The unanticipated consequence of the 07 act Washington-mandated layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession is one of many examples of what happens when politicians and activists think they know better than consumers and workers. From the health insurance youre allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to people who work for their own paychecks and earn their own living.

While supporters of the 2007 act claim it will save Americans billions in energy costs every year, opponents contend it is a threat to the free market and that the alternative bulbs are too expensive.

Representative Fred Upon, who helped co-sponsor the legislation in 2007, has changed his stance after pressure from House Republicans. He explains, It was never my goal for Washington to decide what type of light bulbs Americans should use.

Where House Republicans will go from here remains to be seen.

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