Texas aglow with effort to save the incandescent bulb — Totseans

Texas aglow with effort to save the incandescent bulb

Darth BeaverDarth Beaver Meine Ehre heißt Treue
edited September 2011 in Spurious Generalities
This is not only a good move on the part of Texas to fight for states rights but if it stands up it will mean a boost to the Texas economy in light bulb production and sales.
Irritated with federal regulation, Republicans hope a state law will get around a national mandate to replace old-fashioned bulbs with more efficient lamps.

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Texas Republicans are fighting a federal mandate that old incandescent light bulbs be phased out for more efficient lamps like this flourescent model. They say it's another example of over-regulation. (Justin Sullivan, Getty Images / January 31, 2007)


By Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times

July 9, 2011, 4:58 p.m


Reporting from Washington—
It doesn't have the ring of "Remember the Alamo," but a new battle cry has gone up in Texas: "Remember the incandescent bulb."

Texas has become the first state seeking to skirt a federal law that phases out old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs in favor of more efficient lamps — a move that has emerged as a shining example of Republicans' resolve to strike down what many view as excessive federal regulation.

Texas hopes to get around the law with a measure recently signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry declaring that incandescent bulbs — if made and sold only in Texas — do not involve interstate commerce and therefore are not subject to federal regulation.

"I think that Texans as a whole are tired of the federal government trying to micromanage our lives," said George Lavender, a Republican state representative who sponsored the legislation.

Critics of the federal mandate hope the Texas action will spur Congress to repeal the light bulb rules or prompt other states to adopt similar laws. The Republican-controlled U.S. House on Monday is expected to take up a repeal measure sponsored by a Texas congressman. Efforts also are underway in Pennsylvania and South Carolina to follow Texas' lead.

The 2007 federal energy legislation phases out the old-style incandescent bulbs over three years, starting with 100-watt bulbs next Jan. 1. Supporters said that consumers will be able to buy a new kind of incandescent bulb that is more efficient and cost about $1 more. The latest model — shown off to lawmakers recently — surrounds the filament with a halogen capsule that uses fewer watts.

But that hasn't stopped attacks targeting an alternative to incandescents — the spiral-shaped compact fluorescent light.

"I just believe that we should be able to buy what we want," Lavender said of the Texas law. "I've had calls from people in every state, and even in foreign countries, saying how much they appreciate this bill."

"This is about more than just energy consumption, it is about personal freedom,'' said Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Texas.), who's leading the repeal effort in the House. He recently cheered his state's action, declaring on Fox News: "I do thank the Lord that I live in Texas."

Ironically, it was President George W. Bush, a former Texas governor, who signed the energy bill.

Supporters of the new rules, who say the fluorescent lights save money and reduce energy demand, don't understand the fuss.

The average U.S. household could save an estimated $85 per year under the rules, according to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, a coalition of state, environmental and consumer groups and utility companies that promotes energy efficiency.

Texas and other opponents "say, 'Hey, I want to buy the most inefficient light bulb around. Why can't I?' " said Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington-based think tank. His answer: "We all pay for more power plants."

"This somehow has become the poster child for overreaching government when government has regulated efficiency of appliances for years," said Jane Harman said, a former Los Angeles area Democratic congresswoman who sponsored the light-bulb rules — with a Republican cosponsor.

The Texas law is unlikely to withstand a court challenge, said supporters of the new regulations, citing a far-reaching Supreme Court ruling in 2005 that upheld federal restrictions on home-grown marijuana in California. The court ruled that because marijuana moved in a national market, the federal government could regulate its use, even if it were grown and used only in California.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, in a letter to the Texas governor, said "the sale of inefficient bulbs in Texas … could lead to an interstate black market in light bulbs that do not meet federal energy efficiency standards."

Yet the federal light bulb rules — as opposed to new federal regulations over complex financial derivatives or the sweeping health care overhaul — have become a hot issue because they touch every household.

"It's something that everybody can relate to," said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

Critics of the federal mandate have focused on the spiral fluorescent lights, which cost more, are made mainly in China, contain mercury and, they say, don't give off as much light as the old incandescents.

Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, recently pulled one of the more efficient bulbs out of his pocket in the House and warned, "I'll be very careful not to drop it on the House floor because if I do, we'll have to evacuate the House floor," a mocking allusion to mercury. He then cheered his home state for protecting Texans from an "absurd abuse of federal power."

The Texas action contrasts sharply with California's effort to implement the federal law a year ahead of every other state, a step that the state Energy Commission has said would prevent the sale of more than 10 million less-efficient 100-watt bulbs this year.

Not everyone in Texas supports the state's new bulb law. The Texas League of Conservation Voters and other groups said the bill "tells the world that Texas is moving backward, embracing the outdated technologies of the 19th century.'

And for all the hoopla over the Texas law, there is virtually no chance in the near future that residents of Lone Star State will be able to buy a state-made incandescent, said David Power, deputy director of the Public Citizen office in Texas.

"We don't mine tungsten in Texas," Power said. "So there is no place where they can get a Texas-made filament" for bulbs.

[email protected]

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

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Comments

  • tachosomozatachosomoza Regular
    edited July 2011
    Reactionary assholes.
  • edited July 2011
    tells the world that Texas is moving backward...

    That's the direction retards usually favour.
  • ChupaloChupalo Regular
    edited July 2011
    While the "new" bulbs do use less energy, the type of light it emits bothers a lot of people (i'm not one of them). There was also a recent study that found that when they are turned on, a burst of radioactive mercury dust (or something that like) puffs out and you hit that shit like jenkem. Who knows if it's true.

    I think most people would rather save money than use energy wasting lightbulbs. It's a small group of people with a somewhat loud voice. I WOULD like to see both options available at the store. I believe in consumer choice. If I wanted my life dictated and my choices made for me, I'd get an iPhone.

    All that shit in Texas is lip service. They talk a big talk, but none of the promises become reality. What an idea!!! You just keep saying what your constituents want to hear, and do the opposite. As long as you keep your donors happy, no worries about that upcoming re-election. You just spend the fuck out of your opponent.
  • DaktologistDaktologist Global Moderator
    edited July 2011
    Chupalo wrote: »
    There was also a recent study that found that when they are turned on, a burst of radioactive mercury dust (or something that like) puffs out and you hit that shit like jenkem. Who knows if it's true.

    I call bullshit. Although they contain mercury vapour it is non radioactive and only escapes if the bulb is broken. I prefer incandescent bulbs, mainly because the light seems more natural and they don't interfere with my shortwave radio.
  • ChupaloChupalo Regular
    edited July 2011
    It's been so long since I've had incandescent bulbs that I don't even remember what the light looks like. Regardless, the CFL thing is more political and corporatist than anything else. Here's some more interesting info...

    http://www.richsoil.com/CFL-fluorescent-light-bulbs.jsp
    http://stoppingatthegreenlight.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/the-dark-side-of-cfl-bulbs/
  • HubbsVHubbsV Semo-Regulars
    edited September 2011
    Incandescent bulbs have been banned in the EU since Sept 2009 and I'm pretty sure they are ok. Society must advance technology in order to better itself and holding on to an old and inefficient technology isn't beneficial in the long-run. (Think government switching all television from analog to digital)
    By forcing companies to focus on this newer technology, prices will fall and quality of the product will increase. If consumers demand better light quality, companies will compete to deliver such a product and capitalize on increased market share.

    It’s also safe to say that LED light bulbs will become the norm. They have had huge technological advances in the last few years making them brighter and more efficient. Plus no mercury!

    It's not a matter of freedom to use incandescent; it's a matter of intelligent societal advancement.

    However, I'm also pleased that we're going eco-friendly... but there are pro's and con's to the new bulbs and I'm not sure they should be phased out entirely. Banning of light bulb is very controversial to the point that they should have to remodel the Easy baked oven. As this, the last non-specialty lights will be sold by 2014. The Easy Bake Oven has been completely re-designed because of these modifications. The iconic toy will not use an incandescent light bulb, but instead a heating element.

    Here’s a link for you to read: Easy-Bake oven redesigned without light bulbs. Check this out!
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