GOP scores temporary victory in light bulb controversy

A rider attached to the omnibus spending bill that will keep the government running through September 30 of next year contains language that would prevent the EPA from enforcing the ban on incandescent light bulbs.

But this is only a short respite, as this Politico article explains:

DOE's light bulb rules - authorized under a 2007 energy law authored signed by President George W. Bush - would start going into effect Jan. 1. The rider will prevent DOE from implementing the rules through Sept. 30.

But Democrats said they could claim a "compromise" by adding language to the omnibus that requires DOE grant recipients greater than $1 million to certify they will upgrade the efficiency of their facilities by replacing any lighting to meet or exceed the 2007 energy law's standards.

Fueled by conservative talk radio, Republicans made the last-ditch attempt to stop federal regulations from making their way into every Americans' living room.

"There are just some issues that just grab the public's attention. This is one of them," said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). "It's going to be dealt with in this legislation once and for all."

After giving up in recent weeks on dozens of other riders aimed at stopping EPA rules because of opposition from Senate Democrats and the White House, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) told POLITICO that the light bulb rider was "going to be in there."

Any money saved in lower energy usage would be offset by massive costs for cleaning up and disposing of broken or burned out flourescents. And the energy savings figures are coming under attack as far too optimistic. Apparently, the new bulbs don't last as long as advertised in many cases, and because they are dimmer than the incandescent bulbs, more of them must be used to achieve the same level of light.

It's an idea that should be scrapped entirely. Unfortunately, industry has already switched over so the supply of incandescents won't increase.