The impending federal ban on the standard incandescent light bulb could finally be killed. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., has said he will support a bill to stop the ban, a courageous move from the lawmaker who was a primary force behind the 2007 legislation that banned the bulb in the first place. Freedom Action helped lead the charge to convince Congress that the American people wouldn't stand for this outrageous, ill-conceived government imposition on consumer choice.
We thought you might be interested in this Detroit News write-up of the situation.
June 22, 2011
Upton: The House will vote to bring back the bulb
/ The Michigan View.com
The bulb is back.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., has finally agreed to support a bill this summer that means lights out on the looming 2012 ban on the common light bulb. Upton himself co-sponsored 2007 legislation making light bulbs illegal, a ban that has become a symbol of bipartisan Big Government run amok.
Upton has come under increased pressure in recent weeks, sources say, after failing to follow up on a promise he made after assuming the committee chairmanship that he would hold hearings on reversing the ban. After months of paralysis - and with the ban just six months from going into effect on January 1 - outrage was building among his own Republican committee colleagues and conservative activists, including a national petition campaign, http://freeourlight.org/">FreeOurLight.org, sponsored by the influential Competitive Enterprise Institute.
"Freedom Action's Free Our Light campaign has demonstrated that there is widespread public opposition to the light bulb ban," says Myron Ebell, Director of Freedom Action at CEI. "We're pleased that Chairman Upton has seen the light and congratulate him on his decision. We look forward to the House passing the bill to repeal the ban and its eventual enactment later this year."
After Upton scheduled hearings this week featuring rent-seeking corporate fat cats that stood to benefit from the ban, anger boiled over and the chairman agreed not only to cancel the hearings but to bring up a bill repealing the ban. The View's source says that the bill will likely be brought up under "suspension," which means no amendments will be allowed and passage requires a two-thirds majority.
E&E News reporter Katie Howell is also reporting that Upton "he is working with Texas Republicans Joe Barton and Mike Burgess on language repealing the light bulb standards." (Link http://www.eenews.net/pm">here, subscription required.)
"We're very close to seeing an agreement emerge and happen," Upton told reporters at a conservative blogger briefing hosted by the Heritage Foundation.
In keeping with Washington's stealth energy policies on auto mpg and greenhouse emissions, Upton's original 2007 bill - touted by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Bush - was not an outright repeal but a backdoor sneak play in the larger 2007 energy law that would have eventually phased out bulbs that use more than 40 watts.
This would have effectively banned Edison's invention which is the choice of 85 percent of American bulb purchases.
The ban has been mostly covered up by the green mainstream media, and consumers were only just learning of the ban as bulbs have begun disappearing from shelves. In the meantime, bulb manufacturers had already eliminated hundreds of incandescent plants in the United States (the last plant closed in Winchester, Va. last year) in preparation for the ban - off-shoring the jobs to China where the more expensive, replacement compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) could be manufactured.
So much for green creating American jobs.
Republicans - led by Texas Rep. Joe Barton together with fellow Texan Michael Burgess and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. - introduced bulb restoration legislation immediately upon the GOP taking over the House this year. Republicans overwhelmingly support bringing back the bulb, while global-warming-obsessed Democrats say making bulbs illegal is crucial to saving the planet. Ironically, saving the earth has meant destroying union plant jobs.
In contrast, the ban had been supported by big corporations like General Electric and Philips who saw a an opportunity to use government to monopolize a new, more expensive market while transferring jobs to China to earn higher margins.
"Nobody has to buy a CFL, and that's a common misconception," said Randy Moorhead, vice president of government affairs for Philips, this spring. "This is a political controversy that's undeserved." The Philips rep's' slippery answer refers to even more expensive options than CFLs and ignored the fact that the banned incandescent is the cheap and overwhelming favorite of consumers.
"We don't think the consumer needs to pay $4 a light bulb, and we don't think the federal government should tell people what kind of lighting to use in their homes," Rep. Barton told Fox News this week.
The House vote will finally bring light - pun intended - to an issue exposing how dictatorial Washington has become. Members will vote against the bulb at their peril.
Henry Payne is editor of The Michigan View.com.