CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, July 11, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2417, the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds Majority vote for approval. H.R. 2417 was introduced by Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) on July 6, 2011 and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which took no official action.
H.R. 2417 would repeal Sections 321 and 322 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which would federally ban the manufacture and sale of certain light bulbs. These sections impose energy efficiency standards which would effectively prohibit the sale of certain incandescent light bulbs after December 31, 2011, and impose dozens of new regulations on light bulbs and lamps. In addition, H.R. 2417 would prohibit any state or local energy efficiency regulation from being imposed if that requirement could only be met by installing bulbs or lamps containing mercury.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-140) was enacted on December 19, 2007, as a part of the Democrats’ energy agenda. The bill imposed costly new fuel economy mandates on automobiles and imposed energy efficiency standards on household appliances which effectively prohibited Americans from purchasing certain models of products ranging from washing machines to light bulbs. The legislation placed a ban on the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs which is set to phase in after December 31, 2011.
According to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, these light bulb efficiency standards would likely result in a number of negative unintended consequences. For example, some light bulb mandates could only be met with bulbs that contain dangerous mercury. H.R. 2417 would protect Americans’ access to the light bulbs of their choice while guarding against mandates that would force Americans to use florescent bulbs that contain mercury. Rather than having the government limit light bulb options or appear to favor one type of bulb over others, the H.R. 2417 would allow consumers to decide on the cost, type, and efficiency of the lighting that works best for them.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate for H.R. 2417 was not available as of press time.