Has Congress Put the Stop Sign on Incandescent Legislation?

Julie Muhlstein, a reporter for Washington’s The Herald, described the recent developments with the incandescent lighting legislation well: Political football.

Whether you think incandescent lighting should be phased out for inefficiency or you believe light bulbs are none of the U.S. government’s concern, you’ll agree that the aftermath of EISA 2007 has been heated.

First, a repeal bill called the Better Use of Bulbs Act attempted to eliminate the efficiency standards set to begin in 2012 altogether. The BULB Act did not pass, but it gathered support from a large group of people vehemently opposed to lighting legislation. In response, the Department of Energy launched a nationwide advertising campaign touting the benefits of efficient light bulbs. One of the ads depicted a couple throwing valuable items (a TV, a bike, an electric guitar, etc.) off the side of a cliff. The DOE drew a parallel to throwing away money on wasted electricity.

The final play in this game was last week’s bill that denied funding to implement the efficiency standards. Technically, come January 1, the  traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb may no longer be manufactured or imported in the U.S. because it does not meet the efficiency standards put in place by EISA 2007.

However, the Department of Energy cannot enforce that law, as enforcement funding has been denied for the next nine months.

See what I mean? Political football. What do you think about the recent developments with EISA 2007?

Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.

2 thoughts to “Has Congress Put the Stop Sign on Incandescent Legislation?”

  1. Emily,

    Your observation that the law still takes effect is key. While the funding for enforcement is gone, it’s likely the government won’t pass up a chance for revenue from fines and violations. I’d expect they’ll find a new, inexpensive way to keep an eye on all of us.


  2. Anthony – That’s an interesting point. I wonder how they can create a loophole to fine violators while still complying with the budgetary stipulation?

    The thing is, the vast majority of incandescent light bulb manufacturing plants in the U.S. have already shut down – see this article.

    Also, 100-watt incandescent frosted light bulbs have already been phased out in Europe, Brazil, China, and Australia.

    So, the fact that there is no funding for enforcement may be a bit of a moot point. The law did not ban the sale of traditional incandescent light bulbs – only the manufacture and import of them. And it looks like the manufacture & import of them is already petering out.

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