Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Inefficient Lighting

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/2665936868/">Muffet</a>/Flickr


Blue Marble readers are no strangers to the multi-year war on efficient lighting undertaken by congressional Republicans. In the name of freedom, they have tirelessly campaigned to overturn a 2007 law, despite the fact that it didn’t actually ban incandescent bulbs—it merely required all bulbs to use less energy. Well, last week Republicans succeeded in delaying the new law from going into effect until next October, ten months later than it would have otherwise.

But here’s the kicker. Despite all the outrage generated by the GOP about how the bulb law is destroying American business, motherhood, and apple pie, the lighting industry is actually all for it. And manufacturers are annoyed that the law has been delayed, as Politico reports today:

Big companies like General Electric, Philips and Osram Sylvania spent big bucks preparing for the standards, and the industry is fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them.

After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort.

Manufacturers are worried that the rider will undermine companies’ investments and “allow potential bad actors to sell inefficient light bulbs in the United States without any fear of federal enforcement,” said Kyle Pitsor, the trade group’s vice president of government relations.

It’s funny. The only time the GOP seems dedicated to “freedom of choice” is when it involves lighting products.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.