Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dim Bulbs in Congress

By a voice vote on Friday, the House passed a “light bulb ban” amendment to the 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Act (HR 2354). The amendment, offered by climate denier Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), prohibits spending to enforce the incandescent lighting efficiency standards in the 2007 energy law signed by President George W. Bush. These standards have already spurred the lighting industry to create innovative new incandescent bulbs that are dramatically more efficient than the century-old design the Tea Party is bent on defending.


The standards were originally proposed by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who turned his back on better light bulbs in order to curry Tea Party favor and get the chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.


Cash from Koch Industries, which was among his top 10 donors in 2010, aided Upton’s flip.


Koch’s Americans for Prosperity has campaigned hard against the efficiency standards, claiming that “Congress is now in the business of telling us what type of light bulbs we can buy.”


“In at least 40 instances since the beginning of 2011, conservative media outlets wrongly told consumers that the light bulb efficiency standards scheduled to take effect in 2012 will require them to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs),” Media Matters found.


The standards will save about $100 per household annually in lower electricity costs, or about $12 billion per year when fully implemented.

Think Progress

If fully implemented. If the Dim Bulbs in Congress don’t suck too hard.

The Tea Party movement is increasingly attacking American innovation and 21st-century jobs on all fronts: Rush Limbaugh is leading the charge against the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt; Republican governors are killing high-speed rail; Glenn Beck is cooking up conspiracy theories about smart grid technology; Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is trying to kill the wind industry; and the entire right-wing movement wants Americans to believe green jobs are going to destroy the United States economy. This month, the House adopted by voice vote a Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) amendment to nullify Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act, signed by President Bush. The section prevents the federal government from buying high-carbon fuels like tar sands oil or coal-to-liquids. Also passed, an amendment from Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) to prohibit spending on international clean-energy program activities (except for Israel). The House of Representatives is also funding climate disaster relief by slashing funding for high-speed rail and clean cars.

There is one dim ray of light amongst all that:

[The] House rejected an amendment from Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) that would prohibit federal websites that teach children about energy efficiency.

Try again next cycle, Sandy, you corporate pansy. I'm sure we're going down Dumb Drive fast enough, we'll eventually get there.

[The light bulb amendment] was the culmination of a loopy crusade by the billionaire Koch brothers to stop the spread of energy-efficient light bulbs. Say what? Yes, Koch front groups drummed up a non-issue by howling that Big Government is "telling us what kind of light bulbs we can buy."


"Everyone supported it," says a top Philips executive, adding that the law produced a major surge in innovation by the industry. Only four years after the law passed, Philips, GE, and Sylvania all are ready to market incandescent bulbs that meet the higher efficiency standards, while saving money for consumers.

Did I mention that the Koch brothers are in the dirty energy business and profit when you have to use more of it to light your house?

Jim Hightower

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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