Candidate for House Energy & Commerce Committee Co-Authored Lightbulb Ban Bill

If you’re one of those people who misses the incandescent light bulb (or who stocked up, as I did), you might be interested in this.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) is seeking the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Ironically, he’s one of the co-authors of the legislation that effectively banned indoor incandescent light bulbs, and he also wanted to extend the ban to outdoor lighting.

Now, I’m as concerned about the environment and energy efficiency as the next person, and I purchased a few of these light bulbs to try them out. Here’s what I learned:

  • They can’t be used in dimmer switches. Stinks if you have dimmers in your house.
  • They contain mercury, and so can’t be tossed in the trash, but have to be disposed of at a hazardous materials site. Stinks if you break one in your house.
  • They don’t last as long as claimed.
  • The light they cast has a yellowish tinge. (I have put them in side-by-side fixtures that shine on a white countertop and there is a definite difference.)

Perhaps Upton is the right guy for this job. But my inclination is that if he had any involvement in this step backward in light bulb technology, he’s not the right guy to be leading either energy or commerce in this country.


Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) may have some explaining to do to fellow GOP colleagues as he seeks the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, given the incoming wave of new conservatives who may not appreciate some aspects of Upton’s voting record.

Upton joined with Rep. Jane Harman (D.-Calif.) in  2007 to co-author the legislation that effectively banned indoor incandescent light bulbs in the United States. In the last Congress, he an Harman teamed up again to offer new legislation that would extend the ban on incandescent bulbs to outdoor lighting also.

“In 2007, Harman and Upton introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation–which became law as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act–that bans the famously inefficient 100-watt incandescent light bulb by 2012, phases out remaining inefficient light bulbs by 2014, and requires that light bulbs be at least three times as efficient as today’s 100-watt incandescent bulb by 2020,” explained a 2009 press release put out by the two House members.

Read the rest here.




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