There Is No Light Bulb Ban

David Frum, who is a conservative, David Jenkins, writing at the conservative Frum Forum (h/t commenter Amy) tells Rep. Joe “I Apologized To BP” Barton and Michele “Crazy Eyes” Bachmann to shut their yaps on the non-existent light bulb ban:

There is no looming ban or phase out of incandescent bulbs. The entire hullabaloo is based on a fictitious claim manufactured by Barton.

All major lighting manufacturers, including Philips, Sylvania and GE, currently produce and sell incandescent light bulbs that meet or exceed the new standards (with no compromise in functionality). In fact, the lighting industry helped craft the 2007 legislation with the full understanding that they could produce incandescent bulbs that meet them.


In addition to claiming that the incandescent bulb is being banned and that we are all going to be forced to use compact fluorescent lighting (CFL), Barton is also saying that bulbs meeting the new standards are cost prohibitive.

Again, not true. A Philips incandescent bulb that meets the new standards currently sells for $1.49, lasts about 50 percent longer than older incandescent bulbs, and saves consumers more than $3.00 in energy expenditures. For four bucks you can buy an incandescent that lasts 3000 hours and nets you more than $10 in energy savings.

If you want to save even more energy you can buy CFL or LED bulbs. While LEDs cost more, the energy savings are about $150 per bulb and they last so long you might want to bequeath them to your children.

Frum Jenkins goes on to call Barton’s bill “irresponsible and embarrassing,” and “total lunacy.” He then informs us where this whole “light bulb ban” fairy tale came from in the first place: last year’s battle over the chairmanship of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Barton’s rival Fred Upton had helped craft the lighting standards.

Is it me or does the U.S. Congress resemble junior high? We’ve got some important issues to address, it would be nice if there were some grown-ups around.


Some folks are peddling some nonsense about manufacturers’ inability to meet the new efficiency standards, but that is load of bullshit, because even the manufacturers support the law, something they wouldn’t be doing if they couldn’t meet the new standards:

The hubbub has been deeply irritating to light bulb manufacturers and retailers, which have been explaining the law, over and over again, to whomever will listen. At a Congressional hearing in March, Kyle Pitsor, a representative from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, a trade group that represents makers of light bulbs, among others, patiently but clearly disputed claims that the law banned incandescent bulbs. He restated the law’s points and averred light bulb makers’ support for the law. As usual, it seemed as if no one was paying attention.

Last week, for example, in the middle of Lightfair, an annual trade show for the lighting industry, Philips unveiled a winged LED bulb with a promised life span of 25,000 hours and a price tag of $40 to $50. The Associated Press reported its cost as $50, and Fox News ran the story with the headline “As Government Bans Regular Light Bulbs, LED Replacements Will Cost $50 Each.” Mr. Beck, Rush Limbaugh and conservative bloggers around the country gleefully pounced on the story, once again urging the stockpiling of light bulbs.

Joseph Higbee, a spokesman for the electrical manufacturers association, offered his take on the situation: “Unfortunately people do not yet understand this lighting transition, and mistakenly think they won’t be able to buy incandescent light bulbs. This misinformation has been promoted by a number of media outlets. Incandescent light bulbs are not being banned, and the new federal energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs do not mandate the use of CFLs. My hope is that the media can help the American people understand the energy-efficient lighting options available, as opposed to furthering misconceptions.”

Once again conservativee are passing an ideologically-motivated law no one affected by it wants or needs. But that’s the conservative way.


Barton’s bill failed, spectacularly. Aww.


Filed under energy conservation, Rep. Joe Barton

17 responses to “There Is No Light Bulb Ban

  1. David Frum didn’t write that. He runs the site and named it after himself. Check the byline to see who wrote any particular article. Also, there is a phase-out. Incandescents must be 28 percent more efficient by 1/1/12 and 67% more efficient by 2020. Some incandescents (Halogens) can meet the 28% standard at a consumer price 5-10 times more than current models but none can the 67% standard. David Jenkins (that’s the guy you were quoting) used a weasel word “looming” — as in, “there is no looming ban.” He defined “looming,” evidently, as “very soon.” Either that or he lied. Best probably to get a man’s name right before you believe his word on a controversial issue.

  2. Belafon

    “it would be nice if there were some grown-ups around.”

    We don’t want grownups. Grownups compromise.

  3. Southern Beale:

    Is Joe Barton (Scumbagman, Texass) related to David Barton? The reason I ask is that they are both liars for a higher power. Davy lies for JESUS and Joe lies for BigOil.

    Amy Moritz Ridenour:

    ” Some incandescents (Halogens) can meet the 28% standard at a consumer price 5-10 times more than current models but none can the 67% standard.”

    And you will be supplying the peer reviewed studies to back up this claim, yes? If not, well, I don’t want to pee on the furniture or smash up the rug, just sayin.

  4. Demo:

    Don’t be silly. Amy Moritz Ridenour is just a shill for Jack Abramoff.

    Read more about her shady credentials here.

    I’m just shocked she found her way to my insignificant corner of the blogosphere.

  5. if anyone is interested in the LED bulbs, see if you can locate a local FIRST Robotics team; they sell bulbs (to raise money for their program) that are indestructible and have excellent color rendering. Plus, you support kids! In Science! Building robots!

  6. Blackburn is pushing this swill too — Bachmann and Blakckburn for Presidunce in 2012!!

  7. Min

    Say it with me, people…”Where are the jobs?”

  8. If you look at the
    near the beginning and also at the end , I also refute what D Jenkins says

    Just 2 examples, showing up the Deception that’s going on

    It is a BAN:

    All known – and New Incandescents – will effectively be banned before 2020,
    see the 2007 Energy Act Second Phase
    45 lumen per watt minimum specification, which no incandescent can meet,
    and which the profit-seeking CFL-pushing manufacturers behind the ban
    would be unlikely to pursue anyway.

    The supposed ENERGY savings are also not there
    (only c2% grid electricity savings, see the DOE etc data ),
    – and even the savings were there,
    there are much better and more relevant energy savings in Electricity
    Generation and Grid Distribution as well as Consumption, as described
    on the website.

  9. I’m sorry but your link to a right wing blog doesn’t answer my basic question: the manufacturers DO NOT WANT to overturn the 2007 legislation. They want the light bulb efficiency standards, they WROTE them, and they are against this Bachmann/Barton bullshit. I thought Republicans were all about doing what business, “job creators” etc want?

    And hey, lookie here, I can link to a lefty blog refuting everything your right wing blog said:

    O.k., so the bill doesn’t say “ban,” but many claim that the standards effectively bans incandescent, because light bulbs today can’t meet them. So we’re being forced to buy compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

    That’s not exactly right, either.

    Manufacturers now offer a high-efficiency version of the incandescent light bulb for the general duty 60-watt and 100-watt light bulbs: No curly pig tail. No hazardous mercury. The bulbs use a filament inside a bulb that looks like the familiar old light bulb . And their wattages might make more sense, too. Because they are so efficient, however, you’ll be using a 40-watt where you use a 60-watt and 70-watt where you used 100-watt, and get the same amount of light.

    They are called halogen, and I found them at my local homes store under brand names Philips, they call their’s Halogena, and GE.

    The Halogena I bought was an easy-to-use screw-in light bulb that came on immediately, no warm up, and it’s fully dimmable.

    They’re just the beginning. The bill is meant to prod manufacturers to improve their products. They are. More and more light bulbs that meet the energy standards are being introduced, including LED light bulbs. They’re more costly than the light bulbs we remember, but prices will fall. (Look at the price of CFLs, for example.) Besides, these new bulbs cost less to operate and, because they last longer, you’ll be buying fewer bulbs. The price of the efficient bulbs could end up being very close to the cost of the older version. [, 04/12/10]

  10. Dr. Peter Thorne, RADIOLOGIST.

    Not to say that DOCTOR Thorne is out of his depth, but I note that it took a fair amount of googling to find out that he’s an MD and not a DOCTOR in the sense of having a PhD in, say, physics, economics or any other field which would give him some sort of special knowledge that is pertinent to his arguments.

    • Joe Cleary

      I checked that site too

      The point is that is referenced to a lot of official data
      backing up a lot of arguments I have not seen elesewhere about the ban is wrong

      It goes on a bit too much to make the points, but it’s not just about his opinion as you can see.

  11. There is nothing funnier than a brigade of right wingers getting their panties in a twist over LIGHT BULBS. You people are laughable.

  12. Jim

    SB – you keep mentioning that light buld manufacturers support the bill. Why would they not support the bill? They get to charge quite a bit more for the CFL or LED bulbs that meet the new standards. Even the halogen bulbs are more expensive and lead to more revenue for these manufacturers. With the new requirements written into law, they can drop the manufacturing of the old line of bulbs with no fear of low cost competition selling people on the first cost of an old incandescent lightbulb (I bet alot of people don’t think about the energy savings of LEDs or CFLs). They get to upgrade manufacturing facilities (if needed) to produce the new bulbs with a guaranteed market for them written into the law. I don’t know of any business that would not support laws like that.

    • That’s right Jim
      much easier profits from banning cheap and popular but unprofitable bulbs
      Why else would a manufacturer welcome being told what they can make
      – and that people then must buy ?

      All about the shady industrial politics behind the ban,
      with references and copies of official communications

      Besides – it also shows why
      Consumers as a whole hardly save MONEY – regardless of energy savings
      1. Initial bulb cost 2. Utilities compensated for reduced sales:
      So, not just in having to pay more for the light bulbs as an initial cost
      (or being forced to pay for them, via taxpayer CFL programs)
      – but also because electricity companies are being taxpayer subsidised
      or allowed to raise Bill rates to compensate for any reduced
      electricity use, as already seen both federally and in California, Ohio etc,
      and before them in the UK and other European countries
      = as referenced in above link

  13. They charge more for the bulbs because they cost more to manufacture right now, though even those costs have gone down in recent years and will continue to go down. And they are more efficient so they sell fewer of them. Our outdoor light bulbs have lasted 5 years now, whereas in the past I’d have to replace them every 6 months. So no, I’d say your theory is shit.

    I refuse to get my panties in a twist over this obviously ginned up fauxtroversy. You guys are idiots for flogging this mercilessly, the nation listens to you and LAUGHS. Go stockpile your incandescent bulbs and pay higher electric bills. We’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. For that matter, go stock up on your Hummers and gas-guzzlers, enjoy paying $4 a gallon on a 12 mile per gallon vehicle. That’ll show us!


    And Lighthouse aka Joe, you’re in fucking Dublin Ireland. I don’t think you’re best equipped to talk about what lighbulbs cost here in the United States. CFLs aren’t that expensive. You’re just another dirty energy shill.

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