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US Congress is poised to weaken light-bulb efficiency legislation

US Congress is poised to weaken light-bulb efficiency legislation

A year-end spending bill in the US Congress could impact the 2007 legislation that imposes strict energy-efficiency guidelines on light bulbs beginning in 2012.

The US Congress is close to approval of a massive spending bill that includes a rider eliminating US Department of Energy (DOE) funding that was intended to enforce the 2007 US legislation that has been incorrectly referred to as an "incandescent light-bulb ban." While there have been reports that the rider will eliminate the legislation, the National Electrical Manufactures Association (NEMA) has taken the position that the legislation will remain in effect and that law-abiding companies will follow the guidelines approved in 2007.

The light-bulb-specific activity comes just weeks before the first stage of the regulations would impact the manufacture of 100W incandescent lamps for sale in the US. The Democratic and Republican parties are using the so-called omnibus spending bill, passage of which is necessary to keep the US government funded and functioning into 2012, to advance partisan initiatives. Many Republicans, especially in the radical Tea Party faction, have previously sought and failed to overturn the light-bulb legislation despite the fact that it was enacted under Republican President George W. Bush.

The Republican-sought riders attacked a number of environmental initiatives, although President Obama and Democratic leaders have worked to limit the environmental impact. The rider eliminating lamp-efficiency regulations remains in the bill at this time. Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, "Unfortunately, the bill still contains some damaging riders, including one that will weaken air-pollution controls in the Arctic and another that will block funding to enforce new light-bulb-efficiency standards that were signed into law by George W. Bush."