Right-Wing Media Continue To Mislead On Nonexistent Light Bulb "Ban"


With some provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 scheduled to go into effect on January 1, right-wing media have revived the false claim that the government is "ban[ning]" incandescent light bulbs. In fact, the law simply restricts the sale of inefficient bulbs and has led companies to develop numerous alternatives, including energy-efficient incandescents.

Right-Wing Media Revive Light Bulb "Ban" Claim

Doocy: "[T]he Government Is ... Essentially Getting Rid Of Incandescent Light Bulbs." On the November 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said:

DOOCY: I hope you're going out to Home Depot or something, [guest] Brad [Stine], to stock up because coming up on January 1, the government is -- they're essentially getting rid of incandescent light bulbs. You got to have those little pigtail things that are made in China with the mercury in them in your house as well. What has happened to this country? Once upon a time, we used to make light bulbs, and now we got to buy them from over there. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/28/11]

Wash. Times: "They're Coming For Our Light Bulbs." In a November 26 editorial titled, "Time to stock up on light bulbs: Government ban on mercury-free fixtures takes effect Jan. 1," The Washington Times wrote:

Thanks to a Democratic Congress and the signature of President George W. Bush in 2007, anti-industrial zealots at the Energy Department received authority to blot out one of the greatest achievements of the industrial age. They're coming for our light bulbs.


Many in the GOP remain cowed by the fraudulent claim that these are just harmless "energy standards" and opposing them would be a crime against the environment. The reality is that this ban is yet another example of the sort of job-destroying regulations that enrich the administration's friends at the expense of consumers. Specifically, the rules turn a 50-cent light bulb into a purchase of $3 or more. [The Washington Times, 11/26/11]

In Fact, The Law Does Not Ban All Incandescent Bulbs -- Only Inefficient Ones

The Energy Independence And Security Act Sets "Energy Efficiency Standards" For Incandescent Bulbs, Doesn't Ban Them. From Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007:

Subtitle B: Lighting Energy Efficiency - (Sec. 321) Amends EPCA to prescribe energy efficiency standards for general service incandescent lamps, rough service lamps, and other designated lamps.

Directs the Secretary of Energy to: (1) conduct and report to the FTC on an annual assessment of the market for general service lamps and compact fluorescent lamps; and (2) carry out a proactive national program of consumer awareness, information, and education about lamp labels and energy-efficient lighting choices. Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2012.


Instructs the Secretary of Energy to report to Congress on: (1) federal measures to reduce or prevent release of mercury during the manufacture, transportation, storage, or disposal of light bulbs; (2) whether specified rulemaking deadlines will be met; (3) an NAS review of advanced solid state lighting R&D and the impact upon the types of lighting available to consumers of an energy conservation standard requiring a minimum of 45 lumens per watt for general service lighting; and (4) the time frame for commercialization of lighting to replace incandescent and halogen incandescent lamp technology.

(Sec. 322) Sets forth minimum energy efficiency standards for incandescent reflector lamps.

(Sec. 323) Amends federal law governing congressional approval of proposed public buildings projects to require the Administrator of General Services (GSA) to: (1) transmit to Congress an estimate of the future energy performance of the building or space and a specific description of the use of energy efficient and renewable energy systems, including photovoltaic systems; and (2) include, with respect to space to be leased, the minimum performance requirements for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Sets forth requirements for the use of energy efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs in public building construction, alteration, and acquisition.

(Sec. 324) Amends EPCA to include within its regulatory oversight: (1) metal halide lamp fixtures; and (2) energy efficiency labeling for designated consumer electronic products. [Public Law No. 110-140, 12/19/07]

Philips Electronics Executive: "There Has Been No Ban On The Incandescent Light Bulb." From a December 9, 2010, NPR interview with Philips Electronics Vice President Randy Moorhead:

ELIZABETH SHOGREN (NPR reporter): So will the government really take away your choice in light bulbs?

Randy Moorhead, vice president and lobbyist for Philips Electronics, says no.

MOORHEAD: There has been no ban on the incandescent light bulb. The incandescent light bulb actually lives. It's just going to be 30 percent more efficient.

SHOGREN: An energy bill signed by President Bush three years ago requires light bulbs to use at least 30 percent less electricity than traditional bulbs. But Moorhead says in anticipation of the new standards, companies like his have started selling new incandescent bulbs that comply with the law. They're made with a slightly different technology than Thomas Edison's invention. They use halogen gas. Moorhead says consumers won't notice a difference in the way they look or work compared to old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.

MOORHEAD: They're just going to find their electricity bills are a lot lower. [NPR, 12/9/10]

PolitiFact: "Current Law Does Not Ban Incandescents, But Rather Says Most Light Bulbs Must Meet Increased Efficiency Standards By 2012." PolitiFact has stated of the Energy Independence and Security Act signed by George W. Bush in 2007:

The current law does not ban incandescents, but rather says most light bulbs must meet increased efficiency standards by 2012. The standards themselves, which were developed later, include several exceptions for incandescent light bulbs, including three-way bulbs, colored lights, bug lights or plant lights. [PolitiFact, 3/6/09]

And Manufacturers Are Offering A Wide Variety Of Bulbs, Including Energy-Efficient Incandescents

2007 Energy Bill Reportedly Spurring "Tremendous Amount Of Development." From a January 24 Philadelphia Inquirer column:

Walk down today's lighting aisle, and it's intimidating.

Incandescents. Halogens. CFLs. LEDs. All sizes. All shapes. All colors, from warm white to a crisp bluish tint. And more to come.

So read on for a tour of the ever-burgeoning bulb-land.

"There's a tremendous amount of development," said Brian Fortenbery, an energy efficiency lighting expert with the Electric Power Research Institute, a national nonprofit. "It's not a one-technology game, by any stretch."

Driving the change is a provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act that Congress passed in 2007, during the George W. Bush administration.

It set energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs, which will begin to phase in come Jan. 1, 2012. [The Philadelphia Inquirer, GreenSpace, 1/24/11]

GE Offers Incandescent Halogen Bulb Which "Operates Up To 22 Percent More Efficiently" Than The Traditional Incandescent Bulb. From a February 14 General Electric press release:

U.S. consumers shopping for light bulbs this Valentine's Day and in the coming months may notice changes on retail store shelves: fewer incandescent bulbs and a wider selection of energy-efficient incandescent halogen bulbs. GE Lighting offers a light bulb that looks like the century-old and beloved incandescent bulb, produces nearly the same light output but operates up to 22 percent more efficiently.

Today, U.S. consumers can find GE's incandescent halogen bulbs -- clear and Reveal® clear versions (MSRP $5-$7) -- nationwide in two-packs in 29-, 43-, 53- and 72-watt varieties that dim and turn on instantly like their 40-, 60-, 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulb cousins that are phasing out of production between 2012 and 2014 as a result of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (learn more at www.gelighting.com/2012).


"A bulb that uses less energy costs less to run," says John Strainic, global product general manager, GE Lighting. "Halogen is an incandescent technology with a big efficiency advantage over standard incandescent bulbs. Each of the bulbs in this line-up consumes fewer watts than the incandescent bulbs we've all used for decades, while delivering a precise dimming capability and a bright, crisp light."


GE has produced incandescent halogen spotlights and general service light bulbs for accent and general lighting for many years. The technology is in the spotlight now more than ever because governments around the world have instituted new laws that set higher efficiency levels for lighting. The greater efficiency of GE's incandescent halogen bulbs enable them to comply with the lighting efficiency laws on the horizon in the U.S. and globally. [General Electric, 2/14/11]

For more on the variety of bulbs manufacturers are offering, SEE HERE.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Conservation, Energy
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