American Elephants


South Carolina Lawmakers Don’t Like CFL Bulbs Either. by The Elephant's Child

Environmental activists and energy efficiency enthusiasts simply have no understanding about how angry the American people are about the intrusion of their long green noses into people’s own homes.

Lawmakers in South Carolina are taking a stand. With incandescent bulbs being phased out under federal law in favor of compact fluorescents, legislators want to exempt South Carolina from the measure, saying that Washington has no business telling the state how to light its homes, closets and countertops.

The South Carolina House will begin debating a bill that would allow companies to manufacture incandescent bulbs in South Carolina as long as they stamp them “Made in South Carolina” and sell them only in the state.  Texas, Georgia and Minnesota have considered sticking with incandescent bulbs, but have not passed laws regarding the bulbs. South Carolina currently has a small incandescent light bulb plant.

The demand for the efficiency of CFL bulbs fits right in with an energy-starved economy dependent on alternate “green” sources of power.  With centuries of clean natural gas available at low cost (shale gas) the environmental case is beginning to fall apart. Not that it was ever an environmental deal. The Electric companies— GE, Phillips and Sylvania— essentially wrote the federal law, and expect to make way more profit on CFL bulbs from China.

CFL bulbs are far more expensive, and alternates to those are even costlier.   CFLs are not allowed to be placed in the garbage, but must be taken to a proper disposal site, many of which charge for the privilege.  There have been reports of CFLs exploding.  Studies have shown that the energy savings are 73% less than expected, and even subsidies didn’t encourage as many people to buy them as expected.  They don’t last as long as expected, and turning them on and off seems to shorten their lives.

When a good substitute that offers good light at a reasonable price comes to market, consumers will adapt. But these are not things that should be forced upon the public at the whim of the Barbara Boxers in the Senate. It’s not the business of Congress.

Contrary to Democrat’s expectations, American consumers are quite capable of making their own choices without the government forcing choices upon them.



Get Your Hands Off My Lightbulbs! by The Elephant's Child

Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), along with Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and 12 other Republicans,  has introduced a bill to repeal the 2007 law that bans incandescent lightbulbs starting in 2012.

As I understand it, the bill banning incandescent lightbulbs was essentially written by General Electric, a company that has managed their bottom line by close cooperation and subsidies from the Obama administration.  GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is the chairman of President Obama’s new Jobs Commission.  GE expects to make considerably more income from selling CFL bulbs produced in China, and has closed all their incandescent bulb factories in this country. So much for American “green jobs.”

California’s utilities are spending $548 million over seven years to subsidize consumer purchases of compact fluorescent bulbs.  Californians are obliging by buying more than they need to prepare for the time when the subsidy ends.  Another reason is that the bulbs burn out far faster than advertised.

In theory, CFL bulbs offer energy savings of about 75% over traditional incandescents. The United Nations says that 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to lighting and the adoption of compact fluorescent bulbs could cut pollution. Whoa.  We have learned that information about greenhouse gases from the UN is highly suspect, and the statement is filled with weasel words like “linked” and “could cut.”

PG&E  thought people wold buy 53 million CFL bulbs by 2008.  They allotted $92 million for rebates, but fewer bulbs were purchased, they didn’t last as long, and they didn’t save as much energy as expected — 73% less than expected.   The bulbs were expected to last 9.4 years, but the average has been 6.3 years. They don’t adapt well to being turned on and off frequently, either.

Even more, people hate them.  They don’t like the CFL light, they don’t like the time it takes for the bulb to reach full brightness, they don’t like the excessive cost, and they especially don’t like nanny government interference in their homes in things that most people feel are not the government’s business.  Enough is enough.

LED bulbs give a more pleasant light, last far longer, but give you a real shock at the price.  At over $30.00 for a bulb, the price for replacing all bulbs in the house is a bit daunting.

Consumers like incandescent bulbs.  They prefer incandescent light, and the fluorescents’ cost at retail 10 times more than ordinary bulbs that work perfectly well.  The idea that incandescent bulbs contribute to “greenhouse gases” and thus to global warming have been relegated to junk science, and most people know it.   And the EPA’s elaborate instructions for disposal of a broken CFL bulb are frightening.

The EPA promotes the safety of CFLs in order to advance their jihad against greenhouse gases, yet a broken CFL bulb releases mercury at concentrations from 667 to 2,557 times what they claim is permissible exposure for you and your children. T he EPA finds the bulbs useful in their regulatory efforts, otherwise they would have been banned long ago as unsafe.

If you like Representative Barton’s bill, you might want to let your representatives know.  I’m all for it, and if anyone else wants to eliminate the EPA, I’m with them on that one too.  I can’t think of anything useful that they do.

ADDENDUM: I neglected to mention that the bill is called the BULB Act (HR 91).  Congressional struggles to name a bill so that it will get a memorable acronym are always funny.  It’s the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act.




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