Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, Michael Burgess, R-Texas, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, joined 12 other Republicans to reintroduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act or BULB Act, H.R. 91.
The BULB Act repeals Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is a de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb.
"This is about more than just energy consumption, it is about personal freedom. Voters sent us a message in November that it is time for politicians and activists in Washington to stop interfering in their lives and manipulating the free market. The light bulb ban is the perfect symbol of that frustration. People don't want congress dictating what light fixtures they can use," said Rep. Barton. "Traditional incandescent bulbs are cheap and reliable. Alternatives, including the most common replacement Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFL's, are more expensive and health hazards - so why force them on the American people? From the health insurance you're allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to you and your family."
"Thousands of American jobs have been shipped overseas as a direct consequence of this light bulb provision in the Democrats' 2007 energy bill," Burgess said. "I have stated all along that exposing our citizens to the harmful effects of the mercury contained in CFL light bulbs, which are being manufactured in China, is likely to pose a hazard for years to come. Not only would this bill be better for the environment, but it would be one step to bringing jobs back to America."
"These are the kinds of regulations that make the American people roll their eyes. It is typical of a "big Washington' solution to a non-existent problem. In this case it manifests itself as an overreach into every American home, one that ships good jobs overseas and infuriates the American consumer," added Rep. Blackburn.
Other co-sponsors include: Reps. Todd Akin (R-Missouri), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Paul Broun (R-Georgia), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-New York), Dan Burton (R-Indiana), Howard Coble (R-North Carolina), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Tom McClintock (R-), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), Cliff Stearns (R-Florida), and Don Young (R-Alaska).
Alternatives to traditional incandescent bulbs have many drawbacks. They are all considerably more expensive. The most common alternative, compact florescent light bulbs have a number of problems:
* Most CFLs are not manufactured in the United States. A recent Washington Post story reported that GE is shuttering a plant in Winchester, Va., killing 200 jobs in the process.
* CFLs contain mercury and have to be disposed of carefully. The amount of mercury in one bulb is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. The EPA recommends an elaborate cleanup ritual, including throwing away any clothes or bedding that has come in direct contact with the mercury from the bulb.
* CFLs are not designed to be turned off and on frequently; the lifespan of a CFL may be reduced by up to 85 percent if you switch it off and on a lot.
* People with certain health conditions can be harmed by CFLs. Reactions range from disabling eczema-like reactions, to light sensitivities that can lead to skin cancer.
* The Energy Star program warns that CFLs can overheat and smoke.