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Public Statements

Better Use of Light Bulbs Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DOYLE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 5 minutes.

I rise in opposition to this bill. I was on the committee back in 2007 when we first wrote the efficiency standards that Republicans are trying to repeal here today. The way I remember it, our current chairman, Mr. Upton, introduced the bill to set the standards. Our former House Speaker, Dennis Hastert, supported it, along with many Republicans. And, finally, President George W. Bush signed these standards into law.

In fact, if you look at the history behind consensus efficiency standard, you will see that this used to be something that we all agreed upon. Beginning with President Reagan in 1987, Congress and the White House have enacted Federal energy efficiency standards five times, each time with bipartisan support. These standards were developed as consensus agreements with manufacturers, energy efficiency advocates, and States.

There's more than 50 products on the market today that are covered by a variety of these Federal standards. Everything from dishwashers and refrigerators to traffic signals have become more efficient as a result of these Federal standards, saving the country energy and saving consumers money.

These standards have been in effect since 1987, have saved Americans about 3.6 quads of energy. If we continue with enacting Federal efficiency standards, we can save up to 6.1 quads of energy by 2030. That is more energy than was used in my State of Pennsylvania in 2008. The light bulb efficiency standards alone will save Pennsylvania 3.64 billion kilowatt hours of energy in a year. That means we'll save $465 million in Pennsylvania in just 1 year from these standards.

In Congress we don't always agree on much; but for the last 25 years, we have been able to agree on energy efficiency. And it's been good for the country and for American families and for the environment. So why would we wish to reverse this policy today? But you know, energy and cost savings aren't the only benefits from these standards.

Having lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my whole life, I have seen how efficiency can revolutionize an industry and revitalize a city. In the seventies, I worked two summers at J & L steel mill on Pittsburgh's south side. The industry was doing well, and Pittsburgh was a company town. But in a few years, that industry came to a screeching halt as international competitors were making steel using new technologies and more efficient processes, allowing them to undercut the price of U.S. steel. But the steel industry didn't leave the United States, and it didn't leave Pittsburgh. It reinvented itself. It got smarter and leaner and more energy efficient.

U.S. steelmakers started using blast oxygen furnaces rather than old open hearth furnaces that used more energy. They started doing continuous casting rather than ingots and molds that required reheating. They started using waste heat recovery and energy monitoring and management technologies. As a result, the U.S. steel industry has reduced the amount of energy needed to produce a ton of steel by 33 percent since 1990.

The lighting industry has already begun to revolutionize, much like the industrial steel industry did back in the nineties. When the industry agreed to these efficiency standards in 2007, it was because they knew they could innovate and still be profitable by making the incandescent bulb, yes, colleagues, the incandescent bulb more efficient and developing new technologies like compact fluorescents and LED light bulbs. And even better, the lighting industry began making those bulbs right here in the United States of America. Even in Pennsylvania, Sylvania retooled a plant in St. Mary's, Pennsylvania, to make these incandescent light bulbs that meet the energy efficiency standards that we passed in 2007.

They are being made in the United States by United States steelworkers in Pennsylvania, and you can find them on your shelf at the grocery store or the hardware store. Or you can get these Philips bulbs, also incandescent light bulbs, colleagues. They meet the energy standards that were set in 2007.

Steelworkers are making the filaments in these bulbs in Bath, New York. In fact, United Steelworkers is opposing this bill and telling us at a time when Americans continue to experience downward financial pressures, energy-efficient light bulbs present an everyday solution to a much-needed cost savings.

But it's not just steelworkers that are benefiting. Light bulbs that meet these standards are being made all over the United States of America. In 2011, TCP, one of the world's largest makers of CFLs, is opening a new factory in Ohio.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Miller of Michigan). The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. DOYLE. I yield myself 30 additional seconds.

CFL is making a new factory in Ohio to meet the demand. Seven thousand U.S. jobs have been created by companies like Cree in North Carolina, Lighting Science Group in Florida, and Lighting Philips Company, the world's biggest lighting company, to produce the next generation of efficient LED light bulbs. GE recently invested $60 million to create a Global Center of Excellence for linear fluorescent lamp manufacturing in Bucyrus, Ohio, an action that will double the number of jobs there.

New innovation and energy efficiency has brought jobs to this country. This is not the time to repeal these standards.


Washington, DC, July 11, 2011.
Washington, DC.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE: Today, Congress is expected to vote on the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act (HR 2417). On behalf of the 850,000 members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, I urge you to vote ``No'' on this bill that would repeal the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs that were enacted under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

The BULB Act would only serve to reverse the spirit of ingenuity that has taken place among light bulb manufactures since the passage of EISA. Rather than viewing the new efficiency laws as a reason to halt production and close their doors, domestic manufacturers, such as Osram Sylvania, decided to retrofit their existing facilities in Wellsboro and St. Mary's, Pennsylvania to produce energy efficient Sylvania Super Saver halogen bulbs. USW members manufacture the outer glass portion of the light bulbs at the Wellsboro facility and assemble the bulbs at the St. Mary's facility.

Osram Sylvania's decision to change their business model and use new technology to produce more energy efficient bulbs works towards our nation's overall goal of reducing our green house gas emissions, but also provides a tangible example of family-sustaining clean energy manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Additionally, these U.S.-made bulbs have been able to successfully compete against foreign-made compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, which have dominated the market and rely heavily on the use of mercury, which the Sylvania Super Saver halogen bulbs do not contain.

Lastly, at a time when American's continue to experience downward financial pressures, energy efficient light bulbs present an every-day solution to much needed cost-savings. A recent study conducted by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), found that repealing the energy efficiency standards would cause a seven percent or $85 increase in energy costs for the average household.

Again, we urge you to vote ``No'' on the Bulb Act, and instead to support the spirit of ingenuity, job creation and preservation and energy-savings that have resulted from the improved energy efficiency standards enacted in 2007.


Assistant to the President,
Legislative Director.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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