Congressman Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, is leading the fight in the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn the pending ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs. A bill passed in 2007 and signed into law by then President George W. Bush calls for switching the country to using compact fluorescent lamp bulbs. While the new CFL bulbs may use less electrical energy, they do have their share of drawbacks. Not the least of which is their expense, costing many times more than the old fashion light bulbs, some individual bulbs sell for as much as $50 a piece. Another major problem is that the new bulbs are that they are very toxic, containing mercury and other hazardous materials.
Meanwhile, the State of Texas has moved to become the first state to reject the new federal law. Governor Rick Perry has declared that incandescent light bulbs made and sold only in Texas are not subject to any federal interstate commerce regulations. The new law passed by the Texas state legislature and signed by Gov. Perry will allow for the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs. Pennsylvania and South Carolina state legislatures are proposing similar laws.
Supporters of the CFL bulbs say that the new federal ban will save the average American household some $85 per year in lower energy costs. This number is dubious, given the higher cost of the bulbs themselves, plus the lower light output of CFL bulbs could mean that more such bulbs would be needed for the same illumination. While supporters argue that the new bulbs last many times longer, even that claim is subject to manufacturing quality control. Most of the new bulbs are already being made overseas, often from China.
The House is expected to begin debate on the bill by Rep. Joe Barton of Texas to overturn the ban on incandescent light bulbs. This while his home State of Texas passed its own bill to skirt the federal law promoting the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs. The 2007 federal law was passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress, though George W. Bush did sign it into law. Many believe that the new law will only create a black market for old fashioned light bulbs and actually wind up costing consumers more and losing more American jobs.