Administration flips switch on light bulb regulations

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Federal regulators are lifting energy efficiency regulations for several common types of light bulbs, which critics believe is the administration's latest as...

Posted: Sep 5, 2019 11:08 AM

Federal regulators are lifting energy efficiency regulations for several common types of light bulbs, which critics believe is the administration's latest assault on efforts to combat climate change and energy use.

But the Trump administration said the overturned rules, crafted in the final days of the Obama administration and were set to take effect in January, would cause prices for light bulbs to skyrocket to untenable levels.

The original rules would have required energy-efficient versions, such as LEDs, of several common light bulbs including three-way incandescent, candle-shaped chandelier and recessed reflector bulbs.

"There's a very good rationale when you hear it," President Donald Trump said in the Oval Office on Wednesday. "And what's saved is not worth it. For the little they save, and what people were going through, it's not worth it. And price was another thing."

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said the law requires light bulb regulations "only when doing so would be economically justified," and that the Obama administration regulations do not meet that standard. The rule's text, posted to the Federal Register website on Wednesday, says the law outlining what the department can study changed in 2017.

The Obama-era rules "would increase the price ... by almost 300%, leaving the cost burden on American consumers and businesses," Hynes said. "This action will ensure that the choice of how to light homes and businesses is left to the American people, not the federal government."

But critics, such as Noah Horowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that and another change eyed by the administration "could cost the average US household more than $100 per year, adding $14 billion to Americans' annual energy bills as of 2025, and require at least 25 power plants' worth of extra electricity annually."

"The rollback will lead to higher energy bills for homes and businesses, plus significantly more pollution harming our health and the environment due to all the extra electricity that will need to be generated," Horowitz said.

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