The ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and one of the men vying to be the next chair of the powerful panel when Republicans take over the House next year, [Texas Rep. Joe] Barton laid out his plan for, essentially, undoing most of what President Obama and Democrats accomplished in the past two years. He laid out the central fronts: the battle to repeal what he calls “Obamacare,” the fight against the EPA, backing the growing insurgency opposed to net neutrality regulations, taking on “environmental radicalism” and – of course – defending the “traditional, incandescent light bulb” against government regulators who want to replace it with what Barton called “the little, squiggly, pig-tailed ones.”
Why stop there? What about the kerosene lamp and campfire lobbies?
Adding … the context of this is the most important thing. I am less concerned about individual members of Congress holding what may be less-than-scientific views than I am about specific members who seriously want to be considered for leading one of the most important Congressional committees. Barton has a pattern of what is, at best, intellectual clumsiness, such of hinting at a belief at pseudo-scientific explanations and an unwillingness to hold himself above the fray.
Adding … a video of Barton’s comments is now available. The CFL comments start about the 14:00 minute mark.
Also adding … if my memory serves me correctly, the 2007 energy bill Barton refers to didn’t directly reference any specific type of light bulb, i.e., it didn’t outlaw incandescents or bless CFLs. This USA Today piece reports on this legislation pretty much as I remember it: It only mandated a phase-in of energy-efficient lighting, ending in 2020:
Under the measure, all light bulbs must use 25% to 30% less energy than today’s products by 2012 to 2014. The phase-in will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70% more efficient.
Compact fluorescent bulbs already meet the 70% efficiency standard. A compact fluorescent costs about $2, vs. about 50 cents for an incandescent.
While an incandescent lasts about seven months, a fluorescent burns six times longer. It also saves about $5 a year in electricity costs, paying for itself in as little as four months, says Steve Nadel, head of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Other bulbs are emerging. Home Depot (HD) has started selling a $5 Philips halogen that’s 30% more efficient than incandescents. Its advantage: It doesn’t emit the yellowish tints that can characterizes fluorescents, and it can easily be used with a dimmer.
General Electric (GE) says it’ll develop an incandescent that’s 30% stingier than today’s bulbs by 2010. Earl Jones, a GE senior counsel, says it likely will cost more than current bulbs but less than a fluorescent.