Heartland Institute Reacts to House Effort to Repeal Light Bulb Ban

December 16, 2011

House Republicans have folded into the omnibus spending bill that will soon cross Obama's desk a rider that will block the ban on incandescent light bulbs through September 2012. The 100-watt bulb was scheduled to be illegal for sale in the United States starting in January, with lower-wattage bulbs phasing onto the banned list each year.

The following statements from energy and environment policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at tnash@heartland.org and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/731-9364.

“American consumers are smart enough to determine for themselves which form of light bulb best suits their particular needs. There is no compelling reason to take this decision away from free individuals, and the House should be applauded for confronting such nonsense.”

James M. Taylor
Senior fellow for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute

“The ban on incandescent light bulbs came to symbolize governmental incompetence – and rightly so.

“In the name of saving energy, Congress was forcing Americans to replace light bulbs that worked just fine with new-fangled bulbs that supposedly were more energy efficient. Problem was they caught on fire, exploded, gave off weird light one couldn't easily read by, had uncertain life spans, and were extremely expensive.

“Worse yet, if the new-fangled bulbs broke, they scattered highly toxic mercury in American homes and required special disposal methods when they burned out. At a time when coal-fired electrical plants are an endangered species because they emit mercury, it was insane for government to replace one source of toxins with another.

“Fortunately, Congress came to its senses this week and enacted legislation revoking the ban. Let's hope Obama signs the bill.  Either way, I should be OK. I'm the proud owner of dozens of stockpiled 100-watt bulbs.”

Maureen Martin
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
920/ 295-6032

“Although this is just a temporary measure, it's good to see the House leadership reversing one of the fatuous big-government intrusions perpetrated by a previous Congress and the George W. Bush administration. The public pressure on Republicans in particular in recent years appears to be having the desired effect. Perhaps this will shed some light on how disconnected the federal government has become from the people it is supposed to serve.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute

“Environmentalists need to realize that forcing people to change their actions to meet their own goals will never be an effective way to broaden their coalition. Their efforts to control our actions through coercion, when persuasion has failed, are unsustainable and have already shown their limits. Let CFLs – and any other ‘green’ product – compete in the marketplace, thereby giving consumers the freedom to choose which product they deem superior.”

John Monaghan
Legislative Specialist for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.