Time to See the Light

Ever since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, many of us have been stockpiling incandescent lightbulbs. The act imposed a ban on them starting in 2012, in favor of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).
With Republicans gaining back the House, some pundits have asked that one of the first things they do is to repeal this law. Our own Tennessee representative, Marsha Blackburn, has been at the forefront of this fight.
Now it is coming to a head because John Boehner will decide the chairmanship of he Energy and Commerce committee soon. The choice is between Joe Barton of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan. Upton was actually a co-sponsor of the act passed in 2007; Barton has co-authored legislation to repeal it. Whoever is chosen will have a big influence on this issue.
It matters first, because conservatives don’t feel that the government’s reach should extend to the lamp on our bedside. That was not what Washington and the gang hoped for at Valley Forge.
Then there are the hazards issues. A man recounts his experiment with a CFL, a socket and a dimmer. He says fireworks ensued within five minutes. Try this at home if you doubt it, but keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Add to that the problem of mercury in the CFLs. We are told to be wary of mercury’s dangers to the body, yet no one seems to care what happens when one breaks and exposes you to it. Or, that they must be disposed of properly – something 99% of Americans won’t take the trouble to do.
As for energy savings, it takes 15 minutes for one to be on to achieve its maximum savings. So it’s useless in an area where you might need to turn on the lights for just a minute. CFLs are expensive, too; poor people will have to spend much more to buy one than they can probably afford.
What happens next depends on Boehner. If he chooses Upton it will indicate that he has a less conservaive bent than most of us want. It could be a bad omen for his future inclinations. If he chooses Barton, Boehner will show that he understands and will push for limited government.
Let’s see which way he flips.

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