Friday, March 11, 2011

Right to Light

The beginning of 2011 marked the start of the phaseout of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs in California. But unlike for the nationwide long-term phaseout of incandescent bulbs, don't expect a lot of talk about black markets or stockpiling.

The new requirements do not ban traditional incandescents, but require that they use 72 watts or less. The new halogen bulbs emit the same amount of light, but use less energy at a comparable price.

Although the California law has not created a ton of controversy, the 2007 federal law mandating the gradual switch to energy effecient bulbs is being challenged by the Republican majority. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann is pushing the "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act," arguing that the mandate is another example of the US "nanny state" limiting consumer liberty.

The bill demands that the GAO (Government Accountability Office) prove that the new bulbs save money, prevent carbon emmissions, and are safe.

So the question remains, do bulb bans - and consumer restrictions in general - represent an important step forward for the greening of America? Or is big government restricting what should be a personal choice? Email your thoughts to or comment below

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