Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan – the man running against Texas Rep. Joe Barton to be Chairman of the Energy and Commerce committee in the next Congress– has reversed his position on CFL light bulbs. The move is significant not only because Upton wants to be chairman of one of the House’s most powerful committees, but also because he championed the incandescent bulb ban and switch to CFLs just three short years ago.
Now, Upton says that if he becomes chair of the Energy Committee, he will help undo the law he was instrumental in getting passed. He even went a step further by admitting Congress can make mistakes – a candid admission that symbolizes Upton may be trying to solidify his conservative credentials with the incoming class of “Tea Party” Republicans.
“The last thing we wanted to do was infringe upon personal liberties — and this has been a good lesson that Congress does not always know best,” Upton said in a statement.
The ban on incandescent bulbs was incorporated into the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act that was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Since then, however, consumers have by and large balked at the idea of completely switching over to so-called environmentally friendly bulbs.
As The Daily Caller previously reported, some consumers have even resorted to stockpiling incandescent bulbs before the ban goes into full effect in 2012.
Initially lobbied for by the environmental community, CFL bulbs have since been labeled a health hazard because of their high mercury content. When the ban was passed, proponents argued CFLs lasted longer and were more energy efficient.
Barton, who would needs a waiver to serve as committee chairman, introduced a bill back in September to undo the ban. The House Republican Steering Committee is slated to vote on the chairmanship later today.