Rep. Burgess on light bulbs: When choices are limited ‘people are going to start paying attention’

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With 100-watt incandescent light bulbs set to disappear from store shelves next year, questions remain about the fate of Edison’s famed invention.

Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess has been fighting against implementation of the new efficiency standards laid out in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which will gradually mandate tougher standards and phase out the older bulbs.

“It’s a tough deal, I have to stock up on light bulbs, I have to stock up on my CFC-containing asthma inhaler. Is my government at war with me or what?” Burgess said in an interview with The Daily Caller. “They don’t want me to see, they don’t want me to breathe.”

Over the summer Burgess sponsored an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill to prevent the enforcement of the 2007 mandated phase out. The amendment passed but the Democratically-controlled Senate could present a problem for his legislation’s ultimate passage.

Burgess contends that there are allies in the Senate who are pushing to keep his amendment alive. If it does not get through, however, Burgess said the fight will continue through 2012.

“Who should be driving the market? It gets to the question. Was it Nancy Pelosi? Was it the House of Representatives? Was the While House? Really, consumers should be driving the market,” he said, adding, “Consumers ought to be driving the marketplace, not the government. That is the bottom line here.”

According to Burgess, the light bulb issue has not been at the forefront of voters’ minds, and once consumers see their choices limited there will be more pressure on Washington to loosen the restrictions.

“[In] Washington, D.C. there are no permanent victories, there are no permanent defeats. We will continue to try to push this and quite honestly this is one of those things that has kind of been under the radar for a lot of people,” he said. “When they are suddenly faced with the fact that, ‘Hey, my choices are now pretty limited and if I have an area that needs a lot of light and I am having to make a purchase that is 30 times in cost what it used to be,’ people are going to start paying attention.”

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