Obama Outlaws More Light Bulbs On His Way Out The Door

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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The Department of Energy (DOE) outlawed more light bulbs Thursday in a final regulatory surge from the outgoing Obama administration.

President Barack Obama’s DOE expanded the class of bulbs covered by a 2007 light bulb ban to include bug lights, three-way bulbs, “rough service lamps,” and some decorative bulbs, such as globe-shaped bulbs. Bulbs that had previously been exempt from the ban are now included in the new regulation.

The administration argued the expansion is needed because consumers might use the unregulated bulbs to replace regulated ones. “DOE expects these sales will likely increase since these lamps could be used as replacements for other regulated lamp types,” the law reads.

Manufacturers make the now outlawed globe-shaped bulbs that had previously met the standards, but consumers were left with the option to buy globe-shaped bulbs of the old type.

The law doesn’t go into effect for another three years.

The Obama administration banned sales of the 100-watt incandescent light bulb in 2012 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was taking hold.

Conservatives complained at the time, calling the bans an infringement on their right to chose how they light their homes and businesses.

“Congress should not be picking winners and losers, allowing big corporate donors to dictate what consumer products we can and can’t buy!” the conservative Eagle Forum wrote in 2012. “If we don’t take a stand to save our light bulbs, what will they go after next?”

Advocates of the phase-out bans believe the regulations will increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and lead to greater technological innovation.

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