Energy Secretary Steven Chu defends light bulb standards as GOP seeks repeal

Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Friday defended rules designed to boost light bulb efficiency as a group of Republicans led by Texas Congressman Joe Barton prepared for a House vote next week to repeal the regulations.

At stake is a 2007 energy law requiring that incandescent light bulbs be 30 percent more efficient by 2012.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the light bulb standards are a “commonsense” solution to both push forward American goals of energy efficiency and save consumers money. (AP Photo)

The energy efficient bulbs are more expensive than regular incandescent light bulbs but the new efficient incandescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs can last significantly longer than their counterparts.

Chu said the light bulb standards are a “commonsense” solution to both push forward American goals of energy efficiency and save consumers money.

“Right now, many families around the country are struggling to pay their bills,” Chu said. “And leaders in the House are looking to roll back commonsense standards that would save families money.”

Barton has said he believes it is not the job of the federal government to restrict light bulb purchases for Americans.

Former Virginia Sen. John Warner, a Republican, joined Chu in a conference call to contend that repealing the standards could cost the country to lose sight of its goal to be more energy efficient.

“This is highly symbolic as every single American, today, tomorrow and next week is going to be relying on a light bulb,” Warner said. “If they see that we are not going forward. . . we are going to lose momentum.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council issued a report Friday defending the new standards and asserting that they could save Americans $12.5 billion in energy costs nationally by 2020.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis (AP photo)

California, Texas and New York would be the biggest savers, the report found, each saving more than $1 billion annually in energy costs.

These bulbs will also save homeowners an average of $85 a year on their energy bills, said Andrew deLaski the executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, which contributed to the NRDC report.

Jim Presswood, an energy analyst at the NRDC, said party politics were the main reason the standards were now attracting controversy. He charged that some politicians, including Barton, did not help stop rumors that the government was banning all incandescent light bulbs.

Barton did not return multiple requests for comment.


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