Congress Votes to Keep America ‘In the ‘Dark Ages' of Lighting

Statement by Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan

Washington, D.C., December 16, 2011 – "Last night, Congress voted to prohibit the Department of Energy from spending money to enforce a law that it ‘put on the books' in 2007, namely technology-neutral, light bulb efficiency standards that can save Americans money and energy. By attempting to reverse itself, the Congress is putting into jeopardy significant savings for consumers – $12 billion dollars a year – as well as the enormous potential benefits to the country – annual reduction in electricity use equivalent to 30 power plants and reduction in pollution equivalent to that produced by 14 million cars.

"The enactment of the light bulb standards in 2007 was supported by members from both sides of the political divide and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. And, importantly, the standards reflected the input and consensus of light bulb manufacturers who continue to support this money and energy-saving law.

"To reap the full benefits of the law, we must give the Department of Energy the ability to enforce it. Doing so will help protect manufacturers that have been working since 2007 to ensure that a huge variety of new, efficient, money-saving lighting products – including halogen incandescent bulbs and highly-efficient CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) – are available to consumers as we begin the transition to better lighting.

"When consumers try the new bulbs, they are overwhelmingly pleased with them. Two-thirds of Americans support the lighting standard (61% call it a good law), and 84% are satisfied or very satisfied with the alternative bulbs, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll (February 2011). According to a Consumer Reports survey, 77% of consumers selected an efficient product the last time they changed a light bulb.

"The Alliance to Save Energy is chagrined that the Congress is seeking to keep America ‘in the dark ages' of lighting even as the rest of the world -- led by China, Europe, Australia -- marches forward toward better and more efficient lighting products."

The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, the economy and national security.

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