California defies Trump Administration on lightbulb efficiency standards

Another front of the battle between California and the Trump Administration is the lowly light bulb. Incandescent and Halogen bulbs cannot meet a standard laid out in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), and under that law if the Federal Government fails to take action by January 1, 2020, then the Federal Government must prohibit light bulbs that do not meet a 45-lumens-per-Watt threshold. Given the Trump Administration’s feet-dragging on this matter, the California Energy Commission has proposed a ban on inefficient light bulbs.

California claims its proposal will save California between $736 million and $2.4 billion annually from lower electricity costs. The savings come from electricity that does not have to be generated, and a positive side benefit is the lowering of environmental damage from generating that electricity.

According to Utility Dive, under federal law California and Nevada are not precluded from establishing their own rules for “general service lamps” if the federal government does not do so. Further, the EISA law has a “backstop” requirement that if there are no federal government requirements for energy efficient lighting by Jan 1, 2020, then the federal government must ban inefficient light bulbs.

For its part the Trump Administration argues that the Obama Administration illegally expanded the scope of lightbulbs that are considered “general service lamps”. Therefore the Trump Administration claims to not be failing to implement the required 45-lumens-per-Watt standard.

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California’s proposal includes “the three-way, flame- or candle-shaped and globe-shaped bulbs used in bathroom vanities” in the definition of general service lamps. Doing so greatly increases the number of bulbs that will be affected by the rule change, which then greatly increases the impact of the change.

The US Dept of Energy has rejected applying the 45-lumens-per-Watt standard to normal “pear shaped bulbs” at the Federal level. Several State’s have filed lawsuit against the DOE claiming the USA is missing out on Billions of Dollars of economic benefits because the DOE is not taking action on this issue.

In the same context – the Trump Administration is attacking California over its clean air rules for cars and other vehicles. In that case the EPA has revoked California’s right to set its own emissions policy. That policy is good enough that a couple dozen US States have adopted those policies. As a result California and 23 other States have filed a lawsuit against the EPA.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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