Trump Administration wants to stop regulations on energy-efficient lightbulbs

Once again, the environment will likely take a back seat to President Donald Trump and his administration’s goals to reverse Obama-era regulations that would help make the planet cleaner and save consumers money in the long run. Trump’s administration announced that it wants to rollback a regulation that would have gone into effect to help make certain types of lightbulbs more energy efficient.


These days, many of the lightbulbs used by consumers are LED bulbs. These often look like the typical incandescent lightbulb, but only use a fraction of the energy, and last longer. Companies started making these bulbs after former President George W. Bush signed a law in 2007 that would change how companies manufactured bulbs so they would be more energy efficient. At the time, only the traditional lightbulb was affected – not specialty bulbs.


That changed at the end of the Obama-era thanks to the Department of Energy. Using the 2007 law as a basis for its decision, the DOE decided that specialty bulbs should be included in addition to traditional shaped bulbs. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association disagrees. According to NEMA’s general counsel, Clark Silcox, the DOE “exceeded its authority.” NEMA and the rest of the lighting industry immediately sued to reverse the rule including specialty lighting.


NEMA also contends that using the term “rollback” is wrong because:


“The Department of Energy cannot illegally roll back from a place that it could not legally stand upon in the first place.”


It specifically objects to the term because rolling back regulations designed for energy efficiency is against the law.

The president of the Alliance to Save Energy, Jason Hartke, wants to understand why the Trump administration and NEMA want to “turn back the clock” so to speak. Hartke said:


“There aren’t many people out there clamoring for outdated lightbulbs that use four or five times as much energy.”


Why go to these lengths just to force manufacturers to continue wasting energy and other resources when we can move forward, saving both – and saving consumers money? It seems as if the lighting industry doesn’t want the status quo to change at all, and they want to keep selling inefficient lightbulbs. Could it be because they are cheaper to make, and need to be replaced more often?

General counsel Silcox and the rest of the industry says no, that’s not what it’s doing. Instead, he says that companies in the lighting industry are indeed making more energy efficient bulbs – the LED bulbs. But if it’s true, it hasn’t stopped NEMA from suing the administration to reverse the Obama-era rule.

Eventually, the courts will solve the issue and determine whether the specialty bulbs fall under the 2007 law or not, but until then, we can expect that the Trump Administration will do what it can to reverse the DOE rule, as it proposed to NEMA. We can also expect this to be a protracted battle in the courts as any ruling would likely be appealed by the other side all the way up the chain until the appeals run out. Only time will tell who is on the winning side – let’s hope it’s the planet, whatever form it takes.



Featured Image by Singkham via Pexels/CC-0

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