Legislators passed a bill Thursday that would try to exempt South Carolina from new federal light bulb restrictions.
As part of the 2007 Energy Dependence and Security Act, manufacturers will begin phasing out traditional incandescent light bulbs next year in favor of more energy-efficient “compact fluorescent lamps” (CFLs).
Rep. Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee) says he has several problems with the new bulbs.
The color of the light is poor. The brilliance is poor. They take a long time to come on… They’re more expensive and, yet, they don’t last any longer as an incandescent bulb in the same light fixture.
Sandifer and Rep. Dwight Loftis (R-Greenville) crafted a bill that would allow a company that makes the traditional bulbs to continue selling them in South Carolina– but only if the company manufactures them in the state.
Currently, there is one company in South Carolina that manufactures incandescent bulbs. American Light Bulb Manufacturing, Inc. has a small plant in Mullins which employs 15 people.
Sandifer said it was an attempt to get around the “interstate commerce” clause that allows the federal government to control what is sold in the individual states.
These rights to have the kind of light bulb you want and need are our rights. They are not given to the federal government. As is so often the case, when the Feds want to abridge our 10th Amendment rights… they use the Commerce clause.
The bill passed 76-20, but it was not along party lines. Many Democrats supported it, while some Republicans voted against it. One of those opponents was Rep. Jim Merrill (R-Charleston).
It seems like a little bit of a knee-jerk reaction. We eventually are going to have to do something about conserving energy and moving towards a more long-term energy policy. I don’t think that just… throwing dirt at the wall and hoping it’ll stick is going to do it.
Merrill said he felt the state would be better off helping American Light Bulb Manufacturing convert over to the new bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs cost less than CFLs, but the US Energy Department estimates CFLs last at least four times longer. CFLs also waste less energy given off as heat. The federal legislation requires general-purpose bulbs to be 30 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs by 2014.
The bill will go through another procedural vote next week before it heads to the Senate, where its future is very uncertain.