Texas' War on behalf of the Incandescent Light Bulb Dies a Quiet, Predictable Death

HestonLightBulb.jpg
Via.
In 2011, state lawmakers took a break from slashing school funding, dreaming up new abortion restrictions and fighting against the encroachment of Islamic law to do battle with a new enemy: the compact fluorescent light bulb.

More and more, those tightly coiled tubes were replacing Edison's good ol' incandescent bulbs, thanks in no small part to federal energy efficiency standards requiring bulbs to be 25 percent more efficient. It wasn't a ban, per se, but it had the same effect, since incandescent light bulbs work by heating a metal filament, and there's a limit to how efficient they can be.

Texas Republican's declared this to be a gross violation of every American's fundamental right to buy whatever damn light bulb they choose, so they rallied behind a bill filed by state Representative George Lavender of Texarkana effectively telling the federal government to shove it.

That was the rhetoric, at least. The bill itself, which Governor Rick Perry signed readily upon passage, wasn't so much a resounding statement against federal authority as an awkward sidestep around an innocuous federal rule. For traditional incandescent light bulbs to sold in Texas, they would also have to be manufactured in Texas, thereby circumventing federal authority over interstate commerce. Lavender didn't ignore the fact that Texas lacks a light bulb manufacturing plant; he simply pinned the bill on the hope that someone would build one to cater exclusively to Texans, since the product would be forbidden elsewhere.

That hasn't happened. A year ago, Lavender posited that bulb makers were being intimidated by the federal government but remained optimistic that one would set up shop in Texas. Now, he seems resigned to the thought that incandescent bulbs are a thing of the past.

"The most disappointing thing to me is that we haven't found anyone willing to put in a plant and make them," Lavender told the Austin American-Statesman, which reported Wednesday on the dimming hopes of fending off CFLs.

Of course, that was never a very serious proposition. First is basic economics. No way would a light bulb manufacturer scale down manufacturing operations to serve a single state, even one as large as Texas. That would make very little business sense. Then there's the fact that the industry has already adapted to changing consumer tastes and a changing regulatory environment, as was made clear when light bulb manufacturers lined up against a Tea Party-led effort to defund the new light bulb standards.

Now that that's clear, perhaps Texas politicians can turn to more significant issues, like luring a Hummer plant here to flaunt Obama's new vechicle efficiency standards.


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11 comments
roo_ster
roo_ster

The gov't needs to keep its damned hands off my 100W incandescent bulbs and my 3.5gal flush toilets.

NewsDog
NewsDog

... he simply pinned the bill on the hope...

pinned??  Did he attach his bill on to another piece of legislation or did you use spellcheck as a copy editor?

Perhaps you meant penned? You supposedly make your living with words, demonstrate some ability. 

Now a different question: Have they ever figured out what is going to happen when the mercury in those CFBs starts getting into the landfills and starts leeching into the water table?  

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Al Jazeera acquires Current TV

The Wall Street Journal reports that Glenn Beck–who approached Current TV about a sale last year–was too right-wing for the Al Gore network to even consider his offer. But an authoritarian-Islamist government that has criminalized homosexuality, discriminates against non-Muslims, prosecutes journalists, and has a “Not Free” rating from Freedom House? That was fine:

Current Media co-founder and CEO Joel Hyatt emails: "Al and I are thrilled and proud to announce that a few moments ago Current was acquired by Al Jazeera, the award winning international news organization. When considering the several suitors who were interested in acquiring Current, it became clear to us that Al Jazeera was founded with the same goals we had for Current: To give voice to those whose voices are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the important stories that no one else is telling. Al Jazeera, like Current, believes that facts and truth lead to a better understanding of the world around us."

BWAAAAAHHAAAAAHHAAAAAA!

lolotehe
lolotehe

@pak152 Looks like the real story's in the side-bar. TV stars with diabetes and THE BEST KEY LIME PIE.

cornydoggy
cornydoggy

@NewsDog I think he's using it in the context of attaching his support or ultimate success of the bill to the hope that a plant would be built.  But I see what you mean too.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@holmantx - Not quite sure what your point is. The Western left has never had a beef with radical Islam or their cultural imperatives. The characterization of these cultural differences as "human rights abuses" by right wing extremists is simply cultural ignorance. Mr. Gore should be commended for acting in everyone's best interests by denying Beck the opportunity to poision America's airwaves with his hateful cultural ignorance. Alluh Akhbar, amigo.

ruddski
ruddski

@holmantx 

Al-Gore also had to rush the deal through to avoid higher taxes.

cornydoggy
cornydoggy

@holmantx Huh?  Al Jazeera is not an Islamic government.  It is a media organization.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@pak152 @cornydoggy @holmantx True -Al Jazeera is owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Media Corporation and headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Its funding comes from the Qatar government. In 2010, United States Department of State internal communications, released by WikiLeaks as part of the 2010 diplomatic cables leak, claim that the Qatar government manipulates Al Jazeera coverage to suit political interests. The Guardian also claimed in September 2012 that Qatar has taken steps in recent years to consolidate control of Al Jazeera English.

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