Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

112th Congress HR2417 – Better Use of Light Bulbs Act


This Bill has already failed, but it illustrates how the priorities of the republicans stray from the priorities of the country. It also serves as a commentary on the technical competence of knee-jerk legislation.

The Bill:

[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 2417 Introduced in House (IH)]
112th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2417
To repeal certain amendments to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act 
  with respect to lighting energy efficiency, and for other purposes.
_______________________________________________________________________
                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                              July 6, 2011
Mr. Barton of Texas (for himself, Mr. Akin, Mr. McClintock, Mr. Flores, 
   Mr. Hultgren, Mr. Turner, Mr. Wolf, Mrs. Lummis, Mrs. Capito, Mr. 
Scalise, Mr. McKinley, Mr. Burgess, Mrs. Blackburn, Mr. Goodlatte, Mr. 
 Poe of Texas, and Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas) introduced the 
   following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and 
                                Commerce
_______________________________________________________________________
                                 A BILL
To repeal certain amendments to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act 
  with respect to lighting energy efficiency, and for other purposes.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the “Better Use of Light Bulbs Act”.
SEC. 2. LIGHTING ENERGY EFFICIENCY.
    (a) In General.–Sections 321 and 322 of the Energy Independence 
and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) are repealed.
    (b) Application.–The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 
6201 et seq.) shall be applied and administered as if sections 321 and 
322 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (and the 
amendments made by those sections) had not been enacted.
SEC. 3. MERCURY-CONTAINING LIGHTING.
    No Federal, State, or local requirement or standard regarding 
energy efficient lighting shall be effective to the extent that the 
requirement or standard can be satisfied only by installing or using 
lamps containing mercury.
SEC. 4. STATE REGULATION.
    No State or local regulation, or revision thereof, concerning the 
energy efficiency or energy use of medium screw base general service 
incandescent lamps shall be effective.
SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.
    In this Act, the terms “general service incandescent lamp”, 
“lamp”, and “medium screw base” have the meanings given those terms 
pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6201 et 
seq.), as applied and administered pursuant to section 2.
                                 <all>

Analysis

Section 1:

A cute use of an acronym, but it does not really apply to the Bill. The Bill is about choice, not best practices.
HR91 and S395 use the same name.

Section 2:

A sweeping statement that a section of law is repealed does not actually modify the law. Rather, it complicates the law with conditional statements. This bill creates the very same burdensome bureaucratic rat’s nest legal code that everyone wants to simplify and streamline. The final modifications of 42 U.S.C. Chapter 77 (a.k.a. 42 U.S.C. 6201 et seq.) are not specified here, but left vague and open to interpretation. This bill represents the legislative laziness that creates problems and drives up legal costs.
What they should have written might have looked more like:
 (a) In General.–Sections 321 and 322 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) are repealed.
 (b) Application.–(precise instructions on how to unwind 110-140, Sec. 321 and Sec. 322)
 (c) Rulemaking.–(precise instructions on how to unwind rules required by or based on 110-140, Sec. 321 and Sec. 322)
 (d) Expenditures.–(precise instructions on how to remove funding for programs enacted by 110-140, Sec. 321 and Sec. 322)

Section 3:

This section is curious for a few reasons:
  1. With the development of full-spectrum LED lights, this section is rendered useless. LED lights can meet any requirement of standard that florescent lights could. The exception would be for ballast requirements that have nothing to do with bulb choice.
  2. Supposed protection from mercury in the bulbs (less than a thermometer’s worth) would be more than offset by the extra coal ash generated. Coal ash contains mercury, some of which goes into the air. Light bulbs containing mercury must be recycled, they cannot be put in the trash. The whole mercury-in-landfill argument is false.
  3. It explicitly prohibits state or local government from setting a higher standard. Setting a minimum national standard is one thing, preventing the states from improving on it is another thing entirely.

Section 4:

Another mindless anti-state/local sovereignty restriction. Interestingly, it may also be anti-innovation.
“There’s a massive misperception that incandescents are going away quickly,” said Chris Calwell, a researcher with Ecos Consulting who studies the bulb market. “There have been more incandescent innovations in the last three years than in the last two decades.”
and
“Due to the 2007 federal energy bill that phases out inefficient incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012, we are finally seeing a race” to develop more efficient ones, said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Constitutional Authority Statement:

By Mr. BARTON of Texas:
H.R. 2417.
Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following:
This bill is enacted pursuant to the power granted to Congress under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution.
U. S. Const., Art I, Sec. 8, clause 3:
[The Congress shall have Power] “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”
I might add:
U. S. Const., Art I, Sec. 8, clause 18:
[The Congress shall have Power] “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
Seems to be an incomplete Authority without the power to write the laws that exercise the allotted powers.
I would also like to note that this Bill was written under the assertion that the Federal government lacks the authority to write the law it is attempting to repeal, while using the same allegedly non-existent Constitutional Authority for this Bill.
It has been estimated that this Bill would directly cost consumers $6-12B in additional energy costs in order to feed anti-government sentiments. The indirect costs of additional air pollution and energy-dependence have not been calculated, to my knowledge. This is a very high cost for no purpose other than partisan politician gain.
{UPDATE} The republicans seem to have found a way to temporarily defund enforcement.
Oooopsy. GOP attack on light-bulb efficiency irks manufacturers

July 18, 2011 Posted by | Legislation, Strangelove | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist Split On Ethanol Subsidies


I would like to throttle back the ethanol subsidies, though not eliminate them completely­. But not for the reasons the Koch brothers give.

The campaign to promote corn ethanol drove up the price of corn, which benefited the corn farmers. It also encouraged new businesses and job creation, as well as diluting our dependence on oil for transportation.

But at a price…

As demand for corn skyrocketed, the price also rose. Because the price went up, more fields were planted with corn. More corn fields meant less fields devoted to other grains, which led to low supply and high prices for other grains. That raised the price of foods derived from grains and food animals fed on grains.

In short, it drove up the price of food. Worldwide.

What would I do?

1) Cap corn ethanol at 10% mixture.
2) Keep subsidies for small “blenders”­, but greatly reduce or eliminate subsidies for the rest. (research would be required to determine a proper threshold.) Betraying the small startups would hurt the government­’s ability to lead the economy into the future instead of letting it decline in the past.
3) Bring oil speculatio­n back into regulated markets, where they belong. I would tax windfall profits of oil speculator­s by at least 50% – their pursuit of profits severely hurts the economy.
3a) If (3) is not feasible, then bypass the market entirely by having the federal government buy directly from the producer on contract and sell at a slight profit to the domestic market. This is probably the best option for the country (and the world).

And the Koch brothers? They are the evil behind the high price of oil speculation. They’ll survive:
http://thi­nkprogress­.org/repor­t/koch-oil­-speculati­on/
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Capitalism, Economics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

John Shimkus, GOP Rep. Who Denies Climate Change On Religious Grounds, Could Lead House Environmental Policy


Considering how often they talk about personal responsibility, republicans usually find a way to rationalize evading responsibility for their own actions.

This is one of the most mind-numbingly irresponsible assertions I have ever heard. After all the “personal responsibility” lectures, now they give us the “hell no to responsibility, God won’t let us fail” line? No wonder they are so cool to the START treaty.

Given the dangers of hydraulic fracturing and the growing demand for natural gas, and a public programmed to believe we have easy access to huge reserves if only the government would “get out of the way”, the republicans are poised to give license the the oil industry to literally destroy this country from the ground water up.

Republicans keep coming up with new ways to hurt this country beyond the wildest dreams of our worst enemies, and still make the ideas popular with the masses.

The more religious zealots strengthen their grip on their spiritual world and loosen their grip on the physical world, the more they fit the definition of insane.

How is John Shimkus any different from a suicide bomber, when it comes to personal responsibility and concern for consequences?

This is a prime example of why religion and government are incompatible.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The more they strengthen their grip on their spiritual world and loosen their grip on the physical world, the more they fit the definition of insane.

How is John Shimkus any different than a suicide bomber, when it comes to personal responsibility and concern for consequences?

This is a prime example of why religion and government are incompatible.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Environment, Regulation, Religion | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy


Unemployment woesWe have become a nation divided by ideology. Community vs individualism. Pride and honor vs avarice and power. Perseverance vs instant gratification. Federalism vs Confederacy. Republic vs Corporatocracy.

Capitalism has not only reached across the border, it has straddled it. The economic model of a national economy is fundamentally broken. American workers and American corporations do not function in the same economy. That has to be fixed before we can prosper again.

Capitalism is not a form of government, no matter how many people try to make it one. It is a culture of competing and conflicting self-interests, not leadership. Under the domination of conservatism, we surrendered the initiative to others. The future went from 10 years (Space Race) to 3 months as we became fixated on quarterly profits. Economic myopia.

We need to develop new industries and oil independence, but conservatives resist. For 10 years, we tried the conservative approach in it’s extreme. Environmental law, anti-trust law, regulation, and budgetary restraint were all sacrificed in the name of conservative-style economic growth. And what did we get for it? Private sector job growth in decline for 10 years. Bush43 created only 3m net jobs, the worst performance on record. Wages stagnated, fraud flourished, the economy weakened and inevitably fell into recession.

We have a private sector that cannot get out of it’s own way. Banks rushing to foreclose on properties they cannot prove they have a legal right to foreclose on, using bogus documentation, driving down the value of the property they are ceasing – trampling due process and individual rights in the process.

If we are to recover from this recession, if we are to create meaningful numbers of new jobs, we need new industries and modern infrastructure. We need to recognize the limitations of capitalism, and adapt accordingly.

New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Direction, Economics, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Year of Regulatory Disasters


USGS scientists collecting water-quality sampl...

Image via Wikipedia

It seems like for conservatives, regulatory failure is not only an option, it is a goal.

If Big Oil manages to poison the ground water in New York with their hydraulic fracturing, I cannot imagine them buying up all the worthless property they would create – including NYC – which would have to be abandoned due to lack of usable fresh water. Poisoning the ground water of an area is a disaster that cannot be recovered from.

The latest problem surfaced in Pennsylvania.

Of course, we can count on the individual State to protect the rights and safety of it’s citizens from the depredations of moneyed interests:

Alison Rose Levy: ‘Gasland’: When Going to the Movie Means You’re a Terrorist

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

September 19, 2010 Posted by | Capitalism, Environment, Regulation | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rand Paul: Obama Is Forcing The EPA ‘Down Our Throats’



Growing up, I did not know that coal plants produced large amounts of waste other than the soot and smoke. It was not until recent years that I learned the waste had toxic elements in it.

I would far rather have the EPA “forced down my throat” than the poisons of corporate greed and irresponsibility.

The true cost of “cheap” coal has gone unnoticed and unappreciated. It is time we know the truth, and recognize the full costs.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

By all means, put the regulators as close as possible to the money. The miners will be dying to maximize the conflict of interest and corruption that local regulation would encourage.

The states should be regulating their mines themselves, but their ability and willingness to do so is questionable.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | Environment, Regulation | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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