Trump Rolls Back Energy Requirements for Billions of Light Bulbs


(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era rules that expanded energy-use requirements to some of the most commonly used light bulbs.

The Energy Department made public a final rule Wednesday that withdrew a requirement that light bulbs commonly used in recessed lighting, track lighting, bathroom vanities and decorative fixtures meet the same energy efficiency standards that effectively phased out the traditional incandescent bulb.

The Energy Department, in its rule, said the light bulb standards had been expanded under Obama “in a manner that is not consistent with the best reading of the statute,” and that its change “does not prevent consumers from from buying the lamps they desire.”

“What’s saved is not worth it, for the little they save,” President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday. He added that the efforts consumers had to go through and the cost also weren’t worth the savings.

The standards, which had been scheduled to take effect in January 2020, applied to roughly half of the six billion light bulbs in use today, and would save consumers billions of dollars in energy costs and avoid millions of tons in carbon dioxide emissions, according to environmental groups backing the rules.

“It makes zero sense to eliminate energy-saving light bulb standards that will save households money on electricity bills and cut climate change emissions by reducing the amount of coal and gas burned in power plants,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

Opponents of the standards include the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, whose members included General Electric Co., Osram Sylvania Inc. and Signify NV. They said it would risk American jobs and consumer choice.

The move to expand the light bulb standards was finalized in the waning days of the Obama administration and stems from energy legislation that passed in 2007 and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. That law, which has led to a dramatic increase in the use of LED light bulbs, includes a second requirement that the Energy Department decide whether to develop stricter light bulb standards for 2020.

The department announced via a proposal made public Wednesday that it has determined those rules don’t need to be changed.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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