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Light saver: Spending bill throws lifeline to incandescent bulbs

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Thrown in the mix of the $1.1 trillion spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday is a nod to incandescent bulb lovers — language that prohibits funding for the burdensome light bulb standard that, in effect, banned a couple of the more popular wattage products from store shelves.

On Jan. 1, White House-backed new standards for incandescent bulbs went into effect, mandating that the 40-watt bulbs could only draw 10.5 watts of energy and the 60-watt bulb, only 11 watts of energy. The mandate had the effect of banning sales of these two wattages of bulbs and forcing consumers to buy the much more expensive compact fluorescents or LED lights.

But the incandescent bulbs may have new life.

The spending bill includes text that bans funding for what Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers called in Fox News "the administration's onerous 'light bulb' standard."

The pertinent section of the bill, 322, stated: "None of the funds made available in this Act may be used ... to implement or enforce the standards established by [certain tables] ... of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act."

Still, manufacturers may put incandescent bulbs out of business, some environmental insiders say.

"The market has marched forward despite this rider," said Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in the Fox News report. "The manufacturers have all been saying — we're going to comply anyway."

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