Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Light Bulbs and Economic Nightmares

Is it really likely that the political opponents to President Obama (and any Democrat) will embrace economic failure in hopes it would hurt a re-election of Obama (or any Democrat)?

A very strong indication of this took place during a vote Tuesday in Congress - a vote based on emotional madness which rejects facts and instead embraces myths.

As I mentioned yesterday, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn (and every Republican representative in the state signed on as co-sponsors) wailed that the evil liberal government was poised to outlaw the humble light bulb and eliminate all humble incandescent light bulbs. None of their claims were true. And in a push to get a vote to repeal energy efficiency, they needed a two-thirds majority to pass their bogus bill. The failed - only two TN reps., Cohen and Cooper voted no. Reps. Black, Blackburn, DesJarlais, Duncan, Fincher, Fleischmann, and Roe all voted to support the fake fears of light bulb bans.

Industry leaders all pointed out before the vote just how the plan to increase energy efficiency actually is driving innovation and job creation:

Blackburn and others also note that most CFLs – Blackburn in her House floor speech Monday said “all” – are made in China, and that the last major General Electric plant making ordinary incandescent bulbs, in Winchester, Va., closed last September, taking 200 jobs.

Those bulbs, which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based think tank, says waste 90 percent of the electricity they consume as heat, cannot meet the energy standards that go into effect in 2012.

But the NRDC notes that the 2007 increased efficiency standards have been embraced by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the trade association for domestic light manufacturers, as well as the leading manufacturers themselves.

NRDC points out that the standards have “jump-started domestic industry investment in research and development and production of more efficient lighting products.”

It points to a factory in St. Marys, Pa., retooling to make more efficient incandescent bulbs, a new factory for
CFLs opening in Ohio this year and “thousands of jobs” being created by companies such as Cree, Lighting Science Group and Phillips Lighting.

The NRDC also released a statement quoting Barry Edison Stone, the great-grandson of the inventor of the incandescent bulb, suggesting proponents of the repeal of the higher standards are “narrow-minded.”

And again, more facts get ignored:

"The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014.

Furthermore, all sorts of exemptions are written into the law, which means that all sorts of bulbs are getting a free pass and can keep their energy-guzzling ways indefinitely, including “specialty bulbs” like the Edison bulbs favored by Mr. Henault, as well as three-way bulbs, silver-bottomed bulbs, chandelier bulbs, refrigerator bulbs, plant lights and many, many others."

So if folks like Blackburn and other Republicans across the nation knowingly distort facts and reality over light bulbs - then how much more distortion are they willing to endorse in a fantasy of economic policy?

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bachmann and Blackburn Stir Fear With Fake Light Bulb Ban

"The cost per each new high-efficiency bulb does tend to be a bit higher, Appliance Standards Awareness Project executive director Andrew deLaski said, but the savings achieved through lower energy costs evens that out in an average of six months.
Tennessee's Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is promoting a frenzied warning that your American Freedom is under attack by Evil Liberal Light Bulb laws -- and she is totally wrong.

She's making bogus claims that incandescent light bulbs are about to be illegal, banned, and instead everyone will be forced to buy only compact flourescent (CFL) bulbs -- in her email she hysterically and wrongly says:

In 2007, Congress passed legislation known as the "Energy Independence and Security Act" which contains a subsection that bans the sale of incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012.

"The banning of incandescent light bulbs is another attack on the basic individual freedom of every American.

And then she pushes a petition for you to sign, which reads:

"I strongly object to the attempts of liberal Democrats to take away yet another or our individual freedoms! I wholeheartedly support Congressman Blackburn in her efforts to repeal that section of the Energy Independence and Security Act, which will ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs. I demand the right to continue to purchase incandescent light bulbs - one of Thomas Edison's greatest inventions."

Her claims are false.

Blogger Southern Beale calls her out in this post There Is No Light Bulb Ban.

How about a few facts to counter the lies of folks like Rush Limbaugh and presidential wanna-be Michelle Bachmann?

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.”

The first bulbs to emerge from this push, Philips Lighting’s Halogena Energy Savers, are expensive compared with older incandescents. They sell for $5 apiece and more, compared with as little as 25 cents for standard bulbs.

But they are also 30 percent more efficient than older bulbs. Philips says that a 70-watt Halogena Energy Saver gives off the same amount of light as a traditional 100-watt bulb and lasts about three times as long, eventually paying for itself.

The line, for now sold exclusively at Home Depot and on, is not as efficient as compact fluorescent light bulbs, which can use 75 percent less energy than old-style bulbs."
"Given how costly the new bulbs are, big lighting companies are moving gradually. Osram will introduce a new line of incandescents in September that are 25 percent more efficient. The bulbs will feature a redesigned capsule with higher-quality gas inside and will sell for a starting price of about $3. That is less than the Philips product already on the market, but they will have shorter life spans. G.E. also plans to introduce a line of household incandescents that will comply with the new standards.

Mr. Calwell predicts “a lot more flavors” of incandescent bulbs coming out in the future. “It’s hard to be an industry leader in the crowded C.F.L field,” he said. “But a company could truly differentiate itself with a better incandescent.”


Also, Reps. Blackburn, Bachmann seem to be focused on preventing innovation and facts:

"The hubbub has been deeply irritating to light bulb manufacturers and retailers, which have been explaining the law, over and over again, to whomever will listen. At a Congressional hearing in March, Kyle Pitsor, a representative from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, a trade group that represents makers of light bulbs, among others, patiently but clearly disputed claims that the law banned incandescent bulbs. He restated the law’s points and averred light bulb makers’ support for the law. As usual, it seemed as if no one was paying attention.

Last week, for example, in the middle of Lightfair, an annual trade show for the lighting industry, Philips unveiled a winged LED bulb with a promised life span of 25,000 hours and a price tag of $40 to $50. The Associated Press reported its cost as $50, and Fox News ran the story with the headline “As Government Bans Regular Light Bulbs, LED Replacements Will Cost $50 Each.” Mr. Beck, Rush Limbaugh and conservative bloggers around the country gleefully pounced on the story, once again urging the stockpiling of light bulbs.

Joseph Higbee, a spokesman for the electrical manufacturers association, offered his take on the situation: “Unfortunately people do not yet understand this lighting transition, and mistakenly think they won’t be able to buy incandescent light bulbs. This misinformation has been promoted by a number of media outlets. Incandescent light bulbs are not being banned, and the new federal energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs do not mandate the use of CFLs. My hope is that the media can help the American people understand the energy-efficient lighting options available, as opposed to furthering misconceptions.”


The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014.

Furthermore, all sorts of exemptions are written into the law, which means that all sorts of bulbs are getting a free pass and can keep their energy-guzzling ways indefinitely, including “specialty bulbs” like the Edison bulbs favored by Mr. Henault, as well as three-way bulbs, silver-bottomed bulbs, chandelier bulbs, refrigerator bulbs, plant lights and many, many others."

As was noted in a post at the Frum Forum:

"Major lighting manufacturers helped draft the new standards so that they could avoid a patchwork of state standards. They are fighting the repeal proposal because it threatens to strand the investments they have made to retool and produce lighting products that meet the standards.

In addition to claiming that the incandescent bulb is being banned and that we are all going to be forced to use compact fluorescent lighting (CFL), Barton is also saying that bulbs meeting the new standards are cost prohibitive.

Again, not true. A Philips incandescent bulb that meets the new standards currently sells for $1.49, lasts about 50 percent longer than older incandescent bulbs, and saves consumers more than $3.00 in energy expenditures. For four bucks you can buy an incandescent that lasts 3000 hours and nets you more than $10 in energy savings.

If you want to save even more energy you can buy CFL or LED bulbs. While LEDs cost more, the energy savings are about $150 per bulb and they last so long you might want to bequeath them to your children.

Barton’s irresponsible and embarrassing legislation would accomplish nothing good. It would provide consumers with inferior products that burn out faster and result in higher energy bills. It would threaten the lighting industry’s investment dollars. It would waste energy and result in more pollution.

And for what, a fanciful narrative about how the big bad government is taking away our lighting choices?

Legislation establishing common-sense efficiency standards for energy-using equipment has traditionally enjoyed overwhelming support from conservatives. The first such legislation was signed into law 25 years ago by President Ronald Reagan. Thanks to the legislation enacted by Reagan and similar laws signed by his successors, Americans are saving billions of dollars on their utility bills."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tennessee Tops In Storing Radioactive Waste

East TN actress Park Overall has been a most vocal promoter demanding complete accountability when it comes to the deeply dangerous radioactive waste which is ending up Hawkins County and other sites in our Tennessee.

At a recent radio interview with WRGS, cited in the Rogersville Review, she continues her efforts to - at the least - inform residents of what is happening in their communities and says standards basically do not exist to protect our communities:

One night it was decided that low level radioactive waste, secretly and you all don't know about this, will be stored in a kitchen dump. What is a kitchen dump? It is a landfill with no liner," Overall charged. "You have a kitchen dump in Hawkins County."

"Tennessee is the only state accepting nuclear waste at this time. If you want to do anything about it you had better call (U. S. Senators) Lamar Alexander or (Bob) Corker or (Congressman) Phil Roe. You need to let it be known that we don't want to be the nuclear dumping ground of the United States and right now we're it," she said.

Overall suggested the Nuclear Information Resource Service Website,, as a valuable tool for public information.

"That will tell you that they are chopping up the world's waste and burning up the world's waste and putting it right here in Tennessee," Overall said. "No one asked you if that was okay."

The actress also questioned the standards the NRC uses, including the acronym ALARA, which stands for "as low as reasonably achievable."

She also claimed government agencies and officials were to blame.

"I'm sorry to bad-mouth our government but they're not protecting us," Overall claimed."

Meanwhile documentary filmmakers are working hard to establish the funding needed to detail the steady dumping of radioactive waste into the Nolichucky River from NFS in Erwin. The film is titled "Atomic Appalachia" and you can learn more about that here., and on their Facebook page.

Just this Spring, the Tennessee legislature voted against installing any controls or oversight of the dumping of nuclear waste in Tennessee, despite the reality that:

The committee discussed the bill for about 50 minutes Wednesday before amending it so that its provisions would not interfere with any current private waste-processing contracts until they are renewed. The committee then killed the entire bill, with only two Democrats' votes for passage and five Republicans' votes against.

"The Environmental Council, citing government reports, says about 40 million pounds of low-level radioactive waste is processed in Tennessee annually. After processing, much of it is shipped out of state, but about 49 million pounds was dumped into the Tennessee landfills from 2004 through 2009."

Worse news - most of the landfills in Tennessee are leaking into the groundwater and beyond.

"TDEC issued civil fines and penalties at Carter Valley Landfill in October 2006 after 2005 groundwater monitoring found contamination in the groundwater.

Additionally, TCWN found that of the 69 landfills across the state known to be leaking, TDEC required corrective action for groundwater contamination at less than 5 of those landfills, including Dickson County, Sevier County, City of McKenzie, and Smelter Services Class 2 landfill in Mt. Pleasant.

Dickson County's landfill received national attention for what is believed to be the community's exposure to trichloroethene from leachate in drinking water supplies causing birth defects. The contamination occurred despite the landfill being built under stringent EPA guidelines and the old landfill's closure in 2003.

Bliss said Hawkins County has the second highest incidence of birth defects in the state. "We should have a concern about Hawkins County."

More background info here.