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Older incandescent light bulbs. (Wikipedia)

Judge Upholds California’s Ban On Incandescent Light Bulbs

The ruling trumps federal law on light bulb standards

By Evan Symon, January 2, 2020 11:55 am

On Tuesday a federal judge in Sacramento upheld the new California law than bans incandescent and other types of energy inefficient light bulbs.

Two light bulb industry groups, the American Lighting Association (ALA) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), attempted to block the new law before it came into effect on January 1st, but U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller rejected their position.

U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller.(Wikipedia)

In November the California Energy Commission (CEC) voted in favor of the ban after the U.S. Department of Energy decided to stop the federal ban in September. The federal ban on inefficient light bulbs had been slowly phased in since 2007, but the Trump administration decided to stop the ban to “protect the industry.” This was decided despite the energy efficient bulbs, approved by both the Bush and Obama administrations, having a record of saving energy, reducing pollution, and significantly lowering electric bills. In California alone, energy efficient bulbs are estimated to save consumers at least $2.4 billion a year.

In her ruling, District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller said that California regulators acted “properly” and simply acted quicker than the U.S. Department of Energy in replacing bulbs and that the standards of the new light bulbs had “garnered significant support from consumer groups.”

“Congress recognized, among other things, California’s history of leadership in energy efficiency regulations,” said Judge Mueller in her decision.

The ruling has been met with largely bipartisan approval in California, with many states such as Nevada and New York also now looking to pass similar measures after voicing their disapproval with the Trump Administrations reversal in September.

“A lot of states are going to follow California’s lead on this,” said Mark Pesca, a home energy consultant. “These bulbs save money for users, they stop a lot of high usage for energy companies, and they reduce pollution. There’s something here that everyone on any monetary level or political leaning can like.”

“The old bulbs can’t be saved. There’s arguments for a better consumer selection and protecting a small part of the lighting industry, but the benefits far outweigh anything really ‘bad’. It’s hard to argue against switching to light bulbs that use three-quarters less energy and are still as bright.”

“That’s what the court saw in California and there’s indications that it’s going to be the same in courts around the nation too when it gets there.”

While the ban is now active in California, both the NEMA and ALA have said on Twitter that they’re currently looking for the next steps on what to do.

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10 thoughts on “Judge Upholds California’s Ban On Incandescent Light Bulbs

  1. Is it proper that alleged support from alleged consumer groups (and whose interests do these groups represent, by the way) and California’s so-called “leadership” in energy efficiency standards form the basis for judicial decisions? Ban all you want, California. I have a lifetime supply of incandescent bulbs.

  2. I can’t read by the light put out by the compact fluorescents so I bought a case of incandescents (from Amazon, don’t know if they will refuse shipping to Cali now). BTW the CFLs are hazardous waste (mercury) but guess how many people take them to the recycler like you are supposed to? I would worry if I were in waste disposal as these things are getting dumped in the trash all the time.
    Then I went to Home Depot and was pleased to find Phillips EcoAdvantage bulbs without mercury–but they burn out faster than any bulb ever! Look at the reviews:
    great “choice” huh? Waste money on bulbs that don’t last, find a way to buy old bulbs or try and use the new bulbs with the irritating flicker. Also: the newer “improved” LEDs not only have real questions about health risks (intense blue light suppresses sleep hormone melatonin) they are way more expensive and my local school maintenance personnel tell me they don’t last anywhere near what they promise.

  3. I effing HATE LEDs. They *depress* me and other people with whom I’ve spoken. The industry control all they want that they’ve come up with something that mimics incandescent light. They haven’t. I don’t wanna live my life under the cold, silver (or pea green) glare of a used car lot, thanks.

  4. While I sympathize with energy efficiency issues, there are two issues that should give lawmakers pause:

    1) LED devices, be they bulbs or smart devices, emit something called “blue light”. This is a well known cause of insomnia. When incandescent lighting is replaced with indoor LED, the number of people who suffer from disrupted sleep, if not sleep disorders such as insomnia will climb. Sound sleep isn’t just something that helps us be more alert and energetic the followign day. It is a necessary component to prevent obesity, diabetes and even cancer. Lawmakers in California and elsewhere need to appreciate the public health impacts, not just the efficiency of the lighting method.

    Second, there are specialty incandescent bulbs such as the 12 volt variety that are needed for marine use, RVs, landscape lighting, appliances and other applications. LED lights have not replaced all of these applications, yet lawmakers have created blanket bans, which means it is not legal for out-of-state suppliers, even, to ship these bulbs to customers who live in States where incandescent bans apply. Consumers need to contact their lawmakers and just say “No” to blanket bans on incandescent lighting.

  5. Sadly… In our country it’s always about money and not people.

    Very few understand that LED bulbs are bad for your health. The research is clear. LED bulbs are missing an important wave length A clear glass incandescent bulb is much healthier for you. These are indisputable facts.

    Once again the almighty dollar and how much money can be saved is more important than peoples health.

    I suggest you purchase as many incandescent bulbs and halogen bulbs before they are outlawed. Ironically they are the most healthy form of light. Yes… They use more energy. But you’ll live longer if you use incandescent.


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