God bless Texas

**Posted by Phineas

…for telling the federal government to take their incandescent light-bulb ban and shove it:

Texas could soon be in a position to turn the lights off on a federal plan to phase out certain light bulbs.

State lawmakers have passed a bill that allows Texans to skirt federal efforts to promote more efficient light bulbs, which ultimately pushes the swirled, compact fluorescent bulbs over the 100-watt incandescent bulbs many grew up with.

The measure, sent to Gov. Rick Perry for consideration, lets any incandescent light bulb manufactured in Texas – and sold in that state – avoid the authority of the federal government or the repeal of the 2007 energy independence act that starts phasing out some incandescent light bulbs next year.

“Let there be light,” state Rep. George Lavender, R-Texarkana, wrote on Facebook after the bill passed. “It will allow the continued manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs in Texas, even after the federal ban goes into effect. … It’s a good day for Texas.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based environmental group, is calling on Perry to veto the bill.

I suspect Perry will sign the bill, since it would be popular given the increasingly “small l” libertarian mood of the country these days, and those folks would be Perry’s core audience in a presidential run. The article goes on to quote an NRDC spokesman arguing that the bill cannot be implemented in a practical manner (What? They can’t build a light bulb plant in Texas?) and that it wouldn’t be in the “best interests” of Texans.

How… patronizing and condescending. We can’t let people decide for themselves what kind of lighting is best, after all. That’s better left to bureaucrats and panels of experts. That’s the “progressive way.”

To which I reply, “go Texas!”

Anyway, this law poses interesting constitutional issues, and I fully expect it to wind up in the courts. There’s the much-abused Commerce Clause, which has been stretched into near-meaninglessness to allow Washington to do whatever it wants. If the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 rests even in part on regulating interstate commerce (i.e., because the bulbs are manufactured in one state and shipped to another), then strict constructionists could argue that, since the economic activity (manufacturing and sale) takes place within one state, Congress has no power to regulate it. Under the 10th amendment, therefore, the power to do so is reserved to the states, and Washington can take a hike.

Given the legal history of Commerce Clause interpretation, and especially with horrible precedents such as Wickard v Filburn, I doubt this argument would win, but it sure would be interesting to watch. I will note, however, that a refining of the Commerce Clause to clearly prohibit Congress from regulating intra-state activity is one of the amendments in Professor Randy Barnett’s proposed Bill of Federalism.

Meanwhile, I may be looking at a quick trip to Texas to pick up a case of 100-watts.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

12 thoughts on “God bless Texas

  1. States should pass laws banning compact flourescent bulbs, due to the mercury content.

    The ban on incandescent bulbs is based on nothing, the mercury in the twisty flourescent bulbs is a health hazard for anyone that breaks one, and a serious problem for disposal (we’ll have landfills full of them in just a few years). If the feds should challenge the ban, the state could simply point to the fact that the feds have already banned mercury vapor bulbs for streetlights for the exact same reason the state is banning compact flourescent bulbs.

    The only other alternative is LED’s, but at $50 a bulb its not viable. They’d have to allow incandescents if states ban CFB’s.

    If you want a good laugh, check out the EPA’s own guidelines on what you should do if you break one of the twisty bulbs. They contradict their own guidelines repeatedly in a single document, but the fun part comes with the repeated warnings to not attempt to clean it up yourself (and, whatever you do, don’t vacuum). If you follow their advice, you’ll have half the officials in your county in your home, wearing haz-mat suits. They may decide to remove any carpeting involved and, as an added bonus, they’ll stick you with the bill (figure at least $25k).

  2. I have already started stocking up on incandescents. At one time I bought a bunch of CFRs to use in my home-office, but the light from them was so incredibly poor I soon switched back.

    For a grumpy old man who’s already lost most his hearing and some of his eyesight, CFRs are simply not an option.

  3. I hope when, not if, this all comes to pass that the factory is located near my home. I need a job. And incandescent bulbs work so much better in my old gooseneck reading lamp; one like those seen in the movies from the 30’s and 40’s.

  4. My kids hate the new twisty bulbs and will not use them! My daughter who is constantly drawing and painting detests them. They are the worst form of light. So I guess it stands to reason that the federal government would like something so inefficient.

    Go Texas! I am sure many other states are right there behind them!

    I am stocking up on them, too!

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  8. Telling the feds to go _ themselves on the light bulb ban.
    Telling the feds the same on overreaching EPA regs on Texas industry.
    Telling the feds the same on over-groping TSA policies at Texas airports.

    [Texan Sefton leans back and sips his cold glass of lemonade, sighs and smiles]

  9. I had one of those NEW lightbulbs EXPLODE in my hand.I was putting it in and just as I finished turning it ,it was switched on and went BOOM.I had to wash the Glass off my hand with all the white stuff. No more of those will get in my house.

  10. Captain….sounds like a law suit! You were exposed to mercury!!! Heaven forbid! You must seek out medical care! Call the EPA, call OSHA…call Obama and complain.

    There must be a 1-800-lawyer who will handle this on a class action basis…..hehehehe

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