US politics has bitten its own backside and the incandescent ban has collapsed, for now. The whole story behind the proposed ban on incandescent lamps in the USA has demonstrated quite forcefully that this is a political action rather than a genuine environmental action. The ban is enshrined in legislation dating back to 2007 written and passed by the then Republican administration. Now under a Democratic Administration the Republicans have fought the legislation they drafted largely on the principle of freedom of choice. The last 12months have seen a succession of wrecking motions. Some of these are actions by individual states including Texas who have made the manufacture and sale of incandescent lamps lawful within the state. Others have been motions in the Republican controlled house of representatives to strike down the bill which won a majority however by devious maneuvers that required a two thirds majority in the vote ultimately failed.
What has , for now, killed the implementation of the ban is an omnibus bill on financing that has specifically excluded any finance for the implementation of the ban for at least 9 months. The ban is still effectively in force in law however it cannot be enforced. In the end even the Democrats did not try and defend the ban being much more concerned about many other funding requirements wrapped up in the same bill.
So what happens now? It is certain that this breathing space will be used to promote further bills to permanently strike down the ban. Meanwhile several other states are in the process of producing legislation that parallels what has been passed in Texas now that this has separately been confirmed as lawful. On the other side of the fence California’s state legislation for a ban has already been in force for a year and there is no sign, yet, that it will be struck down. The lamp manufacturers have effectively ended incandescent lamp production in the USA in the past few months with only a few specialist lamp lines remaining to produce rough service lamps and, probably, the decorative “Edison” lamps that have gained popularity in the last 5 years or so among some householders and many up market interior designers.
So watch this space. We should see action in Pennsylvania, Michigan, South Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota and Arizona, all states where anti ban legislation is already happening. Senator Perry in Texas is wooing lamp manufacturers to set up a factory to manufacture incandescent lamps in the state. I Canada the lamp ban has been delayed until at least 2014 except in British Columbia which like California has state legislation that enforced the ban in 2011. In Europe the first stage of the ban implemented over the last 3 years comes up for assessment and discussion to see what should happen in the next stage however they still have not finlised legislation on the reflector lamps part of the first stage!
Happy New Year to all who believe the incandescent lamp ban is fatuous!
Kevan Shaw 17-12-11