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The fundamental principle of states’ rights survives—at least in South Carolina. The Palmetto State’s House chamber last month passed a measure standing up to a federal “green” law. The law requires all Americans to buy new-fangled light bulbs to save energy, even if it doesn’t save our eyesight and even if it can make us ill.
The South Carolina bill, called “The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act,” would let South Carolinians buy the light bulbs everybody is used to, as long as the bulbs are made and sold in South Carolina. For anyone not aware of the federal law, which takes effect in six months, you will be forbidden to buy those inexpensive, bright 100-watt bulbs to read your bedside book, your newspaper, magazines, research papers, or anything else.
South Carolina State Rep. William Sandife III, chairman of the House Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee, predicted the measure will become law. Because it is a product of intrastate commerce it is, therefore, not subject to federal regulation.
A spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she is waiting to see the specific bill language. But, it would be hard to imagine the conservative governor would not sign such legislation once it completes its course through the state assembly.
Under federal law, intended to save energy, you will be required by Jan. 1 to buy the dim, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) containing illness-causing mercury. Thomas Edison must be shuddering in his grave.
While Obama wants to force everybody to buy health insurance or pay a fine, you will just have to buy the new light bulbs. No fine or imprisonment has been mentioned. Attorney General Eric Holder, however, could be mobilizing light-bulb squads to ride through the countryside at night to enforce the law. Nothing is impossible in Obamaland. A query to the Justice Department on enforcement was not answered.
Not only will manufacturers be banned from making the incandescent 100 watt bulb after Jan. 1, this will be followed by restrictions against lower watt versions in future years.
It doesn’t stop there. Our debt-ridden government is spending money we don’t have to subsidize development of more “high-efficiency” bulbs. The Obama Energy Department June 7 announced it is giving three California companies $4.2 million to speed up development of the bulbs, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Obama and his money-bags Energy Department seem to believe the long proven American inventive spirit cannot or will not produce any innovation without being bribed by the government.
“Two leading makers of lighting products” showcased LEDs (light-emitting diodes) as replacements for incandescent bulbs, the Associated Press reported in May. The bulbs are expensive but contain no mercury. They run $40 to $50 a bulb.
The government also is offering more money we don’t have, with a $10 million prize for developing the most innovative bulb. This was the brilliant idea of Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.Mex), an over-the-top environmental fanatic.
But the real reward will come in the form of bragging rights for development, a lighting company spokesman said. One other company, the Florida-based Lighting Science Group, has produced a prototype. It uses organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs that it claims meet stringent performance criteria. Testing is ongoing.
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