The light bulb debate

  • Updated: January 1, 2012 - 6:20 PM

 

Did a federal law banning the manufacture of traditional light bulbs shut down all the U.S. factories that made them?

That's a contention of Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who opposed a 2007 federal energy law signed by President George W. Bush that phases out standard light bulbs.

Bachmann says: "For example, Congress used the Commerce Clause to close all of the incandescent light bulb factories in the United States and replace them with so-called environmentally friendly bulbs."*

The industry: Few domestic incandescent light bulb makers were left before the law was passed. The last major one, Osram Sylvania, says it retooled its Pennsylvania incandescent plant to produce bulbs that comply. Aero-Tech Light Bulb Co. makes heavy-duty incandescent bulbs in South Carolina. GE closed a major Virginia plant in 2010 because of consumer demand, not the new law, a spokesman said.

Clarification: Bachmann's press secretary, Becky Rogness, when asked about the continued domestic manufacturing, said the congresswoman meant that companies had to "shut down their traditional bulb making."

*Text of a speech to the Family Research Council at www.michelebachmann.com.

DAVID SHAFFER

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