December 20, 2019 / 6:48 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. rolls back standards on energy saving light bulbs

FILE PHOTO: Illustration picture of the filament of an incandescent light bulb shot August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Friday said it has finalized a decision to roll back a 2007 rule calling for energy-efficient light bulbs, a move that states including New York and California are challenging in the courts.

The administration finalized a proposal made in September to roll back the standard that Congress passed in 2007 when George W. Bush, a Republican, was president and which was to come into effect next year. The Department of Energy said that increasing the efficiency of bulbs could cost consumers more than 300% compared to incandescent bulbs and that Americans do not need regulation because many are already buying efficient bulbs.

“The American people will continue to have a choice on how they light their homes,” said Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.

The move is part of the administration’s push to ease regulations by requiring agencies to ditch two old regulations for each one they propose. The administration has also rolled back Obama-era regulations on pollution and emissions as it seeks to maximize oil, gas and coal production.

The roll back on light bulbs has been challenged in court by 15 states and Washington, D.C. who say it would harm state efforts to fight emissions blamed for climate change.

Environmental groups decried the decision. The Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit, said it would cost consumers $14 billion in energy bills annually and create the need to generate the amount of electricity provided by an additional 30 500-megawatt power plants.

The NRDC said old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, which give off more of their energy in heat rather than light, comprise nearly half of today’s bulb sales.

“The Trump administration just thumbed its nose at Congress, America’s families and businesses, and the environment,” said Noah Horowitz, an energy efficiency specialist at the NRDC.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner, Editing by Franklin Paul and Chizu Nomiyama

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