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Trump admin announces rollback of Obama-era regulation that outlawed certain light bulbs

'This regulation gives consumers more choices'

J. B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago/Getty Images

Light bulbs that were set to be outlawed under an Obama-era regulation will stay on store shelves thanks to regulation rollback from the Trump administration.

Multiple outlets reported Wednesday that the Department of Energy had finalized a new rule striking a last-minute Obama regulation that outlawed certain kinds of light bulbs such as three-way bulbs, decorative bulbs, and "rough service lamps."

"This regulation gives consumers more choices, and consumers are better off with more choices," a Trump DOE official explained to The Hill.

One of the reasons that the Obama administration offered for the regulation was that people might purchase the these light sources instead of "other regulated lamp types" like LED or compact fluorescent bulbs. The Obama administration's 2017 regulation was set to take effect in 2020.

Critics believe that the Trump administration's latest move will end up costing consumers more because the less regulated bulbs use more electricity.

"The rollback will lead to higher energy bills for homes and businesses, plus significantly more pollution harming our health and the environment due to all the extra electricity that will need to be generated," the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a Wednesday statement. "Efficiency standards would ensure that every bulb purchased in the future is an efficient one. "

"Wasting energy with inefficient lightbulbs isn't just costly for homes and businesses, it's terrible for our climate," a statement from Alliance to Save Energy President Jason Hartke said. "This rule means we're going to need the electricity produced by 25 coal power plants just to power wasteful bulbs."

Nobody, however, will be forcing consumers to purchase and use less-efficient light bulbs under the new rule, which is what the Trump Department of Energy said in the regulation.

"This rule does not prevent consumers from buying the lamps they desire, including efficient options," the department. The department added that "the market is successfully transitioning to LEDs regardless of government regulation. Consumers are clearly taking advantage of the energy savings provided by LEDs."

The regulations are an implementation mechanism for part of a 2007 energy law that addresses efficiency standards for light bulbs and was meant to phase out less efficient bulbs over time. The first wave of regulations from the 2007 statute led to several unintended consequences, such as plant closings, and spurred on failed attempts to repeal it.

One last thing…
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