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Why is Upton flip flopping on CFL bulbs?

Upton flips a switch on CFL bulbs
Feeling heat, lawmaker sees light on incandescents

By Stephen Dinan

The Washington Times

8:05 p.m., Monday, December 6, 2010

Three years after he led the charge to require consumers to ditch their comfortable old incandescent lights in favor of those twisty CFL bulbs, Rep. Fred Upton now wants to be the man to help undo that law as the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

That about-face is not unique among lawmakers looking to atone for stances they've taken over the past decade as they seek to gain top posts in a decidedly more conservative Republican Congress, but his reversal underscores how intent the GOP is on proving it has broken with past practices.

"We have heard the grass roots loud and clear, and will have a hearing early next Congress," said Mr. Upton, a Michigan Republican who is facing several others in his party in a bid to earn the gavel of the powerful committee. "The last thing we wanted to do was infringe upon personal liberties — and this has been a good lesson that Congress does not always know best."

Indeed, the compact fluorescent lamp, or CFL, has become a symbol of government overreach for many consumers, who wonder what was wrong with the incandescent bulbs that have lighted their kitchens, family rooms and bedrooms for more than a century.

The government says incandescent bulbs have too short a life span and are inefficient, wasting most of their energy on heat rather than on light. CFLs, on the other hand, can last up to 10 times as long and use 75 percent less electricity.

Still, they were slow to catch on, prompting industry, environmentalists and lawmakers to team up and give consumers a push. Mr. Upton joined Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat, to co-sponsor legislation to phase out incandescent bulbs beginning in 2012. Their bill was incorporated into the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which passed with wide bipartisan majorities and was signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush.

But in the intervening years, CFLs have joined low-flow toilets in drawing the scorn of consumers, and some argue that the bulbs' mercury content poses a safety and environmental hazard.

Some consumers even said they are stockpiling incandescent bulbs to defy the phaseout.


Asked by tnmomofive at 10:00 AM on Dec. 10, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 32 (56,190 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (20)

    LOL...Upton is a RINO!!!

    He has a liberal voting record, and has fallen in line with the Obama democrats progressive Marxist agenda of Cap on Trade, expanding power for the EPA giving them authority to make federal mandates without Congress as well as showing unwavering support for global warming saying the argument is over and he supports the science whether right or wrong.

    I think he's in bed with some corrupt special interest groups who have a vested interest in redistributing wealth, killing jobs, and promoting the public's forced dependence on federal government programs.

    He's likely only reversing his opinion NOW on CFL's because he's looking to be re-elected in 2012--which is when the CFL law was to take place, and that wouldn't exactly bode well for his career! Typical.
    even it does not represent the citizens wishes.

    Answer by LoriKeet at 5:17 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • We have switched to LED lights in our home but we made the choice to do that. No one should be told what kind of light bulbs they should buy. We never bought the CFL bulbs florescent lights give me migraines when I am out and about no way do I want them in my home.  This was a big Congress and Bush Fail. 


    Answer by Anonymous at 10:12 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Considering the mercury, they should have directions as to how to clean up a broken CFL. They don't put those instructions on the packages and you are not supposed to vacuum it up. You are also supposed to leave the room for 15 minutes after a bulb breaks. But I'm sure the government is looking out for MY best interest, right?

    On another note, the life span of a CFL has more to do with how it is used. If you do a lot of short usages then that cuts down on the life span of a CFL (like using one in a water closet - toilet room where you only keep the bulb on for a few minutes at a time).

    Not that this is important at all unless you have a little kids that love to cook, but I doubt that a CFL is going to bake an EZ Bake cake like a good old fashioned incandescent bulb.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:17 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • On another note, the life span of a CFL has more to do with how it is used

    They last NO WHERE NEAR what they say! Hubby switched all ours out a few years ago...still use them, but they aren't as long lasting as they state. and I HATE how they are DIM then get brighter


    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 10:31 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • I agree with sweet. We tried them and they don't last and I hated how they have to warm up. When I need a light I need a light! They give me headaches too.

    I am one of those people that stashed the old fashioned bulbs.

    jewjewbee, I didn't know the LED's now came in a yellow color. I will have to give them a whirl.


    Answer by yourspecialkid at 10:47 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Thank God. ... a glimmer of sanity !

    Answer by waldorfmom at 2:44 PM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • CFLs contain mercury, incandescents do not.

    Answer by CraftingMama at 10:01 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • Just in case anyone is interested, here are the instructions as to how to clean it up as per the EPA.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:22 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • They last NO WHERE NEAR what they say! Hubby switched all ours out a few years ago...still use them, but they aren't as long lasting as they state. and I HATE how they are DIM then get brighter Answer by sweet-a-kins

    I agree.  I have had a couple that burned out very quickly (within weeks of putting them in).  I don't like that the disposal instructions are not on the packages since there seems to be enough concern for them to instruct such extra precautions when disposing of broken pieces and 'residue'.  Like turning off forced air or heat before and during vacuuming several times after a bulb has broken.  IDK about the rest of you, but that's a red flag to me.  I use a few of them, only in places where the lights stay on long enough to make it worth it.  Many people get headaches from them though, so there should be other options. 


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:36 AM on Dec. 10, 2010

  • If anyone truly wanted to save energy, and protect the environment they would have switched over to LED lights only.
    We ONLY have LED's throughout our entire home. They cost 6 cents a month to run 24 hours a day. And they now come in superbrights and warm yellow colors.
    IMO the whole CFL thing was just a bunch of misinformed liberals or greenies who really had not studied the subject at all.
    Go LED or shutup about Global Warming.

    Answer by jewjewbee at 10:42 AM on Dec. 10, 2010