‘DOE is making such a dangerous proposal despite the recent dire warnings about the fate of our planet if we don’t urgently address climate change…’

(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) If it’s not broken, government regulators are in a frenzy to fix it.

In many ways, that was the Obama administration’s command-and-control approach to the American economy, free-market proponents often assert.

Perhaps the single best example is its war on the incandescent light bulb—which has been brought back from regulatory oblivion this week.


On Jan. 19, 2017, or the day before President Donald Trump was inaugurated, the Obama administration’s Department of Energy published two final regulatory rules.

Although they were not laws passed by Congress, these bureaucratic fiats effectively banned the simple, traditional light bulb—an everyday technology in existence for nearly a century and costing a mere 75 cents for a 40-watt bulb.

By tweaking an existing definition, Obama’s green-energy stooges crushed the omnipresent incandescent bulb and handed the market over to the bureaucratically preferred LED light bulb. No longer would the public be allowed to choose.

But what the government takes away, it can also give back—thanks to the Trump administration.

On Wednesday, the Trump DOE, led by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, announced it will roll back the 11th-hour incandescent regulatory ban.

Now under new management, the DOE says the former administration acted improperly and it will revert back to the original definition of acceptable light bulbs, which is the same definition stated in federal law.

“DOE has since determined that the legal basis underlying those revisions misconstrued existing law. As a result, DOE is … proposing to withdraw the definitions established in the January 19, 2017, final rules,” the department said in a statement.

“DOE proposes to maintain the existing regulatory definitions … which are the same as the statutory definitions of those terms,” the statement said.

Light Bulb Regulations Could Force Traditional Manufacturers Out of Business Early

But not everyone feels enlightened by the move. Some critics, mostly progressive groups, are livid—claiming the market-based decision will take the country into the dark ages.

Trump is trying to keep “our lighting sockets mired in a world of dinosaur[s],” said Noah Horowitz, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Center for Energy Efficiency Standards.

“This is another senseless and illegal Trump administration rollback that will needlessly hike our energy bills and spew tons more pollution into the air, harming the health of our children and the environment,” Horowitz said in a statement, vowing a court challenge.

“What’s worse, DOE is making such a dangerous proposal despite the recent dire warnings about the fate of our planet if we don’t urgently address climate change.”

The NRDC, which lists Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Redford and James Taylor on its board of trustees, evidently has invested many of its own precious resources into protecting Mother Earth’s natural resources—mostly through payouts to Democratic politicians. It gave nearly $60,000 to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election cycle.

A similar lobbying group, called The Alliance to Save Energy, was also critical of the light-bulb rollback.

“I just don’t understand the rationale behind trying to turn back the clock,” said Jason Hartke, the group’s president.

Much of the debate boils down to consumer preference. Incandescent bulbs are familiar, reliable and cheap. LED bulbs are more expensive but last longer. Neither bulb is perfect, but progressives and the Obama administration would rather decide for the market.

Industry groups, including the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, support the Trump administration’s repeal.

NEMA sued to overturn the rules in federal court on the grounds that they were illegal. The group withdrew its case when the Trump administration agreed to review the regulations, which like much of the previous administration’s regulatory regime, is now slated for erasure.