In 2007, congress passed the bi-partisan Energy Independence and Security Act (or EISA 2007) which included intentions to phase out incandescent light bulbs. According to the chart, 100 watt light bulbs would be phased out by Jan. 1, 2012, 75 watt light bulbs by Jan. 1, 2013 and by Jan. 1 of 2014, there will be no more 60 watt light bulbs available.
“To be perfectly honest, I hate fluorescent lights,” said Schulwitz. “So I looked up the law because they’re taking incandescent light bulbs away from me.”
While Schulwitz was able to find the bill where the impending regulation amendments were spelled out (Section 321(a) of EISA 2007), when he looked up 42 USC 6295(i), the corresponding section of the U.S. Code that deals with energy conservation standards for incandescent lamps, the amendments weren’t there.
“This was very confusing to me for the longest time,” said Schulwitz. “How could this happen? Lawmakers are not the type that are just going to make a mistake like this.”
So as his nature, he kept digging. He found that US Code 6295(i) was amended by Section 322(b) of EISA 2007, which struck out the first paragraph of section 325(i) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, or 42 USC 6995(i), and inserted a new paragraph which does not in fact regulate maximum wattage requirements.
“The very bill that passed wattage requirements, just a page or two later, repeals it,” noted Schulwitz. “They contradicted themselves, and since you can’t have a contradiction in law, the later section erased the contradiction and erased the maximum wattage regulations.”
Schulwitz said after he published his findings on Wikipedia, he believes some law makers noticed, because shortly after, a news article ran which claimed the ban had been overturned.
“But they never really corrected it,” Schulwitz said. “They just took away the funding to enforce the decision… You have a compartmentalized government structure where one end passes the bill that clearly says something, but another part has to compile coherent US code that can’t contradict itself and has to make all the pieces add up all while following the letter of the law.”
While he doubts his discovery will change anything, he still thinks it’s an interesting oversight and said he can’t help but wonder what other types of oversights exist.
How can it not change anything when the regulation cancels itself out??
Just like the EU lightbulb regulation is invalid due to not fulfilling its own requirements.
That is two major federations enforcing regulations that are invalid!