Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News highlighted a movement by those who object to federal regulations blocking Americans from buying the traditional incandescent light bulb. Although he plugged the report by calling one of the legal but unpopular bulbs a "rallying point against government interference in people’s lives," anchor Brian Williams neglected to note that Democrats controlled Congress in 2007 as he introduced the report by informing viewers that President Bush signed the bill into law that year:
Back in 2007, unbeknownst to most Americans, Congress passed a law phasing out regular incandescent light bulbs. President George W. Bush signed the bill, and the phaseout starts next January. The idea of this forced switch to the new bulbs and the light they give off and how long some of them take to warm up, has irritated a lot of folks who consider it the ultimate example of intrusive government reaching into our homes and lives. An effort in Congress to reverse it failed just this week. But in Texas, they're not giving up the fight.
Reporter Kevin Tibbles went on to inform viewers of an effort in Texas to get around federal regulations and encourage the production of traditional light bulbs in their state.
Williams, who has a history of devoting time on his show to environmentaly issues, notably once before warned about the disadvantages of the newer bulbs that consumers may be unhappy about after the ban takes effect.
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Wednesday, July 13, NBC Nightly News :
BRIAN WILLIAMS, IN OPENING TEASER: Light bulb revolt: With the deadline looming that forces us to stop using regular light bulbs, some are fighting back against using the new ones.
WILLIAMS, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: When we come back here tonight after a break, how those squiggly shaped energy-saving light bulbs are becoming a rallying point against government interference in people’s lives.
WILLIAMS: Back in 2007, unbeknownst to most Americans, Congress passed a law phasing out regular incandescent light bulbs. President George W. Bush signed the bill, and the phaseout starts next January. The idea of this forced switch to the new bulbs and the light they give off and how long some of them take to warm up, has irritated a lot of folks who consider it the ultimate example of intrusive government reaching into our homes and lives. An effort in Congress to reverse it failed just this week. But in Texas, they're not giving up the fight. Our report tonight from NBC's Kevin Tibbles.
KEVIN TIBBLES: From his lighting store in Fort Worth, John Patterson takes a dim view of the upcoming ban on traditional incandescent bulbs.
JOHN PATTERSON, LIGHT STORE OWNER: I believe that Americans ought to have a choice and be able to have a free choice to decide what they want to do with themselves.
TIBBLES: So Patterson supports a new Texas law aimed at circumventing the ban by allowing "Made in Texas" incandescents to be sold in Texas, authored by State Representative George Lavender.
STATE REP. GEORGE LAVENDER (R-TX): We're tired of the federal government micromanaging our lives.
TIBBLES: Many still love the bulb that was invented 140 years ago. The traditional bulb we all grew up with.
PATTERSON: They call it an Edison base or a medium base. Goes in a regular light bulb socket.
TIBBLES: Okay, and the other one?
PATTERSON: This is the compact fluorescent light. This particular one is a 15-Watt, the new kid on the block.
TIBBLES: Whoa, a lot brighter.
PATTERSON: A lot brighter.
TIBBLES: Does anybody say that’s a little harsh?
PATTERSON: Well, if they're too harsh, you can turn down the wattage.
TIBBLES: While the light may differ some, the new light bulbs are more energy-efficient.
STEVEN NADEL, AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT ECONOMY: The old light bulbs are really electric heaters that give off a little bit of light - 90 percent of the energy is given off by heat.
TIBBLES: But the new bulbs also contain small amounts of mercury.
REP. TED POE (R-TX): If I dropped this light bulb, we would have to evacuate the House of Representatives, according to the EPA light bulb law.
TIBBLES: One group - Freedom Action - opposes the ban with a video of a black marketeer dealing in the contraband of the future.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN IN AD: An incandescent light bulb.
TIBBLES: There is one problem with selling incandescent light bulbs in Texas with the words "Made in Texas" stamped on it.. There aren’t any light bulbs of any kind made in Texas. But then a light bulb went off in George Lavender's head.
LAVENDER: If we attract light bulb manufacturers to the state of Texas, then it's a great jobs program.
TIBBLES: The message in Texas: Don't mess with the light bulbs in the Lone Star State. Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Fort Worth.