A Virginia lawmaker opposes the new light bulb ban, according to CBS News.
Delegate Bob Marshall, a republican in Prince William County, Va., has introduced legislation to allow the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs within Virginia's borders after new federal energy standards take effect. The standards would essentially take the bulbs off the market.
The bill, which is pending in a House subcommittee, is one of a handful seeking to blunt what conservative lawmakers consider federal intrusion into state prerogatives.
"This is a 10th Amendment issue," Marshall said, invoking the provision that reserves for states all powers not specifically given to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution.
But it's also a safety issue, Marshall said. He said the more energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, contain high levels of mercury, which can be hazardous if bulbs break. He said a single CFL contains enough mercury to pollute 6,000 gallons of water.
"You need a small hazmat operation if you break one," Marshall said. "I want Virginians to have safe lighting in their homes."
Marshall is not alone in resisting the federal mandate to convert to CFLs and halogen lights, which also are more energy efficient than standard bulbs. Seven other states have legislation pending to deal with the issue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and a Texas law took effect this month stating that incandescent bulbs manufactured in the state are not subject to federal law or regulations.
The light bulb measure, House Bill 66, also is not Marshall's only jab at federal authority. Other proposals would exempt Virginia homes from any federal legislation imposing energy efficiency standards and declare waterways entirely within the state's borders off-limits to regulation under the federal Clean Water Act.
"These bills are ideologically driven," said Glen Besa, Virginia director of the Sierra Club. "They're intended to play to the anti-federal government crowd, and that's a waste of the legislature's time."
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