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ONE OPINION - A lesson to be learned about the energy bill and going green
One OpinionJanuary 9, 2008 | 4,242 views | 6 comments
We Americans are well on our way to showing our true color -- green; this is not the green as in money, but green as in being friendly to our environment.
Green is good. In fact, my daddy didn’t know it, but he was green long before Al Gore invented it. Farmers know how to conserve, not so much to save the planet, but because it’s the way to survive. You take care of the land, and it takes care of you. On the farm, nothing is thrown away.
Another factor in my “greenness” is the fact that my parents survived the Great Depression. We never threw away so much as a paper bag. Flour came in cloth sacks, from which my mother then made clothing for the family. To this day, I don’t discard a paper clip. You put it in the drawer to use later.
Thus, I’ve been a user of the CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) since I first discovered them in specialty catalogs years ago. I’m for anything that saves energy and money. It only makes sense.
But Congress’s so-called energy policy does not make sense. It forces Americans to a precise, artificial timetable to ban the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs.
As Rep. John D. Dingel, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, it will affect “almost every significant product and tool and appliance that we use, from light bulbs to light trucks."
Unfortunately, that is true, and these industries, especially the automobile industry, will suffer because of it. Some have even called the energy bill the “automobile fatality act” because it will make automobiles more expensive and more dangerous.
The point is, it’s great to advocate good causes, but when Congress sticks its nose into private business, it is not to increase efficiency, and it always ends up costing consumers. How many of our congressmen do you suppose even read this 822-page behemoth?
Drew Thornley and Margo Thorning couldn’t have said it better when they wrote in a column in the Dec. 26 Wilson County News: “Despite being described by proponents as an ‘energy’ bill, it would neither produce more energy nor make energy more affordable. Instead of workable solutions ..., the collage of ill-conceived legislative provisions is based more on political expediency.”
Unfortunately, with this bill, Congress once again played into the hands of lobbyists and the radical environmentalists who would sacrifice human life on the altar of animal rights. They would rather see humans suffer for lack of energy, for instance, than see a single bird suffer by flying into energy-producing windmills.
Why, if we went by their radical guidelines, the hapless dinosaurs likely never would have gone extinct! Picture this: Kids are playing in the backyard when they come running into the house. “Mom! Dino’s eating our car.”
But back to reality. While advocating the gradual shift to CFLs, it makes no sense to have the government impose arbitrary deadlines and mandates.
Allow the free market and common sense to operate. Replace bulbs when and if it makes sense. For instance, not all fixtures will accept the CFLs as they are presently made. Not everyone reads the fine print about proper usage and disposal of these bulbs. Truth to tell, when I first began using them, I didn’t read the fine print and tossed them into the trash.
Now that the public is more enlightened, however, we know they contain mercury, and mercury can be very dangerous.
Thus was the situation with one Maine housewife who now owes some $2,000 for a mercury spill after she broke a CFL bulb. When Brandy Bridges was installing a CFL in her daughter’s bedroom, she broke it on the carpet. Realizing that it contained mercury and recognizing the possible dangers, she called the Home Depot where she had bought the bulb.
Not knowing what to tell her, they suggested she call the poison control hotline, which then directed her to the Environmental Protection Agency. Once their specialists became involved, all common sense was lost. They followed procedures for a hazmat sitution.
The lesson here is not to call the EPA if you break a CFL. There are, however, rules to follow, such as not touching anything with bare hands, leaving the room with windows open for 15 minutes, and then carefully discarding the fragments in two plastic bags and depositing in an outside trash container. Complete instructions are on the TCEQ Web site for those wanting more specifics. Like it says, a few of these bulbs in the landfill will not pose a problem. One wonders, however, what will happen when billions of them are discarded.
As for their long life, I only recently discovered that, to be effective and prolong that long life, they need to be on for at least 15 minutes. So, I have found myself no longer switching on a light for only a few seconds to get something, as I normally would with an incandescent light. Now I leave the light on so as to preserve the life of the bulb.
This could affect how much energy is actually being saved. It seems to me that if the government would allow consumers to use common sense, there would be instances where an incandescent bulb would be more efficient. As with all things government, however, common sense is nowhere to be found in this energy bill.
Your Opinions and Comments
4 th Generation Texan
February 11, 2011 11:41am
4 th Generation Texan
February 10, 2011 10:11pm
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