Energy Department withdraws rules expanding energy-efficient lightbulb requirements


The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, September 13, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Department of Energy withdraws rules that would have expanded energy-efficient lightbulb requirements
  2. California judge rules citizen-initiated local tax measures require two-thirds voter approval, state Supreme Court likely to decide issue
  3. What’s the Tea?

Ten Democratic presidential candidates debated last night in Houston. Didn’t get a chance to watch? Or, can’t get enough? Click here to signup to receive the same summary the subscribers to Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing will receive via email this morning.

Department of Energy withdraws rules that would have expanded energy-efficient lightbulb requirements

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a final rule on September 5 that withdraws rules made during the Obama administration that apply higher energy-efficiency requirements to some specialty lightbulbs. The department also published a separate proposed rule saying that current energy-efficiency standards do not need to change.

This means that certain types of lightbulbs—rough service lamps, vibration service lamps, 3-way incandescent lamps, high lumen lamps, and shatter-resistant lamps—will no longer be required to meet higher energy-efficiency requirements. Those bulbs—which are often used in chandeliers, bathroom fixtures, and commercial applications—would have fallen under those requirements starting in January 2020. Had the prior rule gone into effect, consumers would have seen different light bulbs for sale in stores starting in 2020. The DOE’s new rules will maintain the existing definition of general service lamps.

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) gave the DOE the responsibility to manage an energy conservation program for consumer products, including lightbulbs. Under the program, consumers are not allowed to purchase lightbulbs that fall within the definition of general service lamps (GSLs) that don’t meet energy-efficiency standards.

The law defined GSLs to include general service incandescent lamps (GSILs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), general service light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lamps, and other lamps that the Secretary of Energy determines are used similarly to traditional incandescent light bulbs.

Following amendments made to the EPCA in 2007, the DOE has been deciding whether to change the energy conservation standards for GSLs and whether to add particular kinds of lightbulbs to the definition of GSLs. The new DOE rules maintain the energy conservation standards for GSLs as well as the types of lightbulbs to which it applies.

During the Obama administration, the DOE issued two rules that expanded the definition of GSLs to lightbulbs that had been exempt from some energy-efficiency rules. Those rules were published in the Federal Register but had not gone into effect. In issuing its rule, the DOE said the revised definitions of general service lamps “included certain GSILs as GSLs in a manner that is not consistent with the best reading of the statute.” The DOE scheduled the withdrawal of the previous rules effective October 7.


Cooper defeats incumbent Briley in Nashville mayoral runoff

At-Large Metro Councilmember John Cooper defeated incumbent Mayor David Briley in the runoff election for Nashville mayor Thursday. Briley conceded the race after the results of early voting showed that, of around 49,000 votes, Cooper received 70 percent to Briley’s 30 percent.

Briley was the first mayor of Nashville’s Metro government (formed in 1963) to lose a re-election bid. He previously assumed the office upon the resignation of Mayor Megan Barry in March 2018 and won a special election in May 2018 to complete Barry’s term.

During the campaign, Cooper emphasized shifting focus to neighborhoods and away from economic incentives for downtown projects in his campaign. He criticized Briley’s plan to fund affordable housing through municipal bond-borrowing. Cooper said the city needs to use its surpluses more efficiently as opposed to raising property taxes. Briley campaigned on his record since becoming mayor, saying his accomplishments included not raising property taxes, establishing a college scholarship program for public school graduates, and a $500 million public investment in affordable housing over a decade.

Both Briley and Cooper identify as Democrats. Among the 100 largest cities by population in the U.S., 62 mayors are Democrats, 30 are Republicans, four are independents, and four are nonpartisan. Though most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party. Nashville was the 25th-largest city in the U.S. as of 2013, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.

Of 31 mayoral elections taking place in the 100 largest cities in 2019, 16 have occurred. Briley was the second incumbent mayor among those cities to be defeated in 2019; Madison, Wisconsin, Mayor Paul Soglin lost an April 2 election. Between 2014 and 2018, 67.1 percent of incumbent mayors of the 100 largest cities sought re-election; of those, 16.7 percent were defeated in their bids for re-election. One incumbent mayor lost a re-election bid in 2018, and five lost re-election bids in 2017.

What’s the Tea?

Ten Democratic presidential candidates participated in their third debate last night in Texas. So today’s question simply asks: Did you watch Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate?