Murkowski Comments on Energy Efficiency Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today made the following opening statement during a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for convening this hearing today.  We have two very different bills here to discuss. The first one, the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act (INCAAA), has been through several iterations, hearings, and markups over the last two years.  This bill contains consensus agreements that will set new efficiency standards for certain product classes of appliances.  The second bill before us, the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (BULBs), seeks to repeal some lighting standards that became law as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. 

“The Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act of 2011, which I have cosponsored with Chairman Bingaman, notably contains important new standards for outdoor lighting, furnaces and air conditioners.  These proposed standards were the result of months, and in some cases years, of hard work and negotiations amongst the stakeholders, some of whom will testify today.  While no piece of legislation is perfect, the time and effort put into these agreements is an important step forward and certainly shows a sustained commitment to comprehensive, bipartisan energy legislation.  It is also my opinion that this bill goes a long way toward improved efficiency, and therefore, improved energy security.  I applaud the efficiency advocates and industry representatives on their hard work.

“As it relates to the second bill, I think it is fair to say that light bulbs have become quite the hot topic around Capitol Hill recently.  They have become a very visible and tangible symbol of the overreach of big government, and I can certainly sympathize with that sentiment.  There have been countless news stories about what the new standards, which are to be phased in over the next few years, will mean to the average American family.  I am quite interested in this debate on a personal level.  It seems like everyone has had a bad experience with the more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), and our family is no exception.  They buzz and flicker.  The light is not the same quality as the incandescent bulb.  And, they contain mercury, which everyone knows is a hazard.  I am told, however, that better technology exists.  And, that while the standard bulb that we know and love may soon be phased out, there are new products that are strikingly similar to the old ones and that have the added benefit of saving electricity.  So, I am looking forward to hearing what our witnesses have to say about it, and to a robust debate today on that topic.

“I’d like to thank our witnesses for joining us today.  I look forward to hearing your testimony.  Mr. Chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing.”