Capitol Alert

Argument over light bulbs sends California to court against Donald Trump

California is going back to court with the President Donald Trump administration. This time, it’s over light bulbs.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James are leading a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy, challenging the department’s decision to roll back efficiency standards for light bulbs.

The lawsuit alleges that the rollback would “unlawfully delay the adoption of energy efficiency goals, undermine state and local energy policy, and increase consumer and environmental costs,” according to the attorney general’s office.

“The Trump Administration needs to move on from old-fashioned technologies and yesterday’s way of doing business. It’s time to face the reality that American consumers deserve and demand more efficient and sustainable options,” Becerra said in prepared remarks. “Today we filed this lawsuit to block the Department of Energy from pushing a foolish agenda that prioritizes out-dated, polluting technology over the needs of the people and our environment. We can’t afford to turn our back on progress.”

This marks the latest of several dozen lawsuits against Trump that the Golden State has joined since the president took office.

Trump criticized energy efficient light bulbs at a rally in September.

“They took away our light bulb. I want an incandescent light. I want to look better, okay? I want to pay less money to look better. Does that make sense? You pay much less money and you look much better. And on top of that, with the new bulbs, if they break it’s considered a hazardous waste site. It’s all gases inside and you’re supposed to bring it back to where you bought it in a sealed container. Give me a break,” Trump said.

Several groups, including FactCheck.org and PolitiFact, rated Trump’s claim as misleading.

Joining California and New York’s lawsuit are Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, D.C.

The litigants maintain that the DOE should resume the Barack Obama administration’s regulations, “which expanded the definition of general service lamps (GSL) to include seven previously unregulated types of light bulbs,” according to Becerra’s office.

“The rollback would remove those light bulbs from the GSL efficiency, costing consumers $12 billion each year in lost electricity savings by 2025, or $100 per household per year,” Becerra’s office said.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
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