Energy and Commerce Chairman: Look for light bulb agreement "soon"

Texas Gov. Rick Perry yesterday ensured Texans will be able to use incandescent light bulbs as long as they’re manufactured in Texas — but the rest of us just might be able to enjoy their rosy glow a little longer, too. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) today hinted at a possible agreement that would alter the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 2012 phase-out of the incandescent light bulb.

At The Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers Briefing this afternoon, Heritage web editor Amy Payne directed a pointed question to the Congressman. “Will we be able to keep our light bulbs?” she asked.

Upton’s answer was cryptic, but encouraging. “That is an issue that is out there,” he said. “I’ve been working closely with [Rep.] Joe Barton [R-Tex.] and [Rep.] Mike Burgess [R-Tex.] and we’re very close to seeing an agreement merge and happen, so stay tuned. … A couple different things that we’re looking at. Just stay tuned in the next couple days, actually. Maybe a little breaking news — well, let’s just say ‘soon.’ We’ve had some good conversations and we’ll see where we are later in the week.”

Last Congress, Barton and Burgess, along with Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, introduced the BULB Act, which would have repealed Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 — the phase-out of the incandescent bulb.

What Upton had to say about oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was less encouraging, however.

“The sad news is, the Gulf produces a third of our oil, but because we’ve said no to new leases, etc., over the last year since [the] BP [Deepwater Horizon oil spill], the oil production has actually declined by 110,000 barrels a day just on the Department of Energy forecast from last year,” Upton said.

Fortunately, the Chairman understands that’s a problem.

“That’s got to change. We’ve got to do something to change that,” he said.