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Biden administration finalizes lightbulb efficiency rule sidelined by Trump

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The Biden administration has finalized a proposed rule increasing efficiency standards for lightbulbs after the Trump administration declined to take action on the matter.

The new standards, which ban the production and sale of new bulbs that do not emit a certain level of light per watt of electricity, are expected to phase out most incandescent and halogen bulbs.

The administration projected the full implementation of the new standards would collectively save consumers about $3 billion a year and eliminate the equivalent of 28 million homes’ worth of carbon emissions. Energy efficiency advocates have separately projected that every month the standards are delayed could result in an additional 800,000 tons of carbon emissions.

The Biden administration first proposed the efficiency standards in December, more than two years after the Trump administration declined to impose such rules. The Trump administration said it had made a “predicate determination” against changing the standards.

Before the previous administration’s decision, the U.S. was set to ban most incandescent lightbulbs by 2020, a process that began in 2007 during the George W. Bush administration.

The standards are not set to take effect until Jan. 1 for manufacturers and will be effective for distributors and retailers seven months later.

“This is a victory for consumers and for the climate, one that’s been a long time coming,” Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, said in a statement. “LEDs have become so inexpensive that there’s no good reason for manufacturers to keep selling 19th-century technology that just isn’t very good at turning electrical energy into light. These standards will finally phase out energy-wasting bulbs across the country.”

The finalized rule marks the latest of several Biden administration rules reversing Trump-era energy rollbacks. In January, the administration cut two existing rules that exempted some quick dishwashers, washing machines and dryers from energy efficiency standards.

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