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Special Report

New Light Bulb Regulations

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 22, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Before the break, we asked, "will you start hoarding traditional light bulbs before they're phased out for energy efficient ones?" 79 percent have so far said yes in our online poll, 21 percent said no. Again, that's nonscientific.

Now, we're talking about the phasing out of the 100-watt incandescent light bulbs to be almost 30 percent more energy efficient. They've stop making them. And now you have to go to this non compact florescent light bulbs, or CFL's

Now here is the brochure -- that what happens if you drop one of these things. From the EPA, "Have people and pets leave the room. Air out the room for ten minutes, turn off the air-conditioning and heating, collect all the materials, pick up the broken glass and visible powder, get it in a sealable container. Make sure that no bulb fragments are anywhere in the house. Also some recycling centers might not accept all CFL's, so check your state and hazardous waste authority before you move forward. For several hours afterwards continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the air conditioning or heating off." So be careful. Don't drop one.

(LAUGHTER)

We're back with the panel. There is an effort, Fred, for Republicans to overturn this law which we should point out was passed in 2007 and signed by President Bush.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Indeed. And Bret I'm disappointed that I was not consulted in that poll about whether I'd hoard or not. But I'm gonna let you know, I'm gonna hoard hundreds of the old fashioned light bulbs because these ones, I mean just think, you have kids around your house, that's -- an awful lot of people do, and the light bulb breaks, what do you do?

Anyway, this is not the first thing along this path. Remember a few years ago when we had to take out the toilets or had to get new toilets, because -- so they would flush smaller amount of water? And then with our dishwashers, they took phosphates out of the dishwasher cleanser, which meant when you used your dishwashers that the dishes didn't get as clean, and as a matter of fact, not very clean at all. And then, remember the shower heads, you had to get new shower heads, because they didn't want as much water coming through, and now the light bulbs.

I mean, this is really the nanny state gone amok. And this stuff, our constitution, should mean something, should have some limits on what the federal government can do, and I'd start with light bulbs.

BAIER: Juan?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Ya know change is inevitable. I think the industry is backing this. It looks to me like you had Republicans and Democrats who bought into this because, ya know, the idea is that it's more energy efficient. Nobody wants to drop light bulbs of any kind. I try to avoid it that in general. BAIER: It's just a little bit more specific --

WILLIAMS: But this has mercury -- well, because this has mercury in it and the mercury presents some danger. But the general thing is, when you clear the room out for 15 minutes, I mean you're back to business. So let's not overflow it but --

BAIER: Well, this is the EPA guideline. Just so that -- it's right here.

WILLIAMS: Right. I'm saying -- basically, what they say is you give the room 15 minutes and you're OK. Don't let the dog over there or something. But the bigger thing--

BAIER: Call the hazardous waste authority? That's a little different than dropping -- it's in the EPA.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: No, no -- that's ridiculous. I mean, that's like reading the warnings on your medicine. You ever read the warnings on a piece of medicine? I avoid it. (INAUDIBLE). They scare you.

But this is not -- look classic Coke, I would hoard classic Coke. But look, we're going to have light. No one's going to turn off the lights on us.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: So how many people does it take to change a CFR light bulb? Eleven -- one to screw it in and ten to help you with the hazmat suit and to clear the children and small dogs out of the exclusion zone of about, I don't know, 20 miles. This is insane. If incandescents are such a problem, well, let people in the market decide. You can even have the government put its thumb on the scale by subsidizing CFR's, but let people have a choice.

This is exactly what Fred is talking about, the nanny state gone wild. And if you don't trust people in the market, we ought to have to have a new system of government.

BAIER: Does it get overturned?

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Not at all. No way, not even close.

BARNES: Unfortunately, I'm afraid not. As Juan pointed out, the industry that makes the light bulbs is for this. And you know why? It's not because they care so much about the consumers. They make more money on this.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned to see who will not be in the coalition in Libya.

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