A deal reached by Congressional negotiators last week revoked the funding necessary to enforce the new bulb regulations set to take effect Jan. 1, according to the Washington Times.
The amendment, which was one of the last points of negotiation on a large government spending bill, prevents the Dept. of Energy  (DOE) from using any funding to enforce the new bulb requirements set out by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. The new energy efficiency requirements are meant to phase out inefficient incandescent bulbs, starting Jan. 1 with 100W bulbs, followed by 75W bulbs in 2013, and 60W and 40W bulbs in 2014.
Larry Lauck, Vice President of Communications for the American Lighting Assn.  (ALA), says this decision doesn’t change anything, and that it’s “business as usual” for ALA and the lighting industry.
“The bottom line is nothing has changed from the standpoint of the manufacturers,” Lauck says. “The industry has moved on. They’re already complying with the law, so that’s not going to change.”
Lauck also says Congress’ decision will have minimal impact, other than to create more confusion among consumers.
“The law is still in effect,” he says. “The DOE cannot use money to enforce the law, but manufacturers have already adopted the new regulations, so the majority of the bulbs on the shelves will be more energy efficient.”
This decision does not mean the end of EISA. Even though the DOE can’t enforce the new regulations, Lauck says the requirements can be enforced at the state level by the state attorney general. Furthermore, the spending bill Congress just passed lasts until Sept. 30, 2012, and after that, Lauck says the DOE may be able to release some of its budget to enforce the EISA requirements.