Trump dims lights on Obama-era light bulb energy regulations

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By Adam Edelman  with NBC News Politics
Rows of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, marked with the b
Rows of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, marked with the blue energy star symbol, await shoppers at a Home Depot store Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2006, in Orlando, Fla.   -   Copyright  Joanne Carole AP file

President Donald Trump is continuing to turn the lights out on energy regulations.

The Trump administration will roll back requirements for energy-efficient light bulbs, dimming an environmentally friendly policy that was put in place by the two previous presidents.

Under one action, Trump's Energy Department will repeal a regulation enacted under President Barack Obama, set to take effect on Jan. 1 2020, requiring an expanded number of light bulbs in the U.S. to be in compliance with stricter energy efficiency standards. That regulation change was spun off of a 2007 law signed by President George W. Bush that aimed to gradually phase out energy inefficient bulbs like incandescent and halogen bulbs.

The regulation that's being eliminated would have redefined four categories of incandescent and halogen bulbs so that they would be subject to existing energy efficiency rules from which they were previously exempt. It would have applied to about half of the 6 billion light bulbs used in the U.S., experts have said.

The Trump administration said that the Obama rule is a misreading of the 2007 law.

Trump's Energy Department also nixed new energy efficiency standards for all pear-shaped light bulbs that were also scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The decision to extinguish the regulations was made public online Wednesday.

Environmental groups said they don't think the move is a bright idea, arguing that ending the regulations will result in higher utility bills for Americans and the production of more electricity by greenhouse-gas emitting power plants.

At least one group is considering challenging the Trump administration in court.

"We will explore all options, including litigation, to stop this completely misguided and unlawful action," Noah Horowitz, the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Center for Energy Efficiency Standards, said in a statement. "Today's action sets the United States up to become the world's dumping ground for the inefficient incandescent and halogen bulbs being phased out around the world."

The rule changes, first proposed in February, are just the latest example of the president rolling back energy or climate-related policies put into place before his presidency.

Last year,the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was rolling back restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants— a cornerstone of Obama's landmark Clean Power Plan.

Earlier this year, the administration rolled backObama-era fuel economy standards meant to reduce air pollution. And last week,the administration proposed cutting regulations on methane emissions, a key contributor to climate change.