A bill to overturn a 2007 law that requires certain energy efficiency standards for light bulbs is due to hit the floor of the House of Representatives sometime next week. The legislation, sponsored by Republican Joe Barton, of Texas, is just the kind of issue that ruffles feathers on both sides. "The Republicans are trying to strip away a smart, industry-supported piece of environmental legislation that doesn't require drastic changes and was signed into law by George W. Bush," is the essential point of view of those who oppose it. "The government wants to control your life so minutely it's reaching into your home and telling you which lightbulbs you can and can't use, and besides, those flourescent lightbulbs have mercury in them and are hazardous to your health," goes the thinking of the bill's supporters. And at the heart of each argument are numbers. So many numbers. Let's take a look at the figures each side says add up to doom.
$12.5 billion: The amount of savings opponents of Barton's bill say consumers would reap from energy efficient lightbulbs by 2020 under the 2007 law.
30 percent: The amount by which lightbulb manufacturers would be required to increase the efficiency of incandescent bulbs by 2020, under the 2007 law.