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Mercury In The Air: Bad; Mercury In Your Home: Good?

In CFL Bulbs, Obama Administration on August 30, 2011 at 12:21 am

 The Obama Administration is working at cross-purposes.

On one hand, the Wall Street Journal reports the Obama EPA is “pushing an unprecedented rewrite of air-pollution rules in an attempt to shut down a large portion of the coal-powered fleet.”  About 8% of the nation’s electricity production could be shut down in order to combat mercury emissions.  [1]

On the other hand, the same Obama Administration supports new rules mandating CFL bulbs in the home.  The . [2]

This means literally billions of CFLs in American homes and apartment buildings.  CFLs contain 3-5 mg. of mercury vapor.  Because mercury is poisonous, a broken bulb is a concern.  Waste-haulers and landfills will receive CFL bulbs, many of which will break in the trash.  [3] 

Thus, the Administration’s message seems to be:  mercury in the air from a power plant?  Bad.  Mercury in the air of your home from a broken CFL bulb?  A necessary sacrifice in the name of reduced electric consumption.  We see federal subsidies to encourage CFLs even as limiting coal power plants will drive up power costs.  If we keep “government out of our bedrooms” for, ahem, certain purposes, why would we want the government to decide our bedroom lighting choices?

[1] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903327904576524423674218998.html?KEYWORDS=epa+moratorium

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase_out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs#Federal_legislation

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