The Department of Energy announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is repealing the energy-saving lightbulb regulations.

The regulation set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and enacted under President Barack Obama, called for more energy-efficient lightbulbs.

President George W. Bush introduced the proposed plan in 2007, and the Obama administration finalized it. As of January 2020, the standard lightbulb was required to be more energy-efficient.

The primary objective of the decades-long debate was to reduce the use of energy inefficient  incandescent light bulbs in favor of efficient LED and halogen bulbs. The Trump administration prevented four additional categories, or about half of the six billion U.S. lightbulbs, from being subject to these strict new regulations. These included bulbs from bathroom vanities, corporate interiors, residential exteriors, expensive wall-decor and other collector items.

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Environmentalists are pushing back against Trump’s move. Consumers would have saved billions of dollars and eliminated climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, using energy-efficient bulbs could save America an estimated $14 billion by 2025.

“The rollback will lead to higher energy bills for homes and businesses, plus significantly more pollution harming our health and the environment due to all the extra electricity that will need to be generated,” the NRDC said in a statement.

The idea was introduced in the Bush-era with bipartisan support but became a partisan issue under t Obama. “The Trump administration is trying to protect technology that was first invented in the 1800s. It’s like trying to protect the horse and buggy from the automobile technology. It makes no sense to go back to technology from two centuries ago, when we have new technology today which saves consumers money and helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of power that we need,” Andrew DeLaski of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project said.

President Trump defended his decision. “What’s saved is not worth it, for the little they save, and what people were going through, it was not worth it,” Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday. “And price was another thing.” The White House claimed purchasing the more efficient bulbs would cost consumers more than the realized savings on their electric bill.

The Energy Department defended Trump administration, “[the rule change] will ensure that the choice of how to light homes and businesses is left to the American people, not the federal government,” it said in a statement.


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