President Trump renewed his attack on energy-efficient lightbulbs, disparaging the way they make him look -- and holding them up as a prime example of his deregulatory agenda.
Trump ad-libbed praise of old-fashioned and energy-intensive incandescent bulbs as he announced a pair of executive orders on transparency in the guidance and enforcement of regulations.
"Of course, who cares about looks?" Trump said. "But you look better with incandescent lights."
By contrast, he said energy-efficient lightbulbs are "a much more expensive lightbulb that does not have a good-looking light."
The off-the-cuff commentary shows how the lightbulb has quickly become one of the president's go-to examples when it comes to explaining why his administration is rolling back so many Obama-era regulations. Last month, the Energy Department prolonged the lives of incandescent lightbulbs by reversing energy-efficiency standards put in place on President Obama's last day in office.
Yet the image-conscious president's criticism takes on a uniquely Trumpian flare by focusing how the lightbulbs make him look personally.
During a policy retreat with House Republicans in Baltimore last month, for example, Trump drew laughs when he asked, "what’s with the lightbulb?"
He continued: "The bulb that we’re being forced to use, No. 1 to me, most importantly, the light’s no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst."
The Obama-era standards, an effort to slow down climate change, would have effectively phased out certain traditional bulbs by Jan. 1 and eased the way for the wider use of more energy-efficient compact fluorescent and LED bulbs. According to one study, Trump's move to undo the standards will result in $14 billion in higher energy costs per year.
But Trump's energy officials said it was offering consumers more options when they go to the hardware store, an argument Trump himself echoed on Wednesday.
"We are allowing people to choose," Trump said. "They can purchase less expensive lightbulbs. It will look better. Or they can spend more money on what they were doing, and that is fine."
Yet Trump's personal motivation may be flawed: Newer lightbulbs aren't responsible for Trump's signature orange hue, a number of photographers and a makeup artist told The Post's Rebecca Tan last month. According to Jason Kelly, the official makeup artist for the 2016 Republican National Convention, Trump's skin tone is more likely the result of artificial tanning and bronzer.
— Another wild turn during Trump's press conference: The president took his latest jab at the Golden State during his winding remarks. This time it was about cars. “We’re going against California … they make their cars so light it’s papier-mache and you get in an accident, it’s very very dangerous,” he said. The administration and the nation's most populous state are currently locked in a legal fight about pollution standards for cars and light trucks. The president has previously criticized energy-efficient vehicles as lightweight. During a rally in New Mexico last month he said "when somebody hits me, I want to be in as close to an army tank as possible."
— Chaos in California as hundreds of thousands are in the dark: Pacific Gas & Electric shut off the power for more than half a million customers in 20 counties, mostly north of San Francisco, as part of a planned blackout to curb the risk of sparking wildfires. The utility delayed a second round of outages because of favorable weather — but there could still be up to a million households eventually impacted by the proactive shutdowns.
- The big picture: “As California experiences intensifying weather extremes and confronts the sharpening consequences of a changing climate, the power company responsible for starting the deadliest wildfire in state history has undertaken the most extensive planned power outage ever employed,” The Post’s Scott Wilson reports.
- “A windy day isn’t just a windy day anymore”: Some of the residents dealing with the outages are people who lived through two of California’s worst fires – the Camp Fire in 2018 and the Tubbs Fire in 2017, as The Post’s Reis Thebault reports. “We went through the fire, we’ve been through hell and back,” said Ravi Saip, whose family was one of the first to move back to Paradise after the Camp Fire. “And now we’re being penalized for living in our home. This can’t be your solution.”
- Governor lays blame on utility: At a news conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) chided PG&E's disruptions. “I’m outraged because it didn’t have to happen,” he said. “They’re in bankruptcy due to their terrible management going back decades. They’ve created these conditions; it was unnecessary.”
- The impacts on electric car owners: Tesla issued an advisory ahead of the rolling outages, warning owners of electric vehicles to charge up before they faced the possibility of their cars running out of battery, The Post’s Faiz Siddiqui reports.
- Outages could hit Southern California, too: As residents in the northern half of the state deal with PG&E’s shutoffs, Southern California Edison warned it could also cut power for more than 173,000 customers in order to curb wildfire risk amid strong winds forecast for the area, according to the Los Angeles Times reports.
— 2020 watch: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled her latest climate plan that calls for spending $1 trillion over the next decade on environmental justice, focusing efforts on vulnerable communities most impacted by climate change.
- The details: Warren’s plan includes shifting the Council on Environmental Quality to a Council on Climate Action that prioritizes environmental justice. It proposes reversing funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, including to its Civil Rights office and Office of Environmental Justice. The plan also includes a bill — the Climate Risk Disclosure Act — that would “require banks and other companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and price their exposure to climate risk into their valuations, raising public awareness of just how dependent our economy is on fossil fuels.”
- The reaction: It generally earned praise from environmentalists, with the Sunrise Movement called it a "bold plan to deliver environmental justice and a just transition while fighting climate change."
— Climate change could further housing inequality: A new study found homeowners in wealthier counties are the ones turning to the federal government when they want to retreat from climate impacted areas, such as flood zones. Research published in journal Science Advances found that of the more than 43,000 properties the Federal Emergency Management Agency bought out from 1989 to 2017, most were in rich counties, the Miami Herald reports. “That leaves researchers worried that buyouts — traditionally considered a tool to help the most vulnerable adapt to climate change — can actually worsen inequality,” the Herald writes.
— Man, it’s a hot one: Last month tied for the second-warmest September on record in the Lower 48 states, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “And we’re not done yet. The Climate Prediction Center’s three-month temperature outlook favors anomalous warmth across the contiguous United States through the remainder of autumn,” The Post’s Matthew Cappucci reports.
— California bans pesticide linked to child brain damage: The state reached an agreement with Corteva Agriscience, the maker of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, to phase out the sale and use of the chemical in treating crops by the end of 2020, NPR reports. The decision from the nation's biggest agricultural-producing state comes after the federal Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition in July to issue a similar ban on a widely used pesticide, which researchers have linked to neurological damage in children.
— Administration eliminates smart-grid panel: The Commerce Department said the Smart Grid Advisory Committee — a panel meant to provide input on improving electric grids with smart technology — was shuttered at the end of September, the Hill reports. It’s the third advisory panel eliminated for the next fiscal year, following Trump’s executive order to direct federal agencies to terminate at least a third of their advisory committees. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and the Interior Department’s Invasive Species Advisory Committee have also been cut.
— Lawsuit targets BLM drilling plan in Colorado: Environmental groups have a filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the plan to expand oil and gas leasing in western Colorado, in an area around the planned new headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management. The plan approved in 2015 would allot 935,600 acres for oil and gas leasing, but the groups say the agency has not properly assessed the climate impact on the region.
- The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight holds a field hearing on addressing the lead crisis through innovation and technology on Oct. 15.
— It's leaf-peeping time: Because we know you were looking for a perfect weekend fall activity, here's a graphic from The Post on where to find the best fall foliage, complete with maps, animations and a guide to the various types of leaves.