Obama pushes back against regulation criticism

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Obama was referring to criticism from conservative corners about a law requiring incandescent light bulbs to be more efficient. Republicans have worried that the law, which dates to the George W. Bush administration, amounted to a ban on traditional light bulbs.

Obama added that his critics have lambasted that “simple stuff that we’re doing, like trying to set up regulations to make appliances more energy efficient, which saves consumers money and is good for our environment, is somehow restricting Americans’ liberty and violates the Constitution.”

In response, the president said that the administration’s job would be to “educate the public about how this can be good for them.”

"This is a practical, hard-headed, smart, business-savvy approach to how we deal with energy and we should be investing in it and encouraging it," he said of his efforts to regulate pollution and develop clean energy sources.

He blamed the oil-and-gas industry’s influence in Washington for Congress’s unwillingness to pass new environmental laws.

“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen too often in Congress is that the fossil fuel industries tend to be very influential – let’s put it that way – on the energy committees in Congress and they tend not to be particularly sympathetic to alternative energy strategies,” he said. 

In addition to light bulbs, federal regulators routinely issue energy efficiency standards for household appliances, some of which have also come under GOP scrutiny.

Last month, Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) decried the Energy Department’s attempts to set new standards for ceiling fans.

"Nothing is safe from the Obama administration’s excessive regulatory tentacles," Blackburn said in a statement at the time.