1980 Scorecard Vote
S. 932. This is the final vote on the Energy Security Act as approved by the House-Senate Conference. Although the bill contained incentives for many different energy sources, almost all the real money was for synthetic fuels; other sources only got promises of funding later. The bill created a Synthetic Fuels Corporation which was authorized to spend over $88 billion on the development of synthetic fuels from coal and oil shale. The corporation is paid for with taxpayer's money but designed to operate like a private corporation, virtually exempt from public scrutiny or control. The goal is to produce 1.5 million barrels of synfuels a day by 1992.
Environmentalists have opposed such a massive development of synthetic fuels because its impact would be devastating. It would mean strip mining an area roughly the size of Delaware. Most of the plants would be located in the West where water is scarce, yet each plant would consume from five to ten million gallons of water a day. More water would be polluted from toxics leaching from millions of tons of solid waste. Synfuels also put more carbon dioxide into the global atmosphere than comparable amounts of coal or oil, and could cause changes in the earth's climate.
And all these sacrifices might be for nothing, because it will take ten years for the money invested in synthetic fuels to bear fruit, at a cost of at least $50 a barrel! Environmentalists argued in vain that the money should be spent on more practical energy options. The Carter Administration lobbied hard for the bill. Passed 317-93. June 26, 1980. NO is the correct vote.