1980 Scorecard Vote
S. 2470. Coal Conversion bill. The vote is on the Johnston motion to kill the Tsongas amendment, which would have assured that utilities not increase air pollution when they shifted from oil to coal as a fuel. Coal is a much dirtier fuel than oil, and the amendment would have required the use of scrubbers or other equipment to control the extra emissions. Without these controls, a massive shift from oil to coal could result in a 25% increase in sulfur dioxides, a 33% increase in nitrogen oxides, and a 16% increase in acid rain in the Northeast, and could have erased much or all of the progress made in cleaning up the region's air since 1970. Acid rain from coal fired plants in Ohio has already wiped out fish in Adirondack lakes many hundreds of miles away, and is also suspected of hurting crop productivity. The Tsongas amendment would have allowed the shift to greater coal use without sacrificing clean air. The Carter Administration supported the motion to kill the Tsongas amendment. June 24, 1980. Passed 63-31. NO was the correct vote.