1985 Scorecard Vote
Without more research on pollution control technologies, the commercial development of synthetic fuels from coal and oil shale would create massive environmental problems, including air pollution, groundwater contamination and disposal of huge amounts of toxic wastes. Yet in a frantic response to the oil crises of the 1970s, Congress appropriated nearly $18 billion of federal subsidies for private commercial development of synfuels, subsidies which dwarfed federal efforts to promote solar energy and conservation. This aid began to flow in the 1980s even as synfuel pollution research was being drastically cut.
As oil prices began to drop and synfuels became less and less economically competitive, Congress in 1984 cut $5.5 billion from synfuel subsidies. In 1985, environmentalists joined fiscal conservatives in trying to cut the remaining $7.5 billion in commercial synfuel subsidies, leaving $500 million for research. This vote was on a House "rule" which would have prevented an amendment from being offered to make this cut on the House floor. Rule rejected 179-251; July 24, 1985. NO is the pro-environmental vote. (Adoption of rule, H. Res. 227, for FY 1986 Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 3011.) In the end, Congress passed and the President signed legislation abolishing commercial synfuel subsidies.