Conferees on two major energy bills -- one to encourage production of synthetic fuels, the other to set an Energy Mobilization Board to cut red tape for energy projects -- made little progress yesterday.
On Friday, conferees on synthetic fuels had agreed on an eight-point outline for a bill proposed by House Majority Leader Jim Wright (D-Tex.).
Yesterday, several Republican senators expressed dissatisfaction with some of the points, and the conference broke up to give the Senate time to work out its position. Sen. William L. Armstrong (R-Colo.), for instance, questioned why the conferees were retaining parts of a House-passed defense production act, which Armstrong said was causing "two programs and two tracks" to be set up instead of one.
Senators on the Energy Mobilization Board conference, meanwhile, stuck to their position that a House-passed provision which would let the board waive federal laws that stand in the way of energy projects was unacceptable.
The Senate response came after House conferees voted 11 to 7 to strengthen the waiver provision by extending it to state laws passed in response to federal actions, such as a state clean air act adopted after a federal clean air bill was made law.