To the Congress of the United States:
As required by Section 201 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), 42 U.S.C. 6261, I am hereby transmitting to the Congress for its approval the following three energy conservation contingency plans: Emergency Weekend Gasoline Sales Restrictions, Emergency Building Temperature Restrictions and Advertising Lighting Restrictions. I have also today directed the Secretary of Energy to publish these conservation plans in the FEDERAL REGISTER, as the final step in my prescribing these plans as required by Sections 202 and 523 of the EPCA.
The plans which I am transmitting are the product of extensive plan development and refinement. They can be effective tools in reducing consumption of energy in the event of a severe energy supply emergency. Work on the development of contingency plans is continuing and any additional measures will be transmitted for approval pursuant to Section 201 of the EPGA upon their completion.
Together with the Standby Gasoline Rationing Plan which I am also transmitting to the Congress today under separate letter, these energy conservation contingency plans could help mitigate the effects upon the United States of a severe energy supply interruption. These measures, along with voluntary conservation efforts and other measures contained in existing legislation and the Department of Energy's present contingency programs, will provide the government with several options to deal with energy emergencies of varying types and degrees of severity. Such flexibility is essential if we are to prevent unnecessary hardship to our citizens and harm to our economy in the event of future curtailments of our energy supplies.
As required by Section 201(f) of the EPCA, each energy conservation contingency plan is accompanied by an analysis which assesses the economic impacts of the plan.
The procedures for approval by Congress of a contingency plan are detailed in Section 552 of the EPCA, and require among other things that a resolution of approval be passed by each House of Congress within 60 days of submittal of the plan. The EPCA does not specify the form which the resolution of approval is to take. It is my view and that of the Attorney General that actions of the Congress purporting to have binding legal effect must be presented to the President for his approval under Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution. Therefore, I strongly recommend that Congressional approval of these plans be in the form of a joint resolution. If this procedure is followed, the plans themselves, agreed to by Congress and the President, will not later be subject to possible judicial invalidation on the ground that the President did not approve the resolution.
I urge the prompt and favorable consideration by the Congress of these plans.
The White House,
March 1, 1979.