Charleston, West Virginia Remarks in a Panel Discussion and Question-and-Answer Session on Energy.
THE PRESIDENT. First of all, I want to say that I'm very delighted to be back in West Virginia. I've always felt at home here. And I was particularly grateful to see that West Virginia and Georgia have a lot in common. One thing that comes to mind immediately is the election returns when they came in last November. I was very pleased with that. [Laughter]
Senator Byrd says that West Virginia is a kind of a steep Georgia. And we have a lot in common, I think, with one another.
This afternoon we are participating-I'm going to learn a lot---in a discussion about basic energy policy for our country. We are going to have 20 mini-conferences at the White House, presided over by Dr. James Schlesinger, and I'll go by as many of those as I can.
We are having 10 regional meetings around the United States, and Dr. Schlesinger sent out 450,000 letters to different Americans who are interested in the energy question to try to get from them ideas on how we might come forward with a comprehensive nationwide energy policy, which will be concluded and which I will present to a Joint Session of the Congress about April 20.
This is just 3 months after I took office. It's long overdue. It's one of the most important considerations I will ever face as President of the United States.
We now have about 90 percent of our energy reserves in coal, but only about 18 percent of the energy that we use comes from coal. And one inevitable major shift in the years ahead is away from oil and natural gas and toward coal. We want to be sure that when this shift is made that a continuing substantial major portion of the coal to be used comes from the Appalachian region, from the eastern part of the United States. This is a coal deposit that is precious to us. Labor is already concentrated here from past times and, although we have had a reduction in coal production in the last 10 years from about 157 million tons a year in West Virginia down to about 110 million tons a year, I think the inevitable future developments will be toward a heavier dependence and a higher production of coal.
So, I'm very grateful to come here this afternoon to meet with this well-qualified panel. And now I'd like to introduce them briefly and turn the first part of our session over to Dr. Schlesinger to preside.
The first person I'd like to introduce is Lewis McManus. He's in the insurance business; former speaker of the West Virginia house of representatives.
Of course, the next one is well known to everyone, as is Mr. McManus--Arnold Miller, who's the president of the United Mine Workers of America.
Ed Light, a staff member of the Citizens Action Group, which is the leading West Virginia public interest group.
The next one is a very close and personal friend of mine. I have always basked in the benefit of his sound advice, and I hope that when I go out of office he will still have many years to go in the United States Senate--Senator Jennings Randolph, who's the chairman of the Senate Public Works Committee.
The next is Mayor John Hutchinson, who's the mayor of Charleston. He's on the Federal Energy Administration Advisory Board on Coal. He's also chairman of the Energy and Environmental Standing Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Next is Herbert Jones, who's the president of the Amherst Coal Company and president of the West Virginia Coal Association.
Judy Stephenson, who's executive director of the West Virginia environmental group "Save Our Mountains."
Secretary Cecil Andrus of the Department of Interior on my immediate right, former Governor of Idaho and one of the new lights of the Carter administration of whom I'm very proud.
On my left is Dr. James Schlesinger. He's the former Director of the Atomic Energy Commission, former Director of the Budget Bureau, former Director of the CIA, former Secretary of Defense, and he's been constantly promoted until now he's reached the pinnacle of his success so far. He's the major adviser in our country on the important subject of energy.
We also have on his left, one of my very close personal friends of whom I'm extremely proud, and that's your new Governor, Jay Rockefeller.
The panel member to whom I'm most grateful--I share a lot with him--he's not a politician, he's not a speech maker, and he kind of hates those categories, but he's a working man who brings to the panel a practical knowledge of what it means to be a coal miner. And Ed Smith, I'm very grateful that you were willing to serve with us this afternoon. Ed Smith has worked in the deep mines of West Virginia for 40 years. And I thank you for taking the day off to come and be with us.
The next person is Jack Lloyd, the vice president of the Appalachian Power Company, a major distributor of electric power in West Virginia.
Carole Ferrell, who's administrative officer of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission.
The next one is Doug Costle. He's newly sworn in as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. This is a very difficult job, and Doug Costle brings a practical approach to the administration of the laws in our country which require that we have our environment, our quality of life protected.
The next person is Dr. Allen Hamner, who's a professor of chemistry at West Virginia Wesleyan College. He's a research associate to the West Virginia Coal Research Bureau. His major study in college-he's one of the foremost Nation's experts on the subject of coat. We're very proud to have you, professor.
The next one is Eric Reichl, president of the Conoco Coal Development Company, whose subsidiary, Consolidated Coal Company, or Consol, is a major West Virginia coal producer. We're glad to have you with us, Mr. Reichl.
And the last one I'd like to introduce before I turn the program over to Dr. Schlesinger is Norman Kilpatrick, with the Surface Mining Research Laboratory [Library] at West Virginia; he's the director of the Federal/State program for the mayor of Charleston. We are grateful to have you with us.
PANEL DISCUSSION WEST VIRGINIA
I'd like to ask now Jay Rockefeller to make a brief statement, following which Dr. Schlesinger will take charge of the program. Jay?
GOVERNOR ROCKEFELLER. Thank you, Mr. President. We're very grateful that you're in West Virginia.
West Virginia has some gas and we have some oil, but we're essentially a coal mining State, as you know. We're the second largest producer in the Nation. If the Nation lived off of the coal reserves which are recoverable in West Virginia, and if we lived off those reserves alone, the Nation could survive for 50 to 100 years. On the other hand, the policy of energy has been going in the opposite direction, away from coal. We regret that and, therefore, we think that coal should be a centerpiece for our national energy problem. But speaking from the West Virginia point of view, as we go into that policy, if we do go into that policy, we've got some problems to solve and problems to face first.
One of them is environmental. There has never been a happy relationship between either deep mining, the surface mining of coal, and the protection of the environment in a pure manner. We are trying to face up to some of those problems, Mr. President. We have not been able to do that entirely to our satisfaction.
I'm also concerned about the whole problem of productivity, not only here but across the Nation. Our coal miners today are not being able to produce the amount of coal that they were even 10 years ago. And even though we have more coal miners working than 10 years ago, the tonnage is way down. There are a lot of reasons for that. Part of that reason, I think, comes as a matter of attitude and certain basic conflicts between unions and operators-part mythology, part correct--but in effect, it's had its toll. And in order to serve the national interest, which West Virginia chooses to do, we've got to overcome those, not only here but elsewhere--problems of attitudes, problems of relationship.
We think that coal is good. We expect 20 or 30 thousand more jobs in our State in this future related to coal, directly and indirectly. And we are proud to have coal. But we do not want to have coal, Mr. President, to mine it, to produce it, to help the Nation serve its problems, and have this come back and run over the top of us a little bit like it did in World War II, when people came in and took our coal and didn't leave us anything left.
So that we have a very strong sense that there must be--as West Virginia gives its coal to the Nation--it's going to be costly, because the socio-economic impact on West Virginia is something that all of us in this State have to be very concerned about.
We're optimistic. We're proud of this type of forum. We feel we have something to offer, and we're ready to do it.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. Jim?
NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY
MR. SCHLESINGER. Thank you, Mr. President.
The first area of discussion for us today will be the elements that would constitute a national energy policy.
I'll just make a few brief observations. We have a legacy which will be short-lived, a fleeting legacy of fossil fuels. During the past century, we have been going through those fossil fuels at an increasing rate. By the early part of the 21st century, oil and gas will be gone or going; we will have to become more dependent on coal. But over the course of the 21st century, we must find a long-term technological solution that will provide us with a substitute for fossil fuels when they permanently run out.
For the next decade, we have only what we have at hand today. And that means that we are going to have to do two things in our national energy policy: conservation, fuel efficiency on the one hand, and switching to those fuels that are domestically available, notably coal, on the other.
Those will be the principal challenges, and the President will be proposing a legislative program on the 20th of April to achieve those near-term objectives as well as a longer-term solution.
THE PRESIDENT. Do you want to call on some of the other folks?
MR. SCHLESINGER. Mayor Hutchinson.
MAYOR HUTCHINSON. Mr. President, very quickly, West Virginia and Charleston is proud to have you and members of your official family with us today. Conservation, as you well know, is a necessary first step in the solution of the energy problem, not only in the short term, to ease the pain somewhat in the availability of energy, but in the long run, necessary building blocks for a long-range policy.
Conservation, as you know, is either voluntary or mandatory. And the decisions, where you bite the bullet, will fall someplace in between the two.
The connotation of mandatory regulation brings about the specter, possibly, of hardship and rationing to the American people. But our people, as you know, have stood up before, and I'm sure are willing to stand again. But we're kind of like that proverbial horse that keeps getting led to the water; we have got to know what we're going to have to drink. And at this point, the most fantastic or astonishing thing to me is that the fallout of the oil embargo, 3 or 4 years ago, was that the Federal Government had no independent or objective, or very little independent or objective information as to what the energy status was in this country.
That is almost astonishing. And unfortunately, up until the last month or so, there hasn't been any change in that policy. And I was very happy to see that you came out strong a few weeks ago, and said that your administration was dedicated to the task of getting to the bottom of the natural gas crisis. And a report to the people-that is necessary and that is important-not only facts for you, as President, and your advisers to create policy for this country, but the public has got to know. Otherwise, we can't follow.
MR. KILPATRICK. Mr. President, there is a point in the area of utility reform which Interior Secretary Andros has proposed to be studied. I'd like to say to Dr. Schlesinger, if I might, that I think it's extremely vital. Right now, there are some specific cases that people concerned with conservation, with efficiency and using domestic fuels, feel generally are almost insane in their extreme. I'll give you an example. Baltimore Gas & Electric Company is about to open a 1300-megawatt power plant in the Baltimore area, using foreign oil, despite the fact that West Virginia low-sulfur coal has been offered to them, and the plant can burn coal.
The Southern Company is in the process, and has already signed at least one contract, to bring western coal to Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Detroit Edison is in the process of bringing western coal to Detroit. And Niagara Mohawk, in western New York State, that has always bought Appalachian coal, is considering buying western coal through Detroit Edison's transportation affiliate for use in western New York.
I have here, and I'd like you and your staff to have a chance to look at this, an example of a Federal Power Commission report by Ohio Power Company--not by the Federal Government, but by Ohio Power Company--that shows that they have converted a plant in Ohio predominantly to western coal or coal that they mine from their own mines, despite the fact, as this report shows, that low-sulfur coal from Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia is being delivered to that plant cheaper, total cost-wise, than the western coal they're bringing in. The western coal is being moved on their own barge lines, whose costs are not regulated by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission.
So, what I would propose your administration consider is a fiat ban on the automatic feature of fuel adjustment clauses in every State in the country. This is the only way I can see to require utilities to buy the cheapest possible fuel, consistent with whatever environmental regulations are involved. And I would add that this State has--both the legislature and the Public Service Commission have abolished the automatic feature of the clause here. After we did it, surprisingly enough, our largest power plant in this State, which was using predominantly out-of-State coal, was suddenly converted back to predominantly West Virginia coal, and the total cost went down to the consumer.
THE PRESIDENT. I'd like to ask Dr. Hamner, if he would, to comment on the relationship between the Btu production of eastern coal compared to western coal, compared to the sulfur oxides emissions. Is it very much different when you measure it on the basis of Btu's?
MR. HAMNER. There is no question that there is a great difference. The difference appears, first of all, in the moisture content. A figure regarding western coal that has always impressed me enormously: If there is 35 percent moisture in a coal, a unit train carrying 100 tons of western coal is carrying 35 tons of water. In a country attempting to be efficient in the use of energy, it's a striking number.
The Btu of coal in West Virginia might run about 12,500; that of a western coal, perhaps as low as 6,500, but that would be a low figure. Now, sulfur dioxide varies considerably in the East. But we have--I cannot quote the name of the study--but we have here in West Virginia approximately 70 percent of the low-sulfur coal which is east of the Mississippi. And we are eager that that coal should be used.
MR. KILPATRICK. But as long as you have automatic fuel clauses, the utility may bring in coal or oil from anywhere they want to, at any price, pass it on automatically to the consumer for whatever reasons, and the local coal, even though it may be cheaper or better quality, does not have to be used.
THE PRESIDENT. The way I understand the question, and I'd like for Mr. Lloyd maybe to comment, is that with the automatic provision that you would like to eliminate, no matter what the energy cost is, the power companies are automatically authorized to pass all of those extra costs on to the consumers if it comes from the increased cost of fuel, which means that the power companies don't have as a major factor, the cost of the fuel they burn.
MR. HAMNER. This is correct. West Virginia is an exception to that rule.
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Lloyd, would you comment, please?
MR. LLOYD. Mr. President, I think we have to look at several things. First, the cost of generating power--50 percent of your cost at this day and time is in fuel. The fuel clause is only a purpose of when the fuel goes up, you have some means to pass that cost on, because it's a cost you cannot absorb in your rates. We do not have a fuel clause in West Virginia, as Mr. Kilpatrick has said.
The question we are facing here today is--and I think all utilities are going to use the cheapest coal they can use, the cheapest fuel. I think you said that 73 percent of our .energy was being used through oil and natural gas. We know we've got to replace that petroleum with coal. Now, to me it seems though, that we're going to have to use all the coal we can in this country. It's not just West Virginia coal we're concerned about, it's just not West Virginia's power plants or its generating capacity. We're concerned about the whole United States. I 'think Dr. Schlesinger would agree.
We're going to need all the fuel we can get. It's just not a matter of saying we're confining our interests to a State's borders. We're looking at the entire United States. I think we're all thinking that way. We just can't think about one local area in this problem. And I don't think any utility is going to try to take advantage of this position in the utilization of its fuel. We're going to use West Virginia fuel any place we can get it. We have to recognize we have to meet certain standards. In West Virginia, we're dedicated to West Virginia coal, and we're going to use it in our power plants.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, Senator, and I'll get to you next. Mr. Jones?
MR. JONES. I just wanted to state that recently the Edison Electric Institute estimated that by 1985, 85 percent of the western coal will be consumed west of the Mississippi River. So, I don't think that we're going to have a great influx of western coal coming very far east.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, sir. That's a good point.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Mr. President, if this is a pleasantry, I do not mean it as such. We are helped and honored by your presence in West Virginia today. And I think that it was very appropriate that you mentioned Senator Byrd, the majority leader of the Senate, and I shall mention Senator--I started to say--I'll withdraw that for a moment, but I do want you to know that the other members of our delegation who are not here, Representative Staggers, Representative Mollohan, and Representative Slack would have liked to have been here; Representative Rahall is here.
In reference to the subject being discussed, Mr. President, in the four States, the small operators in West Virginia and Kentucky and Tennessee in 1974 produced 150 million tons. That certainly shows that the small coal operation is very important, as well as the large operation.
We have over 100 small operators that could produce coal in five States in the Appalachian region, if the implementation by the Federal Energy Administration of the action of the Congress in 1975, and again in 1976, came into being. That's the loan that we speak of, which implementation needs to be made now.
THE PRESIDENT. It's been authorized but not appropriated, right?
SENATOR RANDOLPH. That's right.
Ms. FERRELL. Mr. President, before we get away with the thoughts that Mr. Lloyd passed on, it seems as though it would be so easy for him to say we'll just pass the cost over to the consumer. And that's what really upsets me. You know, it almost straightens my hair. [Laughter]
I sat down last night with my husband and we paid our monthly bills, and I totaled up the utility bills and they came to $120. And the weather has been nice. But it's still too high. When I think about people whose welfare checks only come to $200 a month, and their utility bills come to $150 and they have to buy food stamps with that money, the cost cannot continue to be passed on to the consumers. There is not very much more that we'll be able to stand.
THE PRESIDENT. One of the major things that we have been talking about in the White House the last 8 weeks, Dr. Schlesinger and I, and Secretary Andrus as well, has been how to cut down those monthly bills for consumers. One of the easiest ways is to make sure that homes are adequately insulated. And one of the sad things about the circumstances is that the poorer the family is, the less likely their homes are to be insulated properly.
Dr. Schlesinger has said that the cheapest oil that we could buy is the oil that we save; that the cost of insulation and of other means is only about $1 per barrel, whereas if you buy oil or its equivalent coal, it costs you about $15.50 a barrel. So, I think that this is a matter that we will address very firmly in the new energy policies that will come up subsequent to April 20.
There are other things that we'll get into later on in the program--I'll let Dr. Schlesinger give me guidance on when--one of which, obviously, is the different rate structure for the sale of electric power, to encourage homeowners and industrial users, as well, to use a minimum amount of electric power to meet their own needs, and also to use that power when you don't have peak loads that do cost the power companies extra money.
I think our biggest challenge is in the conservation field. Perhaps Dr. Schlesinger would like to comment on what we can do in that area, and we'll move on from there.
MR. SGHLESINGER. Mr. President, on Mr. Kilpatrick's suggestion, indeed I think that the power companies that have been investing in oil, in oil-fired plants, probably have made a relatively short-term investment, and I'm not sure it's a wholly judicious one. We will be shifting, as Mr. Lloyd suggests, to more and more use of coal. By 1985, 1987, we should be producing in this country 1 billion tons or more if we are to meet our needs.
We will be looking at suggestions such as the one that Mr. Kitpatrick has made in terms of attempting to minimize the impact on consumers of what are substantial shifts in the pattern of energy use.
MR. MCMANUS. Mr. President, before you move away from conservation, I'd like to emphasize the fact that I think conservation is an important aspect of the energy picture, but it is not by any stretch of the imagination the total answer.
And in the conservation picture, I think the Nation as a whole needs the moral leadership of your office, and I'm delighted that we're getting it, to answer some of the critical comments that surfaced after the 1973 embargo. A lot of the people in my community were expressing such things as, "I couldn't buy gasoline at 39 cents a gallon .but all at once at 65 cents it's available." So, the kind of information that has to emanate from you has to be relayed to the public so that the confidence that our citizenry once had in the Chief Executive is restored.
And I think that you can do it. I am confident that you can do it. You've exhibited that by your appearance in Clinton last night, your appearance here today. And I think if you continue to emphasize that in your public appearances, the people will react to your leadership in conserving energy.
But the reaction has to be because the President says it's so, and we believe him, not because the utility producers, Mr. Lloyd, or the oil and gas people say we have a problem. Because in 1973 the problem seemed to be answered by money. And as the consumer advocate has just told you, money is a scarce item to many, many people in this Nation today, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Mr. McManus.
I might add one point, and then I'd like for Secretary Andrus to go into the actual coal production possibilities.
There is no question that we're going to have to save energy. There is no question that we're going to have to shift strongly toward increasing use of coal. Those two things we know.
We had a meeting the other day with most of the Cabinet members and their families, as a matter of fact, and Dr. Schlesinger gave us a historic picture of the energy-use trends. And I pointed out to the Cabinet that we now have above a 70-percent favorable rating in the polls for our job so far, but when we come out with an energy policy on April 20, we'll probably lose about 10 or 15 percent of that.
But I'm willing to give up some of my own personal popularity among the people of this Nation to require them to face the brutal facts that we all are going to have to work together to deal with the impending crisis that's going to come regardless in future years as energy runs out. And if we start making plans now on how to deal with it, then the shock to our societal life will be much less 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now when oil and gas is much more scarce and also much more expensive.
There is no way to keep the price from going up. There is no way to keep from running out. But we are long overdue in this country in having someone come forward, the President of the United States or others, and say this is what we've got to face; these are the steps that we're going to have to take. And I believe to the extent that we can put together a comprehensive package that the American people can understand, that through patriotic motivations, they will say, "I'm willing to do my share."
There is one other thing that we've already moved on, and the Congress has been very helpful with this already, and that's a reorganization of the energy agencies in the Federal Government. In the past this has been so fragmented and so confused that nobody knew where to go to get the answer to a question or register a complaint or give a suggestion or give a criticism.
But if we can put into effect the reorganization proposal that has been worked out by Secretary Andrus and by Dr. Schlesinger-and the Congress, I believe, will do this without delay--we can have in one major agency in the Federal Government the concentrated authority and responsibility for dealing with the energy crisis now and in the future. And I think this in itself will be a major step forward.
So, those two things--a new energy department and a new energy policy--I think will help us acquaint the American people with the facts. And if we can do this as we should, without misleading anyone and without anyone getting a selfish advantage, my belief is that the American people will respond well.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Twenty seconds, please.
The President, I think, can bring about, if he will have the Secretary of Commerce or the Federal Highway Administrator see to it that the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit is enforced, that people observe it. At the present time, we have approximately 90,000 barrels of oil saved daily by the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit. We can have 200,000 barrels of oil saved daily if it actually is observed and the people subscribe to it.
Now, I believe that you, working with the Secretary of Commerce and the Federal Highway Administrator, can give the leadership, because it's very important for me to add that we have by law given to the administration the right to withhold highway funds if that law is not observed.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
MR. REICHL. Mr. President, I might comment on the matter of time with regard to these measures. I think we should recognize that the energy system is enormously complex and massive, and any change that a new policy brings about will take significant time to show effect.
For instance, it takes 10 years to change the fleet of cars. It will take years to insulate all the homes that can be insulated. And just to give you an idea about the low-sulfur coal in the East versus West, if we have to shut down northern West Virginia high-sulfur mines and open them in southern West Virginia, this is not necessarily a good thing for the State to happen. I think there are other items we should get to after we talk about coal. But I want to warn about the time element required to be significant here in making any changes in policy.
THE PRESIDENT. As we approach the April 20th report to the Nation and to the Congress, it's very important that Dr. Schlesinger have that kind of advice, because when we spell out an energy policy and a time schedule for putting it into effect, I'm going to be very determined as President to make sure we meet our time schedule.
And so, we want to make sure that before I do present it to the country that we understand the obstacles that we might face.
MR. LIGHT. I'd like to mention the importance to the environment in West Virginia of restructuring the rates we pay for electricity; the idea of the peak-load pricing to pay more for the electricity during the peak demand has been ignored pretty much by the State and Federal Government. We have the impending licensing of a very energy-inefficient and destructive project in West Virginia called the Davis Power Project which would flood the beautiful and unique Canaan Valley and also destroy some other unique wilderness areas in West Virginia.
The Federal Power Commission has ignored the alternative of lowering the peak demands through rate restructuring or, perhaps, if this is not sufficient, build a pollution controlled, coal-fired power plant.
There are also--many of the other remaining free-flowing streams in West Virginia are on the Army Corps of Engineers' books for more of these destructive pump storage projects.
THE PRESIDENT. Ed, we had a meeting the other day with the Chairman of the TVA and they are doing two things that I think are helpful already. And we need to restructure, I think, the program of the TVA to let it be a massive demonstration project on how we can save electrical power. When the TVA was originally formed it was an innovative idea that helped people that hadn't been helped in the past, and over a period of years, it's just gotten to be another utility with no thrust to help people try new and productive opportunities.
One of the things that they are doing, for instance--they've got 4 million homes by the way on TVA--they are providing insulation opportunities for homeowners, and the TVA is financing the cost. This puts thousands of people to work, because the blowing of insulation in attics and so forth is primarily manual labor; it doesn't require high skills.
And then they continued the last year's monthly electricity bills at the same rate they were last year, but because of the good insulation, they're not using as much electricity. So, the difference between what they paid last year and what they're using this year is taken to pay off the borrowed money.
Another thing they're doing is putting into a number of homes--I think the number he told me was 14,000 homes---a little red light that goes on on the wall of the kitchen. And in the peak-load hours, Mr. Lloyd, that red light comes on. They charge the homeowner a great deal more for electricity when that red light is on, but they charge them less during other hours. This is a reminder to the housewife, for instance, that when she's going to wash a batch of clothes or wash dishes, that she ought to do it when that red light is not on.
So, I think that we're going to have to shift toward some recognition of the peakload time, which would be very helpful to the power companies, but which would take a great deal of planning to acquaint the American people with the opportunities.
Yes? Mr. Lloyd?
MR. LLOYD. If I may say, our company, too, recognizes the need for insulation. We have a program before--we have a request for a program from the SEC and before the regulatory bodies of the two States we operate in to finance an insulating program with all our customers irregardless of electric or gas. And we're hoping we can do this.
At the same time, we're experimenting with heat storage, a matter which is off peak loading. We have installed in an experimental program cassette recording to determine people's living habits. I think we're going to see a great innovation in rate reform in the coming few years. And it's going to be, I think, quite acceptable by the public. It's something that we can look forward to happening in the near future.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes?
Ms. FERRELL. Mr. President, responding once again to Mr. Lloyd--Jack, you're going to hate me after this--I don't think the power company has any business in the insulation business. They're there to provide electrical power for us. Why couldn't the Government provide low-interest loans for homeowners and property owners?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, in most cases, I agree with the consumer. I think in this case, I see that Mr. Lloyd has got a good idea. The reason is that it would take an enormous bureaucracy for the Federal Government to set up a way to bill homeowners every month to repay loans to insulate their homes.
Since the power companies already have a mechanism with which you are fully familiar to send you .a bill every month, you know, if it could be handled with maybe the Government guaranteeing part of the loan cost and then let the utility companies, if they will, participate by billing the homeowner and collecting the money and turning it over to the ones who gave the loan originally. But we're still trying to work out that program under Dr. Schlesinger, and it might be that in different service areas, it would be handled differently. In some areas, perhaps the banks would do it directly. In some areas, perhaps the power companies like the TVA would certainly be a good way to handle it there.
But we want to make sure that when the time does come that we provide an easy way for homeowners to insulate their homes for the national good, to save electricity overall, and for the homeowners' good, to make sure they don't pay excessive power bills.
I think also it will help the power companies, because it's getting more and more difficult for the power companies to build new power plants. And if we can save electricity and let them not have such an enormous capital investment requirement, then it'll help in both ways, because as you well know, when a power company now gets the authority to go ahead and put in a new power plant, the current users of electricity are to some major degree the ones that have to pay off that loan.
So, I think it is going to have to be a common assessment for the consumers, the power companies, the Government, the energy producers have to work together. That's a task that falls on Dr. Schlesinger primarily to work this program out. And it falls on my shoulders to present it to the American people and the Congress, so that everybody will say, "Well, I'm going to give up a lot of the pet peeves, and 'a lot of the criticisms that I've had in the past and join in a mutual effort to bring it about."
And to the extent that people will trust me as President, to a major degree, that will be a step in the right direction.
I'd like to ask Secretary Cecil Andrus now to comment on the specific subject of coal production and to cover very quickly the question of strip mining.
We've got a bill, as you know, before the House and Senate, reclamation of areas that have been strip mined, comparison with underground mining techniques and opportunities, compare eastern and western coal, pollution control, the needs for research and development efforts in the use and production of coal, and also coal conversion, changing of coal to liquid and to gaseous forms of energy.
So, I'll call on Secretary Cecil Andrus.
MR. ANDRUS. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Ladies and gentlemen, I won't take a great deal of your time to try and impress you with our knowledge, but as the President has said many times, we're here to listen to you, to learn from you and to get your input. And I would hope that Mr. Smith and other people who have had experience underground for many years would share with us your knowledge of what we can do to improve the situation.
With reference to the short term of energy, I would point out the fastest way to get new energy is to do just what the President has said, that's conserve the existing energy that we have.
It's also the lowest cost. I might add one point, Mrs. Ferrell, to what we were talking about to help the people whose homes are not insulated. While doing that that also creates more jobs within the crafts that we have more employment with those people. But now we have to get into the part of our own program with reference to production.
The production of that coal, as your Governor pointed out, is very crucial to the economy of this State and I think, Jay, to all of America. So, the administration in Washington does recognize the transportation costs that have been mentioned here, with western coal coming in. But as we move into development, it's important that H.R. 2, or S. 7, the two bills the President mentioned, are passed, in my opinion, so that while we maintain and improve our standard of living, we do not destroy our quality of life. It is being done in West Virginia. It's being done in some other States. In some States, frankly, it is not.
So, we'd like to listen to your comments and to respond to your questions, ladies and gentlemen.
ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
MR. KILPATRICK. Mr. Secretary, if I could, one part of this section, as I understand it, concerns coal restriction development. I'd like to mention that or express my views on this. I feel that there's going to be a lot of Federal investment in this area. I hope that it is based on development instead of more research. We've got enough low-sulfur coal in the West, in the East to take care of certain areas. We've got some technologies that are here, today technologies--that means they either can be done commercially now or are ready to go demonstration--that, it seems to me, a lot more money and attention should be put into, instead of the proposals of the past administration to spend a billion dollars, as I recall, on gasification and hydrocarboning and all this.
And, I'd like to mention five of what I call the today technologies for your consideration for a high priority usage and funding.
One is magneto hydrodynamics that the University of Tennessee Space Institute has reached, to the point where they have the only coal-fired MHD facility in the United States.
This is a method for lowering electric costs, which these gasification proposals do not do by increasing the efficiency of the burning of coal while removing high sulfur and ash from the coal used. I've seen it done. The MHD work at the University of Tennessee Space Institute needs a shot in the arm and the cooperation of a major utility. I think there's one at this table that has taken a careful look at that and it may be amenable to this.
The second thing is the Conoco scrubber, as I call it. It's a second generation scrubber that does not produce toxic sludge. It has been tested, as I understand it, in the Edison station in Philadelphia. It is guaranteed by Conoco to work, and yet, the utilities--I see the Conoco man shaking his head. We've had testimony before the West Virginia Legislature. Yet major utilities will not take this type of scrubber and use it, even though Conoco has said that they will guarantee that it is a working technology. I think this needs to be looked into.
SECRETARY ANDRUS. Mr. Kilpatrick, let me interrupt right there and say these things are being looked into. You are correct that in the bill we have large amounts of money that the Senator and others have placed there out of this same concern. We will be looking into that. And it will be more developmental approaches, designed to do what, I think, is necessary and has been said here today--extract that coal here in the eastern part of the United States in a fashion that's economically efficient to the operator so it can be made available to the utilities and others at a price that does not run that fuel bill up on the consumer. So we're aware of that, and what we need to do is get that bill passed.
MR. KILPATRICK. Well, let me mention these three other points here, because I haven't heard those either.
THE PRESIDENT. Just mention them.
MR. KILPATRICK. Okay. Super coal cleaning, that is super coal washing and crushing to reduce high- and low-sulfur coal. It's being done in Pennsylvania by General Public Utilities. The second is the use of methane gas, a real push, to use methane gas from coal seams to replace natural gas. It's done by Eastern Associated in the Clarksburg, West Virginia area.
The third is something Secretary Adams is on top of, apparently. That is a big push to make electric cars, which presumably could use coal-fired electricity, at least as America's second vehicle within the future.
THE PRESIDENT. Those are good points. There are a lot of other specific ones like the flue gas boilers that I think you also have an experimental installation here in West Virginia, do you not?
MR. REICHL. May I make a comment on this--
THE PRESIDENT. You certainly may, Mr. Reichl.
MR. REICHL. I'm a little closer to this area, maybe, than some of you, and I think this is a good opportunity to raise a concern about our trend to look for technical fixes. I'm sorry to say I cannot agree with Mr. Kilpatrick. I think that MHD is a good example of how not to spend your research dollars. That is not the thing that anyone living in this room is likely to see commercially used. But on technical grounds, there are indeed some research opportunities that have been overlooked. And I am a little embarrassed about my neighbor to have doubted the system that we are involved in. There are others just as good. But I think there is a real fact. There are $800 million Federal research dollars on coal this year to be spent, of which three, with less than half percent, go to flue gas cleaner.
I submit, Mr. President, I think this is a very urgent thing, that part of the development should be put into the new DOE [Department of Energy]. It is not in there now. I think it's not in there on political grounds. But I think this is one of the real needs, because this country cannot continue without high-sulfur coal. This is one of the things we've got to continue to use. In fact, broadly speaking, if I may add, the United States is in the fortunate position where we have all the coal we'll possibly need. And I think more than that, we can produce and mine all the coal we can possibly need.
The constraint and the limitation of the future contribution that coal can make is in the facilities for its use--power stations, gas plants, if you please, and some day maybe liquid plants further down the line. But it is this limitation on building the power station or converting the power station. You are not going to convert the boilers of this country in 5 minutes from oil and gas to coal. It's going to take 10 years.
THE PRESIDENT. Very good. I might say that some of the experimental projects that you describe that are presently in EPA might very well be used in the DOE later on. And Doug Costle and Secretary Schlesinger will be working on that.
I promised to recognize Governor Rockefeller.
GOVERNOR ROCKEFELLER. Secretary Andrus wanted us to talk a little bit about the strip mine bill. We didn't; I think we should. I'd want to say, from my point of view, I think it is very important that that legislation be passed in essentially the form that it now is, but with some changes. I think the most important part of it, in the real heart of the bill, is the phrase "return to approximate original contour," which we have shown in West Virginia that we can do, but which we do to a substantial competitive disadvantage.
Our coal sells at $5 to $8 more per ton than does that coal of even some of our neighboring States, because we choose to enforce regulations which will make that restoration, reclamation, come to reasonable standards. So, I think that's very important, but I think it's important that there be left at the top of the reclamation area, the spoil area, that there be a very small amount of drainage area--and we've discussed this before--so that when the sod is just put back, the dirt is just put back, that there can be protection in the event of heavy rain, so that the drainage is carried down the mountain without causing a big problem with siltation.
And the other thing I think is important, and we have discussed this before, sir, is that in controversial, and that is, I think the variance requirements on mountaintop removal should be removed. I think that mountaintop removal can be and is, if done properly, not only high production oriented but high, environmentally sound system.
And I guess finally, I would say that if States are being deemed to do an adequate job of inspecting, self-inspecting, deemed by you to do an adequate job of self-inspecting, I think they should be allowed to continue to do so without Federal inspection. If they are not deemed to be doing an adequate job of self-inspection, reclamation, then I think that the Federal Government should move in and make sure they do.
THE PRESIDENT. I think one of the important reasons to have the strip mining bill passed, which I favor, is to have some uniformity around the country. Because when a State like West Virginia does a good job of enforcement and the neighboring States or the Western States don't do a good job of the protection of the topography, then it puts you at a substantial disadvantage.
And I'd like to hear Secretary Andrus respond to the request that when a State is doing a good job that the Federal Government let the State do that rather than coming in to put in its own inspection system. Do you have an opinion on that, Cecil?
SECRETARY ANDRUS. Yes, Mr. President. Governor, this was discussed before all the hearings on the bill. We have taken the position--the reason the President was smiling--pretty much at his insistence, that you do not superimpose one bureaucracy on top of another, and that if in fact the State is doing the job, that they should be the controlling authority. We concur with that.
Let me just remind you, Governor, that next Tuesday the House will start marking up H.R. 2 and will take under consideration your recommendation and others with reference to mountaintop removal. But let me also remind you that there is a variance provision in there that the Secretary would have the right to approve a plan if it was engineered and if it were designed to do that job.
Chairman Udall and myself looked at some that looked good. We looked at a lot that didn't look good. So, the variance there would have to meet the test of a proven plan. I know that you've expressed to me that you want it to meet the requirements.
THE PRESIDENT. I'd like to let Judy Stephenson, who is an expert on mountaintops, to respond.
Ms. STEPHENSON. We also support Federal strip mine bills because we know they will bring the other States--Virginia has horrible stripping--I don't know how else to say it. I've seen it in southern Virginia, and it's awful compared to what we are doing here in this State. It would bring uniformity. I see southern West Virginia as becoming very uniformly flat on top.
One of the promises has been with mountaintop removal that we are going to do something with this land. So far I've seen very little done with the bald mountaintops in southern West Virginia, particularly McDowell County. Though I think maybe mountaintop removal is sounder than other types of strip mining, I personally feel that there is no reason to strip mine when there is 130 years, approximately, of deep, mineable coal in this country, in the East and the West. If we can deep mine, which would provide about three times the number of jobs as strip mining will, if we can deep mine that coal, I think we ought to deep mine it before we strip it, because the environmental consequences and the economic consequences ultimately, I think, are greater than if we deep mine the coal.
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Jones?
MR. JONES. Mr. President, Secretary Andrus mentioned coal production. I think that's really the key to this conference, is what we can do to improve coal production.
One of the things that must be done, of course, is to increase productivity and to increase the number of new mines going in and to increase the output of the mines that are already in, where the capital investment has already been made. We feel very strongly, and I think Dr. Schlesinger and Secretary Andrus and Dr. O'Leary and others in your administration who have met with people from the coal industry, and are aware of the constraints that are now involved in holding production back in coal mines--I think we need to take a very strong look at these constraints and see the ones that can be relieved or reduced to the extent that we can get some of these high-sulfur coal mines back in production that were mentioned here earlier.
We've got one of the large companies operating in West Virginia--has 6 million tons of productive capacity--idle because of EPA restrictions. I think that's bad. I think it's bad for West Virginia. I think it's one of the reasons that West Virginia has dropped behind Kentucky.
Other reasons are differences in interpretation of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, and another major difference is the difference between the West Virginia and the Kentucky strip law.
But all these things have constrained to reduce West Virginia's production and also other mines in Appalachia.
And I am very happy to see that you are concerned about production in Appalachia, because this is the place we can get the coal with the least amount of capital expenditure and disruption of our economic systems in the country.
THE PRESIDENT. I am going to call on Dr. Costle and then Arnold Miller.
MR. COSTLE. Mr. President, Mr. Jones, I have a strong feeling that in a very few years we will hear less and less debate about high-sulfur versus low-sulfur coal.
THE PRESIDENT. Let me interrupt to remind everybody that Doug Costle is the new director of the Environmental Protection Agency. And in the future when I recognize somebody, I'll try to remind the audience who is speaking.
MR. COSTLE. I've been quite impressed in the last few years, with the progress that is being made in scrubber technology, for example. It is my understanding now that there are over 100 units with scrubber operations, either in operation or under construction or planned.
There are very few power plants at all being planned in the West. In fact, I'm not aware of a single power-coal-fired plant in the West at the present time that is now being planned without the scrubber technology.
I think we are also going to see very quickly an even more rapid evolution in the nature of that technology, that will reduce even further the kinds of environmental consequences of that technology itself.
But interesting also are the economics. The Senate now has under consideration amendments to the Clean Air Act. One of. the key provisions of that act would require best available control technology to be applied to all new power plants. This would have a tremendous effect of leveling the cost distribution in this country and in terms of the cost of applying this technology.
It would virtually eliminate any competitive advantage that western coal has over eastern coal. In fact, as best as I can determine, West Virginia coal would compete exceptionally favorably against western coal once that kind of a requirement was put into effect around the country.
So, I'm encouraged. And one of the things that has struck me as we have talked this afternoon, is that there seems to be an implicit recognition that along with going to coal, which we need to do, is the absolute requirement that we protect public health in the process of doing that. I am encouraged now that I think we are finding ways that that can in fact be done.
MR. KILPATRICK. I am sorry, Mr. Secretary.
THE PRESIDENT. I recognized Mr. Arnold Miller.
MR. MILLER. I have been sitting here listening to the facts as they unfold. I am delighted to say at least you have come here, Mr. President, with an idea to get these people together. And you can see the problems as they come through from the different people sitting around this table.
THE PRESIDENT. That's right.
MR. MILLER. You look back, several years back in the production of coal--it's always, I think, human nature--we are going after the best seams of coal, the ones that can be easily mined. We have got down now where it is a little tougher to get. One of the biggest hang-ups I see in producing more coal, which we in the Mine Workers are primarily concerned about, is getting more coal out and getting our problems taken care of and mining the coal, as Mr. Costle said, in a safe manner, which we believe can be done.
There are several areas that we are woefully weak in. The industry outrun us. We have got so many young miners today that don't have a chance to be trained. In fact, we have training programs that were far less than what they should be.
And now, we are getting over that. But one of the things I see here, as a result of people such as us getting together here, is we are getting these ideas in the mix, and we're no longer, as Mr. Costie said, going to be worrying about how competitive coal is in one area in reference to another, because we're going to have to get all the coal mined we can get mined. We're going to have to deal with the sulfur, whether it's by blending or however to reduce the sulfur content and work towards finding a level of sulfur in the coal that we can all live with and produce the energy we need at a cost that people can afford to pay.
And I think this meeting here today is really something that I've been hoping for for 10 or 15 years. I think it's going to work. I'm delighted you came down here. We're going to go on from here. This is the first I ever--[inaudible].
MR. McMANUS. Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. I have promised Mr. Kilpatrick, who's in charge of the research program on surface mining.
MR. KILPATRICK. Mr. President, the Secretary of EPA, if I read him right, is suggesting that he supports the use of scrubbers on all new power plants as a way of helping West Virginia coal. Let me just suggest that if that in fact becomes a law, as it almost did under the past administration, I would suggest to him that it is going to devastate the steam coal markets for West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and western Virginia. It is going to do nothing to prevent the utilities that own coal out West or own barge lines or own their own railroad trains, as some of them do, and want to bring in western coal from doing it. I think if you want to forestall the movement of western coal into the East, you've got to recognize two things: Number one, that western coal is not coming into the East because it's cheaper. This information I have here alone documents that. It's coming in because there are the utilities which have interests in mining or transporting coal in the areas which the profits on, which are not regulated. And if you want to stop western coal coming into the East, you might well consider forcing utilities to divest themselves of their coal mining and their barge and their train operations and get them back to the business of selling electricity under strict State regulation. Because if you require scrubbers on all new plants, you not only are going to hurt the low-sulfur markets for eastern coal but you're also going to kill the American consumers, because, in fact, that would mean if Appalachian Power builds a new power plant in Mason County as it plans to do, and agrees to use low-sulfur, West Virginia coal as they have agreed to do, they would have to put a scrubber on them and we would have to pay $200 million extra. And I can't really conceive of how you see that helping anybody.
MR. COSTLE. I was referring primarily to the construction of new power plants. We have got some difficult problems in working out arrangements with existing power plants.
MR. KILPATRICK. I'm talking about new plants.
MR. COSTLE. The principal point that I was trying to make was that I think we will soon reach the point where environmental requirements will not in and of themselves be the source of discrimination in economic terms, will not force severaltier kinds of systems.
I'd be happy to sit with you and talk at greater length about the specific problem. But I think we have to come to realize in this country--and I think we are coming to realize--that we're having to manage our air resources just like we now manage our land resources or our underground mineral resources; that we're dealing with a fixed commodity that has a similar capacity limitation; that within those health standards there is considerable margin for managing what goes into that atmosphere.
But it's essentially a whole new concept of managing the resource that's really come upon us in the last 5 years. And we're learning as we go. And I think we're making considerable progress.
THE PRESIDENT. Let me recognize Ed Smith. I'd like to ask Mr. Smith what he feels are the causes of the drop-off in production per miner, and whether or not the shift of the health protection features, particularly black lung from HEW to Labor, has been a good move in your opinion. Has it gotten better or worse as far as the Government is concerned? It's gotten better?
MR. SMITH. It has gotten a lot better in the last 10, 15 years.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, that's good to know. What do you think can be done to increase the amount of coal that's produced per day, per miner, in the deep mines? Do you think we have very little chance of seeing that done?
MR. SMITH. Well, you could. You would have to have good machinery. You would have to have a good bunch of men, the men that don't lay off, do their work every day.
THE PRESIDENT. How much of the problem would you say was a lack of harmony between labor and the operators themselves?
MR. SMITH. Well, where I work at U.S. Steel, they get along pretty good. But some of these mines, they don't.
THE PRESIDENT. How about with Amherst? What could you do? [Laughter]
MR. JONES. Mr. Smith expresses it a lot better than I could.
THE PRESIDENT. Very good. Yes, sir? MR. SMITH. A lot of these fellows that work there--just like we had a boss, asked one fellow how come he worked 3 days a week. He said he couldn't make it on 2. [Laughter]
THE PRESIDENT. I understand. Mr. Reichl?
MR. REICHL. Mr. President, I would like to refer back to what Mr. Costle said about the best--BAT, isn't it, for short-best available technology. I wonder whether we shouldn't stop and look for a moment at the possible overkill here. For instance, we are now scrubbing western coal, as you said, which have maybe .7 percent sulfur to start with, and we now take another 80 percent of that sulfur out.
If you look at high-sulfur West Virginia coal of 4 percent sulfur and take 90 percent out, you would wind up worse than the raw coal from the West. I'm not sure there is really a need for this if you really look at the data as far as the impact on health is concerned.
But there is one thing we do know. If everybody has the scrubbers, it will significantly increase the cost to the consumer. There is just no way out of that. And I think there is nothing wrong with it either, if it's properly explained by you why we do it. But you cannot have--[inaudible]--at the same cost as we're doing it now.
THE PRESIDENT. I understand. Mr. McManus?
MR. McMANUS. Mr. President, I want to get back to Secretary Andrus' comment about research and development earlier in this session. My observation in looking at a U.S. Bureau of Mines publication, December of 1976, shows that of all the research and development projects going on in that area having to do with coal mining, only 5 percent of it is being done in the area of West Virginia and Kentucky--the two largest producers of coal in the United States. In fact, only 1 percent comes to West Virginia; 4 percent to Kentucky--out of a total contracts in effect at that time of about $174.5 million.
I think it important, Mr. Secretary, that these research and development projects, if in fact they are to be of value, should be conducted in the area of most activity in the field.
In addition, Mr. President, in following up on what Mr. Miller said a little bit ago about training, I think it important that some meaningful gains be made in training new miners. We're going to need upwards of 200,000 new miners in the next few years, nationwide, and unless we make the jobs attractive from a physical point of view and from a safety point of view, we will be unable to attract the young miner to those jobs.
And it's important that the miners themselves be involved in that training program, because they, better than anyone else, know what the factors are that bring about catastrophic injuries to the individual and casualties like we suffered through here in West Virginia, Kentucky, and other places.
THE PRESIDENT. That's a good point. As you know, we've got a substantial economic stimulus package with training and job placement as a major factor of it. I think the Labor Department can work very well in administering those programs to meet these real needs. It's much better to train people for jobs that are needed, rather than to train people and then try to find or create a job for them afterwards.
We're going to have to move on very rapidly through the rest, other parts of this hour's discussion, because I wanted to spend most of the time on coal.
I would like to ask Dr. Schlesinger very briefly to cover oil and gas and nuclear power, all at one time, and then if anybody has a brief comment to make about that, we will. We want to save enough time for the audience to ask questions later on.
NUCLEAR AND SOLAR ENERGY
MR. SCHLESINGER. Just as coal will have to carry more of the load, so will nuclear as oil and gas disappear. In recent weeks, we have come down to the point where we are importing 10 million barrels of oil a day, more than 50 percent of the total, though that's seasonal. And in the longer run we cannot be the great stabilizing power of the West if we become so dependent on foreign sources of supply.
Oil and gas is our principal area for conservation. As the President indicated earlier, only through conservation can we buy a barrel of oil, in effect, for $1.50. Otherwise, we are going to pay $15 for that barrel of oil from the marginal supplier overseas.
Conservation provides us with an opportunity in the oil area of making environmental considerations, economic considerations, political considerations, and foreign policy considerations coincide. And that is a remarkable achievement.
On nuclear power, recognizably there have been some concerns over the years about safety. There has been more concern, I think, in recent years with regard to the question of the use of the plutonium economy in relation to the spread of nuclear weapons.
I think that the President intends to bring a separation between the plutonium economy on the one hand and the use of light water reactors, so that light water reactors can indeed, along with coal, carry more of our energy load.
THE PRESIDENT. You might briefly tell them about solar energy, too.
MR. SCHLESINGER. The possibilities for solar, warm-water heating, solar heating and cooling are here now. Solar electric is much further down the line, but we will be looking at the possibilities in the energy package to introduce solar energy for heating and cooling purposes so that we can replace several millions of barrels of oil equivalent by the end of the century. And we will be working industriously on the question of solar electric power.
THE PRESIDENT. One comment, and then I'll recognize people.
Dr. Schlesinger has pointed out that we waste more energy now that we can save than the total amount of oil that we import. So, that's such a rich field for increasing our energy sources in the future. And if it costs 10 times as much to buy oil as it does to save oil or its equivalent, that's a wonderful opportunity again.
And in many areas of production, like the production of paper--an American paper production plant takes twice as much energy per ton of paper as in the rest of the world. And we have about the same living standard as they do, say, in Germany or Sweden or other countries of that kind, and still we use twice as much energy per person in this country for the same standard of living.
So, we've got a tremendous opportunity now in our country because we have been so wasteful, in the future, to improve the circumstances now.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. That is why I put my thermostat in the Senate and hold it up almost every day to see that it is only 56 or 58 degrees. We've had 80 degrees, as you know, Mr. President, in the Senate.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you.
MR. REICHL. Mr. President, it has been said many times, the Swedes and the Germans use half as much energy, and it is, of course, a correct statement. But I think that if we would bunch all the American population in the same area as Germany or Sweden, we would also come down in energy demand. And I think that one of the reasons we use more energy is our geography and the freedom we enjoy as a result of it. And I think we shouldn't forget that.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, we also use a lot more energy than Australia, for instance, and we use a lot more energy even than Canada. I think next to us in the wastefulness is Canada. But I think even in Sweden and Germany they've never moved strongly toward a conservation effort. Japan is just beginning to. But I certainly recognize the geographic factor.
MAYOR HUTCHINSON. Mr. President, the thing that bothers me most in this area is that, de facto, the Federal Government, in my judgment, went into a nuclear energy policy last year when TVA was authorized to sell $10 billion worth of bonds to almost double their energy capacity. They had 21,000 megawatts in their system, almost all of that to be spent on nuclear; zero dollars to be spent on further development of coal energy-producing facilities. And the thing that bothers me about the nuclear--I have strong reservations totally about it--and that is, that energy self-sufficiency is an admirable goal for this country and one I am sure that you will try to get to at some point. But as I understand, TVA has already said that when these new units come on line that they'll have to import uranium to fuel them. Now, it seems to me we're going both ways around the barn.. It doesn't make much sense.
At the same time, the TVA basically is supposed to be an innovative body. It was created back in the thirties, 1933, the Senator says--that I think development of solar energy as an electrical--say space platforms and this type of thing, that can produce 10,000 megawatts at a single crack, get it on line sometime within the next decade--which is what I've read is possible--that it could be environmentally sound, could replace the uranium economy or energy thing of TVA, which is presently planned, and I think solve major problems.
THE PRESIDENT. One thing that I believe ought to be corrected: I don't see any prospect nor need for our own country to be energy self-sufficient anytime in the future. It might very well be that the oil that we purchase now at say $15 a barrel is a very good bargain, and the oil and gas that we leave in our own grounds at this point for use later on might be one of the most precious deposits that we have.
So, I don't think that we are going to set in an overall energy policy a goal of complete self-sufficiency from imported oil or even liquid natural gas. But obviously we could cut down on the amount of oil that we import.
Our native production of oil has been dropping off an average of about 6 percent per year. I think natural gas is about the same percentage.
MR. SCHLESINGER. Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. So, we need to kind of stabilize it. But I don't think we can have a crash program just to extract oil and gas from our own supplies to replace totally what we do import.
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Kilpatrick, and then I'll get you next, Mr. Lloyd.
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY
MR. KILPATRICK. Mr. President, let me say this. I have spoken to both TVA .Commissioners personally. I've watched the West Virginia Legislature destroy the economic arguments in favor of nuclear-of Chairman Wagner. I've spoken to residents in western Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. My first son was born in Catoosa County, Georgia, which is a TVA-served county. I would say this, the TVA appointment that you have now in your hands, thanks to the Senate's defeat of several nominations by your predecessor, is probably--
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Two.
MR. KILPATRICK.---right--is probably the most critical appointment and bellwether to coal people in Appalachia that you can make. If that appointment is overtly or covertly going to continue to allow TVA to start on one more generating unit for nuclear power, an awful lot of people are going to feel thoroughly betrayed. Additionally, the cost factors--as Chairman Wagner admitted, he had not counted three major cost factors in his nuclear versus coal song and dance that he gave the West Virginia Legislature. If the cost factors on the current plants under construction are not in there, 100-percent cost overruns that have occurred in the past couple of years, are not given a thorough and objective review. I think that the TVA and your appointee or appointees, as I hear you may get two rather shortly, are really not serving the public interests or the consumers of the Tennessee Valley.
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
The other thing it seems to me, Dr. Schlesinger, needs to be done is to have a thorough cleaning out of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's pronuclear people so that you have got some people in there that are at least halfway objective.
And as an example, I give you the environmental statement for the Marble Hill plant in Indiana in which the cost comparisons done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission show that low-sulfur coal costs more on a fuel basis than high-sulfur coal even though it cost $2 a ton to barge low-sulfur coal from Amherst or some other site in West Virginia to this site. And then they show the nuclear power is much cheaper, and when you check it out, you find the only low-sulfur coal the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recognizes in existence is in the West. So, they threw $20-a-ton transportation costs in there.
This is just a specific example of what many of us feel are deliberate efforts by Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff to make nuclear better economically, only aside from environmental issues, than in fact it really is.
There needs to be an objective review of these things.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. Mr. Lloyd?
ENERGY AND THE ECONOMY
MR. LLOYD. Mr. President, I know that as chief executive officer of this country, your main concern is keeping our economy strong. There's just no doubt about it, as so goes the energy, so goes the economy.
It's interesting to note that in the Wall Street Journal this past Monday, it said our energy use rose last year 74.8 percent. I think Secretary Andrus was quoted in this article.
And I know that we have to conserve and we have to practice every conservative measure known to man that there can be. At the same time, I don't think we can let up on the supply. And that as we go down the road in years to come, if we're going to enjoy the economy we enjoyed today, if we enjoy sitting in a room that's air-conditioned, ample lighting, ample energy to meet the needs of the people, we're going to have to increase that energy supply. There's just no other way we can do it.
When we start talking about deterring our energy, deterring our energy growth, we're talking about deterring our economy. They just ride hand in hand or like a camel's back, they go up and down the same way.
THE PRESIDENT. I have a hard time believing though that waste contributes to a healthy economy. I think if we can start eliminating waste and get our growth down to maybe in the neighborhood of 2 percent or less, it would probably be adequate. This is the kind of economic consideration that will have to be done by many people in private life and also in the Government itself. But I think that we've got a long way to go before we damage the quality of our lives, if we just eliminate obvious waste.
So, that would be the first thrust and then I think we'll have plenty of time to try to see where there is a balance between energy use and a quality of life.
MR. LLOYD. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not talking about waste, of course.
THE PRESIDENT. Right. I understand. We'll have one more comment, and then we'll move on to Mr. Reichl. Yes, sir?
MR. REICHL. Mr. President, on this matter of solar again, I don't want to seem like the spoilsport, but I heard what the Mayor said about a 10-megawatt solar space station---
THE PRESIDENT. I didn't comment on that.
MR. REICHL. I think it is, however, important that you do comment, Mr. President. I think it would be lovely to be true. It isn't. There isn't going to be any space station sending down 10 megawatts in 10 years. And I think we should recognize that the real contribution of solar energy is very important, will be largely in the low-value heat that goes to space heating. And if by the year 2000, it will be 4 or 5 percent of our total energy, it would be a magnificent achievement and no more than that. I think it's important to recognize it.
May I ask, did you have a chance to make a comment on the subject of gas from coal at any time during the meeting?
THE PRESIDENT. No, but if you'd like to make a comment now.
MR. REICHL. Very briefly, Mr. President, I believe it is one of the more overlooked opportunities. We are certainly running out of gas very rapidly. I think while the first gas we must make from coal is the one that we pull out of boilers to be converted, I think that there is real merit in going from gas to coal. The interesting thing to me is that we had it 30 years ago, we had a multimillion-ton-per-year gas from-coal industry in this country; it was a total parallel to the electric business and that's the way to look at it again. We were able to build gas from coal plants then without loan guarantees, without anything. They were regulated, they were financed like a power station. It is a little hard to see why we couldn't have it again with one added consideration. I think excellent technology is now in hand, ready to go on this thing. While the very first two or three plans may require loan guarantees, I think after that is started we will have a very rapidly, very exciting growth in that area.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Mr. President, will you give me 10 seconds only?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sir.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. I am not political when I say this: The Congress of the United States has been a whipping boy. Yet in the past 5 years we have passed and we have enacted into law 71 energy or energy-related legislative acts. We have had five administrations, and I do not name them politically. The trouble is that we have not yet had an administration at the White House level that has decided that we must have action on the energy issue.
Mr. President, we believe you mean to act. I feel this very strongly.
THE PRESIDENT. I mean to act. I've got some good people to help me act, including yourself, Senator.
MR. LIGHT. We do have some oil reserves in West Virginia. But there are a few problems in getting this oil out. A partially, federally funded ERDA project by a private oil company 25 miles from here has raped the landscape in an effort to get more of this oil out of the ground. I would like to show you these pictures. This is just the beginning of the project.
I'd like to stress the hazard of going ahead with this project until some plans to minimize the environmental hazards are completed on this. There is no environmental impact statement. There are no environmental constraints in the project. The surface owners in this area are very upset about the pollution and rape of the landscape on their farms that this project appears to be bringing.
Also, I'd like to mention that some of our oil reserves, as well as our gas and coal reserves, would be flooded by one of these unnecessary dam projects. We strongly support your efforts to slow down the Corps of Engineers.
There's one dam that you missed that's coming here in central West Virginia, the Stonewall Jackson Dam. This would flood thousands of acres of farms--would also wipe out some coal, oil, and gas reserves. These projects are unnecessary. They would also prohibit us from getting this energy out of the ground.
THE PRESIDENT. I just wished they'd named it something else. It's hard for me to take action against it. [Laughter] I had a hard enough time cutting out the Richard B. Russell Dam.
I'd like to ask Cecil Andrus and Dr. Schlesinger briefly to outline the new Government organization bill, which sets up a department of energy. Since Cecil Andrus gave up a good bit of authority over some elements of Government function that were in the Department of Interior, let him start off and let Dr. Schlesinger wind it up. And then I think we'll move to the audience questions.
MR. SMITH. May I ask you one question?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, sir. Ed.
BLACK LUNG PROGRAM
MR. SMITH. What about that 'black lung bill?
THE PRESIDENT. Fine. I'd like to let the Senator respond. The question is about the black lung bill.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. May I take an extra half-minute?
In 1969, as you know, Ed, we passed the initial bill. That was 1 year before the occupational health and safety act, which was for businesses, industry, generally throughout the country. We recognized the need in the black lung area.
We found that the Social Security Administration was not carrying out the intent of the Congress. So, in 1972, we passed another bill on the subject of black lung--for the first time we included the ailments of pulmonary and respiratory diseases so that more persons could have other than the X-ray, this further proof that they were suffering from black lung. That has been helpful.
We do find, however, that today there's a tremendous backlog of cases that are not being heard. We do feel they are the contested cases that must move more quickly through the courts.
At the present time, the House is beginning its hearings on the third black lung measure. We'll .begin possibly next week on our Senate hearings before the Human Resources Committee.
I want to say to you that there is a commitment in the Congress. It began in '69, and we will follow through on it, I promise you that.
MR. SMITH. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT. Cecil Andrus, about our reorganization proposal.
FEDERAL ENERGY REORGANIZATION
SECRETARY ANDRUS. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, the proposal that is before the Congress of the United States right now for the creation of a new department of energy, which the President has announced will be headed 'by Dr. Schlesinger, is, I think, very needed and long overdue.
We have had the components of energy scattered throughout the Government in many different areas, and it was very difficult to pin down exactly who was in control of what. So, the President has put together a proposal whereby the department of energy will gather from many different departments and agencies of Government into one entity in the new department of energy.
From the Department of Interior there are several components that are being removed now. There are several that were removed previously, because the pantry of the Interior Department was approached a couple of years ago when they created ERDA, parts of ERDA and FEA and others.
Under the existing proposal of the President's, we will also remove from Interior the power-marketing functions such as the Bonneville Power Administration, Southeast Power, Southwest, so forth. The data gathering portions of the Bureau of Mines will go from Interior to the department of energy, and those portions of the lease procedure dealing with the economic portions of that lease, but the leasing procedure itself will remain in Interior.
The geographical selection of where the leases will be let the environmental protection portions will remain with Interior, but prior to the time that those leases are let, the new department of energy will then provide us with the criteria for the economic provisions; in other words, what type of bidding.
In the case of oil and gas leasing, the front-end bonus versus the royalty route, those determinations will be made. We will insert those provisions into the lease and then the Department of the Interior will continue as it has in the past to make the lease sale, and then we will be charged with the responsibility of seeing that that lease is upheld.
Now, that's a very brief sketch, Mr. President, of those portions that come from Interior, and I remind you, ladies and gentlemen, that a lot of other entities from other departments will also be going to the department of energy, and I think Dr. Schlesinger can comment upon that.
MR. SCHLESINGER. Mr. President, as you know, the purpose of the reorganization plan is to gather together in one department all of the authorities necessary to draw up and to effectively implement a national energy plan, a comprehensive energy plan. By itself, the creation of a new department, of a new administrative structure, does not solve the substantive problems in the energy area. It simply gives us an instrument, subsequently, to facilitate the solutions to those problems.
We need a bureaucratic instrument which ends the overlapping jurisdictions, the duplication, the conflicting mandates that presently exist. And we do hope Senator Randolph, who has been on energy matters over the years, a voice crying in the wilderness, that that cry will be heard and that the Congress will move rapidly with regard to reorganization.
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Reichl, with Conoco.
MR. REICHL. This is an excellent move, obviously, Mr. President. I would hope that in giving the new department the necessary authority, it can also have the authority to what I would like to say is to lend stability and firmness to the program that you have set forth in your policy to the extent that if you say we're going to convert station X to coal, for instance, that this question of intervention, which has been such a major problem so far, can be handled and dealt with.
We cannot commit new coal mines, new power stations, if anybody can come in after it's started and money has been spent and, by a suit, stop the project. I think this is a very important authority the new department will have to have to be effective.
THE PRESIDENT. I agree. One of the things that always creates havoc, whether you're in the farming business like myself, or producing energy like you, or power like Mr. Lloyd, or whatever, is predictability. We hope that when we get through with this analysis and say this is what we're going to do the first year, the second year, the third year, and 5 years from now, the people might then go ahead and make plans with some assurance that the plans can be carried out.
But the constant fear that a new regulation or a new law, a new requirement or new guideline is going to come along and just create devastating economic losses keeps us from taking steps that we would otherwise.
I think that another factor that's involved, certainly in the past, that I hope to alleviate now is the ability of people to feel that they have a voice in government. Whether it's someone who represents consumers or someone who's afraid that the beauty of the mountains of West Virginia will be destroyed, or whether it's a coal company ready to drill a new shaft, or whether it's the coal miners deciding whether to adopt mining as a profession, they need to know that in the heart of the government that there is some place they can go to make sure their voice is heard and to make sure that the legislation and decisionmaking process takes into consideration their own specific needs.
In the past I've not felt that way, even as a Governor. I had a hard time finding somewhere to go in Washington where I could register a complaint or get the answer to a difficult question. In the future, in energy, there will be one person to go to. That's Dr. Schlesinger. And if he should have difficulty making a decision or if there is a difference of opinion between him and, say, Secretary Andrus, then I, as President, in the executive branch of Government, will make the decision.
If a constant series of questions comes up, ultimately the Congress will have to pass a law to put into effect a permanent solution, but in the past it's been so confused that nobody was responsible for it.
I think there are about 50 different Federal agencies now who have some voice, a very strong voice, in different aspects of energy production, conservation use, the rate structures for charging consumers. We want to make sure that we bring some order out of this chaos. And I think it's very encouraging at the speed with which the Congress is giving attention to this reorganization proposal. It's highly controversial. It makes major changes in the structure of government, But I believe that we'll have it passed, I'd say, hopefully by the end of April, maybe even before the April 20 deadline.
Mr. McManus, I would like to go to the audience, but I will recognize Ms. Stephenson, too.
MR. McMANUS. I wanted to say something to Dr. Schlesinger, Mr. President.
Dr. Schlesinger, in your anticipated role as the head of the new department which the Congress is acting on now, I would want to repeat a suggestion I made last year at the Southern Interstate Nuclear Board meeting in Winston-Salem, in which I talked about the variety of informational items coming out of Washington.
There was no continuity about the information. In fact, we in the West Virginia Legislature relayed letters to the prior administration about disagreeing facts on reserves and the contents of reserves and the inaccurate information emanating from various departments.
I would hope that you would establish one office which would coordinate all the energy information and check it with Geological Survey teams in the various States to be sure it's accurate, so that when you say something about energy reserves, you'll know that it's accurate and will not be coming from a maze of various offices.
And in addition to that, I remember Senator Randolph a moment ago mentioned the $700 million loan program for low-sulfur coal, deep mines. I think it's applied to 1 .percent and lower. I would hope that you would review that quickly and be in a position to affirm the congressional decision and make those loans available posthaste so that people could get along in that field.
Mr. President, I know you've expressed concern about the housing problem, but it, too, will be important in expanding energy production. We have to do something about housing.
THE PRESIDENT. Judy Stephenson.
MS. STEPHENSON. In February several citizens from this region--Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky--and I, myself, from West Virginia, went up to speak before Morris Udall's committee regarding H.R. 2. Our reception, we didn't feel was extremely warm. The room was filled with industry people who could afford lawyers, and in general, I was surprised at our reaction.
I'm glad that you're coming here to talk with us, because going to Washington doesn't seem to work sometimes.
I really am glad that the department of energy is going to be set up so that citizens will have access. But one of my concerns we talk about, that we talk about consumers, you know, the impact on the consumer. Very little has been said in the past about citizen input or consumer input. And I think that not only just talking about it is a good idea, and we are going to do it, but I would like to see the administration set up structures for doing that; I mean avenues for doing that, and that the public knows what they are and that there be more than just one.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
MR. LLOYD. Mr. President, this panel thanks you very much.
THE PRESIDENT. I thank you.
MR. LIGHT. Mr. President, I'd like to show you these bottles of polluted water from our coal mines in West Virginia and point .out that we were very excited in 1972 when the Congress passed a strong water pollution control act.
For 5 years, citizens groups in this State and others, other coal-mining States, have been frustrated by the previous administration's great sensitivity to the coal companies, apparently to not enforce this law in any way, shape, or form. Right now, there are hundreds of mines operating in West Virginia without their required discharge clean-up permits. The Federal EPA's new effluent guidelines for strip mines have major loopholes in them. The coal companies didn't think there were enough loopholes in them.
So, we've gotten the draft of an impending additional relaxation which will be totally unenforceable. If these permits ever get issued, the priority system set up by the previous administration puts the lowest priority for enforcing the Federal pollution clean-up laws on coal mines. This policy obviously has to change if we're going to protect the streams in West Virginia for recreation and public water supply.
THE PRESIDENT. Very good. I think that this whole discussion today, with a wide range of opinions expressed around the table, is not only healthy, but it shows our own interest, particularly Dr. Schlesinger's interest, in having input from different interest groups. It is not an easy thing for the coal operators, the coal miners, the leaders of the unions, the citizen groups, the environmental groups, and others to have a chance to communicate with one another.
I think that if you wanted to go to Washington now--I am not criticizing anyone--it would be hard to put this kind of group together. You wouldn't know where to go to meet. But I think in the future, just having one agency responsible for most of the questions that have been raised this afternoon will give us a remarkably good way to exchange ideas and to work harmoniously, rather than at cross-purposes.
We are a little bit early in getting through with the panel. I did it deliberately. I hope nobody minds. I thought we might go now to the audience, if there are questions from the audience. I think there are some microphones here, and you kind of line up. I am not going to try to answer the questions. I am going to refer the questions to these experts in front of you. But if you would, please, identify yourself in each case, and then state your question as briefly as possible.
Q. My name is Richard Bernard. I'm with the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies here in Charleston.
I thank you, Mr. President, for coming to Charleston and saying to us you are willing to risk your popularity as we talk about this issue.
Mr. President, the experts now believe that coal is the answer to our energy salvation and our economic well-being. I think that's been verified here today rather amply and that we're going to have to increase in the next 10 to 15 years coal consumption by perhaps two- or threefold what it is now.
Much of the coal we have in this State is currently not usable because of the sulfur content and the prohibitions we have imposed upon discharges into the air. Contrary to the new director of EPA, I do not believe that any reputable engineering firm believes we have the technology to remove SO2 from large discharges on modern power plants such as our John Amos Plant here, nor can we remove it by treating all of the coal that is burned. The technology simply does not exist on a proven, reliable scale.
Therefore, if you will accept that for the moment, one important step that we could do to increase coal consumption is to take a more realistic look at the current ambient air standard of .02 parts per million SO2. President Carter, can we count on your administration to adopt a higher SO2 standard, perhaps one or two parts per million?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know yet. This is something that we would approach with a great reluctance, but I'll have to learn more about it before I can answer that question. Perhaps I can ask Doug Costle to respond, and also Mr. Reichl, and then perhaps let any other members of the panel who want to see whether or not it is advisable or necessary to move to a higher, or, rather, a lower air quality standard in order to meet those needs.
MR. COSTLE. Mr. President, I have under review right now the existing sulfur standards, and that will be an ongoing review. What I'm finding, and the evidence that I am seeing is that there is, if anything is to happen in the future, in all probability the additional health evidence that we're gathering will force us in the future to ratchet down those standards. We don't have enough knowledge at this point to set standards for some pollutants that are sulfur-related, like sulfates, and are not likely to have that kind of data until probably around 1980.
But if anything, the growing weight of the evidence suggests even more caution and prudence on the sulfur standard. One of the things we absolutely have to be sure we're doing is that when we set ambient standards, then when we move the next step to decide what emissions limitations to apply to individual sources in order to meet those ambient standards, that we don't overregulate, that we set the emission standards at precisely that amount necessary to meet that health standard and to provide for an opportunity for additional growth in the region. But we will have those standards under continuing review.
THE PRESIDENT. One of the questions that I have had asked me several times, Georgia a long time ago decided to set its standards at the ground level where people live, and we authorized the construction of very tall stacks, I think an average of about 1,100 feet. As a consequence of that, we produced about 85 percent of our electricity using coal.
Florida, for instance, uses, I'd say, 15 percent coal to produce their electricity. I think Arkansas would probably be in the neighborhood of 15 percent. I'm not sure about exact figures, but that's one possible solution for it.
And I think you are right. We need to have a much clearer concept of how people's health can be protected, but not set standards so rigid that they rob the consumers of money that can be used to contribute to their own health and quality of life as well.
MR. REICHL. Mr. President, I guess one of the points that was touched on really by the question was that we don't set standards which are physically not attainable and that the issue here is, is it true or is it not true that you can build a power station with scrubbers today? I think the facts are that there are some. There are quite a few more than have been committed.
So, it is obviously not a uniform view on the subject. There are some utilities that say they can and some say they cannot. But I will say again what I did earlier. I think that in the Federal research program this subject has been singularly unattended, and I hope we can see a real drive towards better scrubbers. As a minimum, I think we must admit the scrubbers available that are all based on lime, essentially, are really a disaster, and they are transferring an air pollution to a water pollution problem.
MR. KILPATRICK. Mr. President, three brief things. I'm not sure where the questioner gets the idea that the majority of West Virginia coal is high-sulfur, as I think he implied. It isn't. We are the largest reserve of low-sulfur coal in the Eastern United States, and our neighboring States of Virginia and Kentucky share in that.
Raising sulfur standards to 2, 3, 4 percent is not the way to increase West Virginia coal production.
Secondly, I was in Ohio Sunday. I saw a power plant with tall stacks emitting, and the EPA in its goodness has allowed this plant to emit or to use 4 percent sulfur coal, which happens to be what they mine in the Ohio area without cleaning it. And I watched a cloud of yellow smoke come out of that stack, and I have never seen that type of cloud produced in West Virginia. We do have stricter air regulations. I watched that cloud, as I drove up toward the mining area that I was going up to inspect, go for 5 miles over my head at about 35 miles an hour along with my car and not dissipate.
I think there needs to be some rather careful look. It was raining. I didn't have a chance to test the pH of that rain, but it would have been interesting to do so, I think. That cloud didn't dissipate the way we are always told that this stuff just disperses around. I think that needs to be looked at carefully.
You know, the last thing in this is, with the use of the scrubber--we have a power plant in this State, Allegheny Power System, Monongahela Power, spending $200 million on a scrubber to build a new plant in Pleasants County, West Virginia. Now, I just don't believe, contrary to the suggestion by the questioner, that the engineers at Monongahela Power are incompetent. I don't believe they would be spending $200 million if the scrubber didn't scrub.
THE PRESIDENT. I think we probably ought to move on to more questions unless somebody has an urgent comment to make.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Mr. President, give me 10 seconds. Talking about Ohio and West Virginia, we took care of that matter yesterday as we marked up the amendments to the Clean Air Act, when an amendment was offered, and I offered it, that stops the so-called dirt moving over from Ohio into West Virginia. That is stopped under the amendment, absolutely.
NATURAL GAS PRICES
Q. My name is Virgil Matthews, a Charleston city councilman. I, too, want to thank you, Mr. President, for corning here. I was very active in your campaign, by the way. I'm also very happy to see our senior Senator, Mr. Randolph, who I am sure is going to be very helpful to you, as he has been to other Presidents in the past, and to the State of West Virginia.
It would seem to me that the elements of any energy policy must call first for conservation, as you say, elimination of waste. It is certainly true that we do waste a lot of energy. It goes right up the stacks.
We have to try to save our gas and oil reserves actually as a base for the petrochemical industry, which is one of our most important industries. Otherwise, we don't have any gas or oil. We're not going to be able to make petrochemicals. We have to move to convert large power plants, large industries to burning coal, as has been the emphasis here today.
Then in the long run, looking further down the road, we've got absolutely to develop solar energy, because as somebody said, and as I read in the newspaper yesterday, Secretary Adams, the new Secretary of DOT, indicated that, you know, all of the fossil fuel is eventually going to run out. I think Mr. Schlesinger made that point today.
We are going to have to do something like the Manhattan Project, a crash program to develop solar energy.
The question that I have got is, at the present rate structure of natural gas, which really gives quantity discounts, that is, the more you use the lower the price per cubic foot, it does not encourage large plants, utilities, et cetera, to switch from gas to coal, or to stop wasting energy by installing equipment to burn fuels more efficiently. The reason is that buying more gas and burning more gas is cheaper than doing these other things.
Do you intend in your energy policy to recommend changes in the rates for natural gas usage so that the use of more and more gas is penalized, that is, the rate goes up instead of down as you use more energy? In my mind, I think this is one of the most important steps that you can take to encourage conservation, because I don't think voluntary conservation will work, but economic conservation will.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Mr. Matthews.
I am going to let Dr. Schlesinger answer that.
MR. SCHLESINGER. We will be reviewing a variety of proposals with regard to rate structures and, in particular, with respect to the natural gas market which is in such a sad state of disequilibrium. There will be proposals to reduce the temptation for industry excessively to burn gas.
THE PRESIDENT. I think in the stationary power plants, the use of natural gas is going to be phased out as rapidly as we can.
Q. Mr. President, my name is Edward Hall.
My question is actually directed to Secretary Andrus. I would like the Secretary to know that I am a practicing lawyer here in Charleston, and I have corresponded with him since his appointment to his position.
The question, in fact, deals with what the representatives of the industry feel is an inhibition to greater production of coal, especially in West Virginia, from the inconsistencies possibly, in the application and interpretation of a very good law, the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.
Your predecessor, by regulation, created what is called the Interior Board of Mine Operations Appeals. It is not a statutory body. The members of that particular reviewing body are lawyers who do not qualify from any other sense of qualification through any civil servant requirements, and in their interpretation of this particular law, it seems to be that there have been created several inconsistencies.
I think maybe the lack of direction to the industry and, for that matter, as far as labor is concerned, in the interpretation of that law itself, causes an enormous amount of litigation.
My question is in the form of what was your response to the administrative law judge group's proposal to abandon the Interior Board of Mine Operations Appeals? As I understand, their recommendation is that if you did that, that it would streamline the administration of your office and would save the taxpayers over $1 million a year. I wonder what your position on that is?
SECRETARY ANDRUS. Mr. President, as a matter of fact, that's before the Solicitor, within the Department of Interior right now. Frankly, you advised me and the group that you have corresponded with me, implying that I haven't answered. If I have not, I beg your pardon.
THE PRESIDENT. He did.
SECRETARY ANDRUS. Yes, I did. [Laughter]
I would point out that before we had the Solicitor and the Under Secretary and others confirmed, I was like a yo-yo, back and forth to the Hill, and I signed those in stacks at night. So I thought, "Oh, oh, I've lost one."
But it's before the Solicitor's office internally right now. It's attractive with reference to the savings that we can bring about to the taxpayer.
Our concern, sir, is simply whether in fact there was some productivity within that Board that should be salvaged in another way and cut down the red tape. And I'm not prepared to say that to throw it all out is the answer. But our Solicitor is looking at it right now and perhaps by tomorrow will have helped to bring about that determination.
But I'll correspond with you again.
Q. I appreciate that, sir.
Q. I'm Professor Benjamin Lynsky of West Virginia University. Mr. President, it's a pleasure to see you here and addressing our problems. Please excuse my voice. Part of this is probably nervous tension.
Governor Rockefeller, Senator Randolph, friends, others: My special interest and my expertise is in the field of environmental engineering and air pollution control, especially. I would like to address one specific problem and bring two others to your attention.
The specific problem I would like to address is in looking at any of the air pollution standards, any of the air quality standards, that it be recognized that the Congress, and I hope you, also--and from your expressions I believe you agree--have very clearly made it evident that it is not just health alone but health and welfare, meaning the amenities, the things that make West Virginia lovely, the visibility that allows us to see the vistas, and the tall stack, unfortunately, allows the tons of sulfur dioxide to go into the air and become sulfates. And whether they go into our lungs and hurt us or bother the vegetation or not, they still provide a milky haze even on the brightest, most beautiful days, a milky haze that otherwise would not exist.
A second point--I hope that you can join me in that expression of feeling that the Congress has expressed several times; I hope you share it--that is health and welfare, and not just health alone, not illness alone.
The two points I would like to bring to your attention are, one, a missing factor. The missing factor in all of the discussions and all of the legislation that I know of thus far, Federal level and at State levels, is a lack of a perpetual care fund for water pollution from acid mine drainage, from both deep mines and surface mineage. There is no perpetual care fund provided for. In many States, there is a modest surface mining bonding and some deep mine bonding. But for small amounts, it might be in the order of $200 or $300 per acre; whereas we learned from the hilly lands overseas that it takes $3,000 to $4,000 an acre to preserve and protect perpetually lands that have been surface mined for coal. That was my point of information.
A third point--and this is something that I think would be most dramatic to you--these are some charts of the surface of the State that could be stripped to remove the small percentage of coal which is strippable in the whole State and the various counties. You might wish to look at these.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.
Does anyone want to respond to Professor Lynsky's comment?
MR. LIGHT. I'd like to point out that although we do have on the books pollution control laws for the active mining, there is a real problem in that the abandoned mines cause hundreds of miles of West Virginia streams to be degraded. And the current laws will allow new deep mines or drift mines into the mountainside to be developed so that they will be impossible to seal after mining. A slight modification in the mining technique, such as down-dip mining, is a little more expensive for the coal companies, but it would allow this water pollution to be controlled after the mine is closed.
The alternative is to have centuries, and scientists have documented that the acid will continue for centuries after the mine is closed, even if the treatment plant is operated while the mine is active.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Don Whitehead, the Federal Chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission, is here, presumably, in the room.
THE PRESIDENT. He is here. I see him.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Fine. Under the program we are going into this subject very deeply, and I want to commend the Commission program in that area.
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Jones, would you like to comment on that?
MR. JONES. Yes. I know that Ed Smith and Arnold Miller and I wouldn't like to work in any down-dip mines, cause we don't want all of that water behind us.
THE PRESIDENT. Professor Lynsky, thank you very much.
Q. My name is Alan Sussman, State senator from Beckley.
Mr. President, I'm very pleased that you're interested in West Virginia and West Virginia coal, and some of the things that I'd like to call to your attention that could aid in increased production, number one, would be some acceleration of Federal dollars for our highway program.
West Virginia is a very expensive State in which to construct highways. Some of our interstate programs need to be completed so we can get this coal out of the mines to the various transportation points.
Next, Mr. President, is that some aid, Federal aid for our housing program-we just completed a study, just in southern West Virginia, and approximately 20,000 homes are needed there on an average cost of about $30,000 to $35,000, which are modest costs for homes today.
You have a figure of something to $600 to $700 millions of dollars. And that far exceeds the financial capacity of the financial institutions in southern West Virginia. And if you would give those two items some attention, it would help in the production.
THE PRESIDENT. Senator, those are very good points. I might say that as soon as I got in the automobile with Governor Rockefeller, he brought up the same two points. [Laughter]
I think that we have got now a Secretary of Transportation who will be working very closely with the legislature here and your congressional delegation and your Governor. I would like very much-I've already talked to Jay Rockefeller about meeting specifically with the Director of EDA, who is Secretary of Commerce Kreps, Juanita Kreps, and also with Patricia Harris, who is the new Secretary of HUD. I can see that as we put an emphasis on increased coal production, just to bring it back up to where it was 10 years ago in West Virginia, that you are going to have to have better highways and more housing.
So, that's a good point that you've made. And I think that this discussion, which has been focused today on just mining techniques and reorganization and long-range trends, has those practical applications. And I think your point is well taken.
SENATOR RANDOLPH We also have to rebuild the trackage of the rail system. Our coal is unable to move, perhaps 20 miles an hour in some instances, over the tracks. And this is a program that Congress and your administration certainly, I believe, will attack.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, sir.
Q. Mr. President, members of the panel, my name is Willis Farley. I am a retired former coat miner, as well as a former chemical production worker, Union Carbide, locally. I have lived in southern West Virginia all my life, and I have seen the coal industry go hot and go cold, as circumstances seem to dictate from time to time.
I'm not here as an individual really. 1 have been most active for the years I've retired, and even some before, with senior citizens' activities as well as all the things that have been discussed here. I have been very much involved with the Clean Air Act and all of the environmental problems which have beset us.
But I have been chosen by a group of senior citizens, if we could get to the conference here, to speak somewhat for them.
THE PRESIDENT. I want to hear you, but we need to be very brief, if you don't mind.
Q. Yes, sir, I am going to right now, Mr. President.
We meet in a very comfortable, urban., metropolitan area today.. West Virginia is, in fact, a rural State. And I would assure you all here that if we get up into the creeks and the hollows and see the people whose roots are deep in the Appalachian Mountains, being displaced and impacted in other ways by industrial activity and particularly coal mining, I think you will want to consider the sociological aspect of this problem as well as the economic and environmental; not diminish those, but to emphasize the sociological aspect.
I think that Senator Randolph had started to steal my thunder. I did want to suggest that something be considered or some response to be made for housing and other amenities that will be required as the employment increases in the coal mines.
And I might say that even though it may seem to some an unpopular position to take, I would say quite frankly and candidly that I honestly do not believe that West Virginians want their mountains topless.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
I'd like to add one other point here. There is no one in the Senate who helps and cooperates with me more than your senior Senator, and majority leader, Senator Byrd, has worked very closely with me, too. I have promised the American people to have a balanced budget by fiscal year 1981, and I'm going to do the best I can to keep that promise.
I see some signs around about stopping various dams and so forth. I have asked the Senate and the House to reexamine the need for construction of projects that were approved 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years ago, when interest rates were down around 2 3/8 percent interest and when there was no consideration given about safety, the construction of dams on earthquake fault zones, and when there was very little or even knowledge of the word "environmental quality" or "ecology." And I think that we can have railroads repaired and highways built and housing programs provided and the budget balanced and a healthy economy only if we don't waste money in building projects that are no longer needed.
And this is going to be a major struggle between me and the Congress, and I hate as a brand new Democratic President to have an argument with the Congress. But I'm determined to let the American people know about this particular consideration.
I believe that we've got to--and the whole country has got to go into the process of reexamining past considerations that were accepted just as a routine matter, and say, have we made a mistake; have we started down the wrong road; have we had an improper priority established by the expenditure of scarce financial and human resources?
And I think that I would use this opportunity very briefly, since the subject has come up two or three times today, just to say that I am very determined to present to the American people my side of the argument. But it is done with the best of good will between myself and the Congress. It's not anything personal about it. It's just the difference of opinion.
I think we can have a good quality of life; I think we can have clean air; I think we can have pure water; I think we can have open streams; and I think we can have a balanced budget--all at the same time we meet the needs of the American people.
Q. I am Robert Gates, local filmmaker and engineer. I'd like to ask a rather broad question relating to strip mining to the panel as a whole, possibly Governor Rockefeller. I would like to see if we could come to some consensus, how much land we want to strip. It has a lot in kin, I think, with Professor Lynsky's charts that he handed you. How much of West Virginia do we want to strip mine? How much of the Nation? Because the land area that has been strip mined is immense, and the land area that will be strip mined probably in the next 25 years, the strippable regions of this country, is enormous.
So, I think we have to--talking about reclaiming and minimizing the effects of specific strip mines is well and good--but we need still to take an overall, broad look at what we're doing. How much land do we want to strip? How much land can we afford to strip? We mine 50 percent of our coal today by strip mining. That percentage increases yearly.
And we're going to be using a lot of coal. I don't think myself that we can afford to strip all the strippable land in this country.
THE PRESIDENT. Let me let Governor Rockefeller respond first, and then if any other member of the panel would like to respond.
GOVERNOR ROCKEFELLER. Thank you, Mr. President.
One of the, I think, fortunate aspects of our coal production in the State of West Virginia, at least, is that only 20 percent of our coal is produced by the strip mining method, and the rest is done by deep mining. In Kentucky it's about 60 percent strip mining and about 40 percent deep mining. I prefer, frankly, our balance.
We reclaim about 25,000 acres per year, and it's my own judgment that we can have strip mining in West Virginia if we are able to look out into the future. This may be a responsibility that the government has not exercised at the State level, to decide where it is that it is not for the long-term benefit of the State to have strip mining and where it is that it is.
Our director of the department of natural resources has the ability at any time to declare an area simply off limits for strip mining. That is rarely exercised. But that could be exercised. I think with intelligent planning, perhaps even some degree of land-use planning, exercised either by State government or by county governments, that we could reach an acceptable solution to the problem of still producing coal, but not producing it to the detriment of the long-term State planning.
THE PRESIDENT. How many acres per year are strip mined in West Virginia?
GOVERNOR ROCKEFELLER. We issued last year about 272 permits, Mr. President. Some of the Western States issue 5, 6, or 7 a year, but Kentucky is up to 450. And the average size of those will be 200 to 300 acres.
Ms. STEPHENSON. Last year, Mr. President, about 23,000 acres were issued under permit. That was just for 1 year.
THE PRESIDENT. And you reclaimed 25,000. So you're reclaiming now about the same acres as you all,
MS. STEPHENSON. Some of that is being reclaimed which is abandoned orphan lands. I don't know the percentage on that. But there is a percentage of that that's going for reclaiming of those lands. So in all of them, of course, that's under permits, isn't being stripped, you know, that year. I was just going to say, to reclaim all the orphan lands is going to take 10 years, if we reclaim 25,000 acres a year, because we have about a quarter of a million according to some statistics I have seen.
Could I respond to a couple of other things?
THE PRESIDENT. Please, while you have the floor.
MS. STEPHENSON. One of the concerns we had about strip mining in "Save Our Mountains" was the fact that all the permits in this State, and I gather the permits that are going to come after H.R. 2 and Senate bill 7 become law, are going to be done on a permit-by-permit basis. In regard to mountaintop removal, there has to be impact statements made. That has to be looked at, some use of mountaintop removal, unless--the industry is trying to get this changed, I believe. There has to be valid use for that land afterwards, and there has to be as good or better than the use before.
That's going to present some problems out west. It's going to present some problems here. I would like to see those regulations left in. But the problem is that if it's on a permit-by-permit basis, that these strip mine permits are granted, there is no place currently in this State where there is an overall look at the whole regional impact of what that means, whether it is watershed by watershed, whether you want to call it a State planning area or by State.
And I think that's extremely important, that in looking at the long-term energy needs of this country--and I think we have got to talk in 50 and 100 years as well as 5 and 10--we have got to look at the overall long-term effect it will have in southern West Virginia.
A few years back in the late sixties, when I was working for State government and I was getting into solid waste disposal, stripping then was becoming a reality, and we were talking about the fact that ultimately--this was a joke at the time-that what we could envision is stripping most of southern West Virginia and turning it into a solid waste disposal landfill for the eastern part of the country while the eastern part of the State provided electric power to Washington, on up, you know, with our hydroelectric plants.
So, I think that there is a real possibility. And this year when I was in Washington talking with other groups from out west, Northern Plains Council, we were talking about a tradeoff.
Maybe we'll take southern West Virginia and Gillette, Wyoming, and just let them devastate those two areas and give them to the country. I think there is a real possibility that could happen. I think the Federal bill is going to help. But there has got to be a look at the impact regionally and nationally to the strip mining.
THE PRESIDENT. I would like to let Secretary Andrus respond to that.
SECRETARY ANDRUS. Ms. Stephenson, let me say two things. First of all, in H.R. 2 and S. 7, there is a provision for a collection of a fee, an assessment or tax, upon each ton of coal. This then is utilized within the State. It's collected; if it's not expended within 3 years, it can be used anyplace in America for the reclamation of orphan and abandoned land. You are right.
I can take you into--well, let's not say West Virginia, let's say another State-and show you practices of many years ago where strip mining--it looks like the aftermath of world war III. We were wrong. We erred. And now it's going to be very, very expensive to clean that up. But at the same time, we have to go forward with a reclamation plan that will make it possible to use that land for something else.
To me--and I've heard President Carter express it that strip mining should be a temporary use of the land, that when you have finished with the strip mining that land should be put back in the form that it can be used for something else.
The money will be there, but not enough, Judy, to do all of the orphan land at one time.
Now the selection--and we face that fact. We are going to take care of what we are doing from now on, and we are going to start working on the backlog, but you would cause quite a burden upon the consumer if you made the consumer pay all at once for picking up all the orphan lands, too.
We're not going to ignore it.
Ms. STEPHENSON. I didn't mean to suggest that. The reason, I think one of the things the Governor brought up is about the power of the director to delete areas from strip mining. There is a great deal of concern about the Cranberry back country and a few other places here that are now under study for a national wilderness area.
The one thing I would suggest that would be included in that regional look is that there are certain areas that for Whether you would call it ecological reasons, for reasons of unusual wildlife or botanical reasons or for other reasons, like increased flooding, should be looked at. And there should be ways of deleting those areas from the strip mines.
THE PRESIDENT. Secretary Andros is also in charge of that program.
SECRETARY ANDRUS. I would just say very briefly, because I thought that the Governor responded to that, let me reiterate what he had said. We have vast amounts of coal in the public domain lands of America. Here you're not just talking about public domain lands. We have the opportunity to say yes, we will mine here, but we won't mine over here for the very reason that you point out. And I think that that's a choice that America can make, that should be made, and if you're talking about public domain lands, then the answer is yes, we have the right to say no, you won't mine over there. And I think that's the way it should be. I would suspect that your Governor, I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I've talked to him. enough to know that he feels very strongly about protecting some of these pristine areas that the President has talked about and I've talked about, and they're just not going to destroy the whole world. But we are going to meet, you know, our responsibilities.
THE PRESIDENT. Senator.
SENATOR RANDOLH. Mr. President, a few mornings ago when you unveiled the energy department proposal at the White House, you were specifically asked what about solid waste. Judy has introduced that subject here this afternoon.
I think that she should know and I'm sure she does know that under the legislation which we passed last year and became law, we are giving technical and even financial aid in connection with a resource recovery program.
We hope it will work. But there's one thing that was written into the law, Judy. We're going to stop open dumping in the United States within a period of 5 years.
THE PRESIDENT. We only have about 15 minutes in all left. And I'd like to maybe take two quick questions from the audience and then let the panelists, if you have some last, not more than two sentences, to wrap up what you'd like to say, and then we're going to close out.
Q. My name is Samuel Kucik, I'm minority leader of the West Virginia Senate. And my people ask me, one, is there hard data that SO2 emissions are in fact bad enough to take out of the air; and, two, what is the rationale since we are one United States, that West Virginia coal which is mined in West Virginia can be burned in Pennsylvania in one EPA region out of Philadelphia? It can't be burned in the State of West Virginia, but it can be burned in the other EPA region in the State of Ohio. So, it's rather paradoxical that we can burn West Virginia coal in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but we can't burn it here in West Virginia.
THE PRESIDENT. I understand. It's hard to draw the logic. I could give you an answer. But I'll see if Doug Costie can give you a logical answer.
MR. COSTLE. The evidence on the health effects of sulfur is, I think, pretty hard, and it gets harder as time goes on. The question of how much and how high a level of sulfur coal can you burn in any one place, whether it's Virginia or Ohio, depends almost exclusively on how much total sulfur is going into the air in that region.
If you've got a lot of sources of sulfur in one place, then. you're going to have to bring the levels down from all of those sources even more stringently than you would if you only had a handful of sources, because what we set the health standard on is the ambient levels, that is, what total burden of sulfur in the air.
And that's why it's so difficult, particularly in industrialized parts of the country, to meet these health standards, because we've concentrated our industries and our populations in such a way that some parts of the country require more stringent controls in order to get the total burden in the air down to that health level.
Q. We understand that. But it's rather difficult when you're standing in West Virginia and you see a power plant sitting here and then you see the Ohio River and you see a power plant sitting there.
MR. COSTLE. Absolutely. Now there should be no unevenness--I mean, the air pollution problems don't fall neatly or aren't broken neatly by State lines. And one of the things that Senator Randolph and the Committee and myself have been worrying about are how we bring real equity to the situation so that contiguous States in fact have comparable requirements. That is something we will address.
THE PRESIDENT. Senator, one point I would like to make in a highly nonpartisan way is, it is hard to correct in 8 weeks the mistakes of the last 8 years. But we're trying.
Senator Randolph, I think, pointed out earlier part of the answer to your question, and perhaps you'd repeat it.
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Yes. I would like to indicate that Ohio is in the Chicago EPA region and West Virginia is in the Philadelphia region. And of course, the winds don't blow west to Chicago from Ohio, you know. They blow east across the river into West Virginia.
THE PRESIDENT. Didn't you comment on the amendment that was adopted yesterday?
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Yes. It was passed yesterday as we had the markup on the Clean Air Act amendments, and it will be in the bill as brought to the Senate floor, and it will be passed. And we're sure the House, when we go to conference, will accept it.
THE PRESIDENT. Senator, that's an excellent question, because there's another area that I don't want to get into this afternoon because of time. When you set emission standards on automobiles at one level of stringency and you have a completely different level of stringency for stationary power plants, that's not logical, either.
So, I think to look at the whole realm of air pollution and water pollution standards at one time, from one viewpoint, we'll make some adjustments both ways that might make it more logical in the future. There's no way to give you a logical answer to your very excellent question.
Q. If you can bring logic to the Federal Government, we'd be very pleased.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can't promise that.
ENVIRONMENT; REVIEW OF ENERGY
Q. Mr. President, we're certainly glad to have you here in our State. And in case you need a place to spend the night, my husband and I would be glad to have you. If not this time, maybe another.
One of the points I wanted to bring up was the one addressed by Ms. Stephenson just a minute ago and by yourself, was how are we going to protect some of the really valuable natural areas we have in our State under your new energy program.
We are very much concerned that these not be sacrificed to energy. We understand the need for both energy and a decent natural environment, and we hope that there will be very clear sections and regulations on how certain watersheds in our State can be protected; specifically, the Schaffer's Fork and the Cranberry area, which has already been mentioned.
Another comment I have, a question, is that since there are several energy inefficient projects now pending before our regulatory and licensing agencies that do have significant implications for our natural environment, and in light of your recent actions to review the cost-benefit of several water-related projects in the country, and since you do plan to change our country's energy use and production, I wonder if you plan such a review for pending energy-related projects?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I think Dr. Schlesinger can answer that better than I, but--in fact, I think I'll defer to him to answer both parts of your question.
The difficult matter that hasn't been addressed is how do you draw a line between local and State authority on the one hand and the Federal authority on the other?
My own feeling is that within the State of West Virginia, your own government, the legislature and the Governor, ought to decide which areas ought not to be disturbed.
In Georgia, for instance, we've got 600,000 acres of marshlands, and we passed a law so no matter what's under those marshlands, nobody can touch them. And I hope a thousand years from now those marshlands will be just exactly the way they are now.
That's something that the Federal Government ought not to get into. It ought to be a decision made by the State.
Now, on the other hand, you've got areas of lands, sometimes two-thirds of a State out west, that are owned by the Federal Government. And Cecil Andrus and his successor will have control over which parts of those lands can be disturbed for strip mining and other purposes.
That's pretty clear delineation of authority. But now when the Federal Government sets standards for the preservation of land areas, that's where you start running into, sometimes, a disharmony between the local or State government on the one hand, and the Federal on the other.
I don't know how to answer that question.
Q. I just wondered if you felt like you could encourage that action a little more than has been done in the past?
THE PRESIDENT. I think so, yes.
Q. I'd certainly appreciate that.
THE PRESIDENT. I believe that's an accurate thing to say, that we can. Perhaps Dr, Schlesinger would like to respond to the last part of your question.
MR. SCHLESINGER. I think that the main point to keep in mind, Mr. President, is that the water projects that were authorized were authorized in a period of much lower interest rates, in many cases before there were environmental considerations.
The energy projects of the Government have by and large gone through the environmental review, some of them will indeed be reviewed on that basis, including the breeder program.
THE PRESIDENT. I think you might have noticed that in our budget amendments that we recommended a substantial reduction in research and development funds for nuclear power, particularly in the breeder field, and a substantial increase in funds for coal production. I think that would be a pretty good preview of what's going to happen in the future.
I'd like to ask all those that are standing in line that haven't had a chance to ask your question--if you'd write your question down, Tim Kraft, on my staff, with a beautiful green carnation in his lapel, will take up the questions.
And I'd like to ask Dr. Schlesinger or Doug Costle or Secretary Andros to write you the answer to your questions. We don't want to have them unanswered.
But I'd like to take this last 6 or 7 minutes that we have left and go around the table and ask you to be very brief and just give me one or two sentences to sum up a point that you'd like to make.
I'll start down at the end with Norman Kilpatrick.
MR. KILPATRICK. Mr. President, 2 years ago the head of the Customs Bureau-then head of Customs Bureau, I hope-wrote President Arnold Miller a letter saying that it was all right to import South African coal to gulf coast and New England utilities, because no low-sulfur coal was available to utilities from United States sources. I hope that your administration will be able to quickly correct that misunderstanding of the coal situation in the Customs Bureau.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. I think you can rest assured that that will be corrected.
Mr. Reichl, any comment?
MR. REICHL. Very briefly, Mr. President. We have heard a lot of things here today about the impacts of the energy supply and use in this country. I would like to submit that the greatest potential impact, social impact related to energy, is not having it. And I would hope that your policy will secure us against that opportunity.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
MR. HAMNER. Mr. President, in this century, for 50 years, the coal supply was greater than the coal demand. And for 50 years West Virginia suffered. I hope that our energy policy causes the demand for coal to grow more rapidly than the supply of coal.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. Doug?
MR. COSTLE. Mr. President, I think I've relearned here today what I knew when I left the State of Connecticut, having been commissioner of environmental protection there. And that is, EPA in Washington is in many ways quite out of touch with what's going on outside of Washington.
THE PRESIDENT. That makes our meeting worthwhile.
MR. COSTLE. I intend to do something about that.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. Carole Ferrell?
Ms. FERRELL. I think the future economic situation of the country is going to be determined by our energy policies. And in your new Federal energy agency, I would like to see blacks and women from policy-making positions being hired on down, so that we can have the input into what's going on.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
MR. LLOYD. Mr. President, we have discussed a matter that I think is the most critical matter facing this country today. I want to tell you my company and the electrical utility industry will recognize that responsibility in trying to meet the country's energy needs, and we'll cooperate with you and your Cabinet in any way or matter to get this done.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you for that. Ed Smith?
MR. SMITH. I just hope all my buddies will buckle down and will mine more coal.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. That's a good hope.
GOVERNOR ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, my hope would be that we could find ways to increase the productivity of mines and miners through all those various ways that we will have to if we're going to increase our capacity to use coal in this country.
I'm grateful for the leadership that you have given to the whole cause of energy. And I wish you well in the passage of the energy reorganization bill.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you.
MR. McMANUS. Mr. President, thanks again for coming to West Virginia. I appreciate the opportunity to be on the panel.
And I would only say that by virtue of this meeting and similar meetings which I'm sure you'll have in Washington and maybe elsewhere, that Dr. Schlesinger will be able to expend his personal energies in a way that will be beneficial to solving the total energy package by maximizing the use of coal, as has been indicated here today.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
MR. MILLER. Mr. President, thank you for getting us started, because I think we're going in the right direction now. We're talking, and that's the greatest thing to get over sometimes, is to get people together with divergent views and talk. And while I remained silent for the most part of today, I learned more by listening.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I learned a lot by listening. Thank you. Ed Light?
MR. LIGHT. Mr. President, I'd like to stress here, if you don't act in a matter of a few weeks to change the previous administration's policy on wilderness protection on their Forest Service land in the Cranberry back country, mining will be imminent and this valuable, unique, natural resource will be lost. You have to act within a matter of a few weeks to stop the U.S. Forest Service from carrying out the previous administration's policy or that area is gone.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. The Secretary of Interior said he's familiar with that problem.
SECRETARY ANDRUS. Except Agriculture has the Forest Service, but I know what you're talking about.
THE PRESIDENT. Senator Randolph?
SENATOR RANDOLPH. Mr. President, not only is your reorganization of the Federal structure important--and I commend you for it--but we've tried to do that in the Senate of the United States and in the House, as you know. For example, with Ed here sitting at my right, we have changed the name of our committee from the Public Works Committee to Environment and Public Works Committee. I think this is just an indication, hopefully, of the commitment on Capitol Hill to the quality of life in which we can all join in a common purpose in the future.
Mr. President, West Virginians have not only respect for you, we have great confidence in your ability to do the job.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, sir, very much.
MAYOR HUTCHINSON. Mr. President, I think that at all levels of government the greatest challenge is the lack of credibility between the governmental leaders. It's a problem which your administration is attacking head-on, which I think is excellent.
I would like to add, to Doug, when you said that EPA had a lot to learn out in the field, you can add the letters FEA to that.
But, Mr. President, as a follow-up to this type of thing, if this type of meeting deserves additional attention in the future, if the meeting itself cannot be restructured as it is today, a year from now new lines of communications be opened up between people that are here and direct representatives of your administration--I think if you do nothing more than that, you've done a great thing for this country.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much, Mayor.
MR. JONES. Mr. President, lest the capital of the world be moved from Washington to the Persian Gulf by this great outflow of capital, I think we need to increase coal production. And the coal industry certainly stands ready to do its share and cooperate any way we can.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
MS. STEPHENSON. Well, it seems we concluded we need coal, and I'm sure if there's money in it, somebody will find a way to mine it. And I think that in the energy policy we should think very much in terms of something we haven't unfortunately thought of in the past, and that's the ultimate public interest, sometimes versus various things, including private profit.
And I would suggest that with H.R. 2, that the regulations of H.R. 2 be strongly enforced. It adds to the credibility of the Government, plus it will protect us here.
The other thing I'd like to second, what Mayor Hutchinson said, we do need avenues that we know are there and that we can use, and we need to know that they're open for us.
THE PRESIDENT. They are open.
SECRETARY ANDRUS. Mr. President, I just underscore what Doug Costle said a moment ago. We've learned a lot. I would hope that we'll force ourselves, even in the crunch of time, to come back to West Virginia and other States to listen to what really the people are concerned about.
That's why we are here today.
THE PRESIDENT. Absolutely.
MR. SCHLESINGER. Mr. President, the comprehensive energy plan that you will submit in April will require many changes and many sacrifices. It will not be successfully legislated or mandated from Washington, D.C. It will require the support of the entire American people to see to it that the details are, indeed, included and supported throughout the land.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you.
I would like to close our meeting, I think, on time, by saying that it's not just a West Virginia problem, it's not just a problem for the United States. I'm going to leave here and fly up to New York to make a speech to the United Nations tonight at 7:30. And one of the items that I'll talk about, briefly but very sincerely, is that the energy problem is one of worldwide importance and significance.
Our nations, 150 of us or more, are now seeing an almost complete merging of energy considerations with the economic future of the world and also the political future of the world. And I believe that if everyone of us individual countries can take the proper analysis of the future in energy and deal with it ourselves, then accumulatively we can relieve tensions around the world and give all people a better chance for a good life.
I've noticed here a great concern about environmental quality. And I hope that, as Jennings Randolph reminded me when I got off the plane by giving me this beautiful West Virginia tie, that the phrase "almost heaven" will always apply to West Virginia.
Thank you very much.
Note: The President spoke at 12:35 p.m. in the State Conference Center.
Jimmy Carter, Charleston, West Virginia Remarks in a Panel Discussion and Question-and-Answer Session on Energy. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243103