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Decontrol of Domestic Oil Prices Statement by the President.

June 01, 1979

Today the first step in phased decontrol begins.

For too many years we have had little influence over our own energy future. The first step in phased decontrol is also the first step toward establishing that ability to influence our own future.

Phased decontrol will increase domestic production, reduce consumption, reduce our vulnerability to foreign supplies, and improve our balance of payments.

Phased decontrol will also mean a slight increase in prices over the next few fears—although nothing like the large increases we have already seen in the first few months of this year, despite the old system of controls.

OPEC-induced increases are likely to continue whatever our decision on domestic controls. Indeed, attempts to block phased decontrol can only serve to encourage OPEC price increases and increase our vulnerability to them.

The facts are that we have no choice in the future but to use less energy and pay more for what we do use.

Next week, Chairman Ullman and the House Ways and Means Committee expect to begin work on the windfall tax bill, which will capture for public use a significant portion of the profits resulting from decontrol. The enactment of this tax is essential, because its revenues will be used to:

—Offset the increased prices due to decontrol for the poorest of our citizens;

—Increase our mass transit systems-both buses and rail service;

—Increase our investment in research and development for areas such as solar power, better ways to burn and use coal, substitutes for petroleum and oil shale production.

The time has come to face facts. Our energy problems are real. The time for dreaming of easy, painless answers is past. The time for rhetoric without responsibility is past.

The difficulties we face this summer could have been averted or substantially lessened had we faced facts in years gone by. If we fail to act responsibly now, our problems will certainly grow worse and our options fewer in the years to come.

Jimmy Carter, Decontrol of Domestic Oil Prices Statement by the President. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249769

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