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International Solvent Refined Coal II Agreement Remarks on Signing the Agreement.

July 31, 1980

THE PRESIDENT. Ambassador Hermes, Ambassador Okawara, Senator Byrd, Senator Randolph, Governor Rockefeller, Congressman Staggers, Mr. Chairman and other Members of the West Virginia delegation, distinguished members of our own American community who have been so instrumental in making the progress which we commemorate today with a very important and significant event in the history of energy security for our country:

I'm extremely proud to come before you today to participate in the signing of documents between three great nations-the United States of America, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the great nation of Japan. This event continues the spirit of the economic summits—which have been conducted primarily in Tokyo last year and in Venice this year—indicating the awareness among the industrialized and developed countries of our world, energy-consuming nations, of the importance of dealing with the energy problem on two basic levels.

One is to enhance conservation, to eliminate the waste of energy, to be more economical in the use of all forms of energy. I've just seen this morning the data on the first 5 months of this year: American imports of foreign oil are down 15 percent compared to the same 5 months of 1979. This is an extraordinary conservation' achievement; with no derogation to our guests from other countries, much better, I might say, than any other consuming nation. It's because of the concerted effort of many Americans, and it's because of the fact that in the past we had not made adequate progress in conservation.

The other element of reducing imports is to develop additional forms of energy which can be derived from untapped natural resources in our country. This event this morning will commemorate the production of clean-burning fuel from high sulphur coal, a major plant to be located in the State of West Virginia. Later, after the signing ceremony, I will introduce Senator Byrd, who has been so instrumental in making possible this event. I might say that synthetic fuels programs, the use of solar power, the production of gasohol and other forms of energy from growing plants, and geothermal supplies, shale, coal, will be greatly enhanced in the future as a source of energy for our country.

We are blessed in the United States by having very large reserve supplies of energy, unlike even some of our close allies and friends. Last week we signed an agreement to help guarantee a loan for the Great Plains Coal Liquefaction Plant in North Dakota. This will produce, as a matter of fact, gas from very low quality lignite, similar to but quite distinct from the production plant in West Virginia, which will use high sulphur coal to produce liquid fuels.

These are the kinds of new projects that can stimulate the American economy, provide large numbers of jobs for our people, and give us the excitement and the prospect of a notable technological and economic achievement. The plant in West Virginia, which will be organized and financed jointly by our three nations represented here this morning, will produce the equivalent of 7 million barrels of oil each year—that's 7 million barrels fewer that we will have to import from overseas in oil.

It will also create a lot of jobs—thirtyfive hundred direct construction jobs in West Virginia alone. This does not include those who will operate the plant permanently. And of course, it will also use 2 million tons of coal each year in an environmentally acceptable way, I might add, and this also of course means many more jobs for the coal mining industry.

This is a precursor of wonderful things to come. It's part of our National Energy Program of which we're very proud. It includes the Energy Security Act which I signed on the South Lawn of the White House grounds not too long ago. It requires cooperation from all those in our own Nation who are involved in the production and consumption of energy, and that includes almost every single American citizen. And of course, this opportunity to share the responsibilities and the benefits with the great nations of Germany and Japan adds an excitement and the prospects of further progress to an already wonderful occasion.

Again, I want to express my thanks not only to the Government representatives of Germany and Japan, but to the business representatives and the scientists and others who will benefit directly from this project. This means a commitment to make more fuel and to face the future, a troubled, sometimes uncertain future, with a reassurance in our own capability and the resources with which God has blessed us, and also with a reassurance of a close alliance, not only political and military to guarantee our security in those areas, but economic alliance to guarantee the economic security of our countries.

I want to express also my total confidence in the skill and the resources and the courage of the citizens of our nations who look to the future not with doubt and trepidation and fear, but with courage and with confidence that we'll have a better life, a brighter life, a more exciting life for all our citizens in the years to come. Thank you very much.

[At this point, the President, Ambassador Peter Hermes, and Ambassador Yoshio Okawara signed the agreement.]

I'd like to ask the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to say a few remarks if he will.

AMBASSADOR HERMES. Mr. President, distinguished guests:

Today is an important day for trilateral cooperation between the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States of America, and Japan. Our signing today of a number of agreements in connection with the SRC-II Project is a symbolic act. It stands for the great efforts our three countries are making individually, as well as jointly, to drastically change our energy policies.

The main thrust of this policy is to substantially decrease our dependence on the import of foreign oil. You, Mr. President, have been successful in your continuous efforts to obtain the necessary legislation for the implementation of these policies. My own Government and the Government of Japan have been pursuing the same aim in a similar fashion.

The SRC-II Project is a project designed to demonstrate the feasibility of coal liquefaction technology by jointly establishing and jointly operating a large facility in this country with important scientific, technical, and financial contributions by all three participating countries.

I'm happy to note that my country was among the first, if not the first, to successfully use the coal conversion technology more than a generation ago. Today, the Federal Republic of Germany is pursuing research and development for the use of coal conversion technology on a much broader scale. At the present time, we have 10 pilot plants for coal conversion under construction or in operation and as many as 14 additional coal conversion projects in the planning stage. Of these, the SRC-II Project is by far the largest one. It has been termed the most ambitious international energy project ever to be undertaken, and my Government is committed, together with our American and Japanese partners, to making it a full success benefiting all three countries.

Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT. Now I'd like to call on the Ambassador of Japan to make a few remarks.

AMBASSADOR OKAWARA. Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is my great pleasure and honor to have signed with you, Mr. President, the agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States of America on cooperation in coal liquefaction using the SRC-II process. The SRC-II Project is a most important one in the field of coal conversion, in which the initial emphasis has been placed along with fusion under the Japan-United States energy R&D cooperation agreement.

The 1980's will be an epoch-making decade when the industrialized countries take firm steps towards ending their excessive dependence on oil and thus strengthening the foundation of the economies. In this new challenge it is indeed significant that the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Japan will cooperate with the utmost advanced technologies in the largest coal liquefaction project in the world.

When the project proceeds satisfactorily as expected, Japan will come to import coal-derived liquid fuels converted from the abundant coal resources of the United States. This will bring about the situation to be welcomed by the U.S. coal industry over the long run, and from the long-term point of view will contribute to enhancing the U.S.-Japan trade relations.

Furthermore, it is anticipated that the technology developed through this project could be applied to the rich coal resources in such countries as Australia and China. Such future development would expand the present tripartite initiative into broader international cooperation.

We may be confronted by some technological and other unforeseeable difficulties when we proceed on the long-term project of this giant scale. However, the special cooperation that unifies us together in this project will no doubt allow us to surmount such difficulties. It is now clearly recognized in forums like the economic summit or the International Energy Agency that the present difficult energy situation can be .greatly improved by concerted effort in the promotion of alternative energy development and the acceleration of new energy technologies, as was clearly stated in the recent economic summit declaration. I am convinced that this project will prove successful with such international endorsement and blessings.

In closing, on behalf of all the people and institutions in Japan involved in this imaginative venture, I wish to express my sincere respect for your initiative, Mr. President, and for your tremendous effort taken toward the realization of this project.

Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT. Before I introduce Senator Byrd, I'd like to ask Senator Jennings Randolph to please stand, and Congressmen Staggers and Nick Joe Rahall and Congressman Hutchinson-Is he here? [Applause] Thank you.

I might say that if all the citizens of our country who recognize the value of coal and the value of American employment were as enthusiastic as this group that I've just introduced, plus our Majority Leader, we wouldn't have any unemployment in the coal industry, and we would have long been much more, further along our way toward energy independence than we are now. I'm deeply grateful to all of you for what you have done in the past and are doing at the present time to give our Nation energy security leading towards a better future for us all.

Now, it's a great pleasure for me as President to introduce not only the Democratic Majority Leader of the Senate, but a true leader on a nonpartisan basis of our Nation. He is a man who has been in the forefront of the national energy policy development for many years, and he early recognized, along with his colleagues from West Virginia, the value of coal and its role in history toward energy security for our country.

Over the last 20 years, he has made remarkable contributions to the coal industry-not only in West Virginia, but to our entire Nation. He was the original sponsor of the Coal Research Act of 1960, which established the Office of Coal Research under the Department of the Interior. In fact, he helped to obtain the first $1 million to fund coal research. I share his satisfaction at how far we have come.

And before he approaches the podium, I'd like to say that with the full cooperation and recommendation of the West Virginia delegation, I asked a couple of years ago, their Governor, Jay Rockefeller, to head up a commission to study the opportunities for the further use of coal in our Nation. The Governor, the congressional delegation of West Virginia, are to be congratulated on all the fine work they've done to make this possible.

And now I would like to ask the leader in our Senate and a leader in the coal promotion industry and a leader in the evolution of our Nation's energy policy to come say a few words. Representing West Virginia and our country and the Congress—Senator Robert Byrd.

SENATOR BYRD. Mr. President, Governor Rockefeller, distinguished Ambassadors, members of the House delegation from West Virginia, my senior colleague, Jennings Randolph, ladies and gentlemen:

We have worked a long time to see this day arrive, and I wish to express my gratitude and the gratitude of the delegation from the State of West Virginia and the people of West Virginia, if I may, to the distinguished representatives of Japan and Germany who are joining with this country in this important project development. The fact that they are becoming partners with us in this project indicates that this problem of energy is a world problem, and I hope that this event today marks only the beginning of this partnership which will allow the free world to achieve energy independence.

We are, Mr. President, as it were, entering into a new energy era. And in essence, we're looking backward into the past to find our energy future, because it was coal that allowed our forefathers to launch the power and the might that became the Industrial Revolution. And it was coal that fueled the growth of America. And coal has been the basis of the industrial strength of this country from which has flowed the overall might and power of America.

The technological wizardry which will enable, through this project, the flowing of millions of barrels of synthetic fuels into the energy pipeline of this country, is going to make for human betterment. It will allow the American people to control their energy destiny and, as the Ambassador from the Federal Republic of Germany said, it will be symbolic of the determination on the part of these countries to deal with our energy problems as the world's innovative leaders. And as innovators, we must recognize that in order to make a better world we must dare to try the untried and dare to attempt the new.

Brooks Atkinson, the drama critic, focused on the spirit of America when he said that there has been a calculated risk in every stage of American development. This Nation was built by men who took risks: pioneers who were not afraid of the future, scientists who were not afraid of the truth, thinkers who were not afraid of progress, and dreamers who were not afraid of action.

Mr. President, this is the spirit in which we have joined together in signing this agreement today, and it is a proud moment. May I say, on behalf of Governor Rockefeller, who has done an extraordinary job in heading up the President's Coal Commission about which the President spoke, and on behalf of Jennings Randolph, who has done an extraordinary job in serving on that commission, and on behalf of Mr. Staggers and the others, it is a proud moment for us, a proud moment for West Virginia, and a proud moment for our country.

THE PRESIDENT. Before we adjourn, I'd like to ask, first of all, Ambassador Peter Hermes to stand and let us express our appreciation to the Federal Republic of Germany, to him personally, by a round of applause. [Applause]

And Ambassador Okawara from Japan, we are deeply grateful to you and to the people of your great country. [Applause] Now let's all go to work.

Note: The President spoke at 9:32 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

Jimmy Carter, International Solvent Refined Coal II Agreement Remarks on Signing the Agreement. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251401

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