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Natural Gas Legislation Remarks on the Congressional Conference Committee Report on the Legislation.

August 18, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. Good morning, everybody.

Last night the House and Senate conferees on the energy legislation reached agreement on one of the most difficult aspects of the entire energy package, and that is natural gas, ending a 30-year debate on this question. Now the conference reports will go to the House and Senate for further action.

This is a major step forward under the most difficult of circumstances, and I and everyone in our country owe the House and Senate conferees a debt of gratitude for their assistance and tenacity and their willingness to accommodate their own deeply felt personal and sectional interests in the best interests of our country.

This legislation, when passed, will give us a new national market, making available new supplies of natural gas which will be at a lower price than competitive foreign oil. The bill is specially designed to protect homeowners and small business leaders, small businesses.

It's also designed to give industry adequate supplies of natural gas at a good and competitive price. The bill encourages additional American production of natural gas, gives better prices in the future, and more sure prices in the future for those producers, at the same time protecting the interests of consumers.

We have been especially careful in natural gas legislation and the other elements of the overall energy package to protect the interests of the poor, the underprivileged, and those who don't have the flexible capability to accommodate changing prices.

The next step will be for the Senate to make a decision about the conference committee report. My hope and expectation is that the individual Members of the Senate will show the same deep interest, a willingness to be flexible, a willingness to accommodate the needs of our Nation, as have the conferees themselves.

There is no doubt that this legislation, when passed, will protect the security interests of our country. It will protect the energy interests of our country. It will help us to assure continued prosperity and jobs for the American people. It will help us to control inflation; it will also help us to have a more stable economy and to protect the integrity of the dollar overseas.

All these benefits that will come from this legislation when and if it is passed, I'm sure, will be an inspiration to the Members of the House and Senate to act expeditiously and positively on this very difficult and challenging but very important legislation.

Jim, are you prepared to answer questions?


THE PRESIDENT. Secretary Schlesinger, who's done a superb job in bringing together disparate opinions and working very continuously with legislation perhaps as complex as any that's ever faced the Congress, will now answer questions that you might have.

REPORTER. Did you have to make any promises to Rangel and Corman that we should know about to get them to sign?

THE PRESIDENT. That you need to know about?

Q. That we should know about. [Laughter] Did you have to promise them something?

THE PRESIDENT. No. The only thing they were interested in was that I would repeat for the Congress and for the American public my interests along with theirs to protect the interests of the poor and the underprivileged, not only in this particular legislation but in other aspects.

Q. But no deals?


Note: The President spoke at 11:35 a.m. to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House. Following his remarks, Secretary of Energy James R. Schlesinger held a news conference on the natural gas legislation.

Jimmy Carter, Natural Gas Legislation Remarks on the Congressional Conference Committee Report on the Legislation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248562

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