The Senate Energy Committee indicated by its votes and discussion yesterday that it will go slower than President Carter wants in cutting red tape and providing aid to produce synthetic substitutes for foreign oil.
The committee gave general approval to a staff memorandum which laid out a proposal for reaching Carter's goal of producing 2.5 million barrels a day of synfuel by 1995 instead of the president's target of 1990.
The staff proposed a two-stage program. It would state slowly with the government helping develop at least one synfuel plant for each process, such as extracting oil from shale and coverting coal to oil or gas. After congressional review of this first stage, the program could be stepped up to reach the level of the president's proposed $88 billion in spending.
Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), said it made no sense for the government to help build more than one prototype plant for each process until it is provnn feasible. Chairman Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.), who so far has supported federal support only for demonstration plants added: "We shouldn't go off the deep end."
The committee directed the staff to draft a bill along these lines, but it still must fill in many details, and the whole concept could change before a bill is reported to the Senate.
Earlier, the committee made several basic decisions on the bill to cut red tape and put synfuel and other energy projects on a "fast track" to get them into production as quickly as possible. All are subject to reconsideration.
The main issue in both the House and Senate is how much muscle the federal government should use to get past state and local laws that stand in the way of fast action.
By a tie vote of 7 to 7, the committee rejected a proposal that would permit the overriding of certain substantive state and local laws after review by president and congress.
Instead, the committee voted 9 to 5 to have the Federal Mobilization Board, which the bill creates, try to negotiate with state or local authorities to fix deadlines for their action on granting permits needed to build projects. If they can't reach agreement, the board would set a deadline which would have to be approved by both houses of Congress before it could take effect.