An article in Tuesday's Washington Post should have said that Gov. Edwin W. Edwards (D-La.) rather than Gov. James B. Edwards (R-S.C.) criticized environmentalists for purportedly blocking energy production.
The one guaranteed applause-getter at the National Governors' Conference yesterday was theme that would have received only scattered handclaps a few years ago: denuniciation of the environmental movement and all its works.
In past years governors have talked lustily about "environmental preservation" and "conserving our natural resources." Yesterday the governors signaled the new mood of their constituents by favoring energy production and jobs to aid economies damaged by drought and the severe winter.
Gov. James B. Edwards of South Carolina set the tone for a new meeting with Carter administration officials when he denounced a decision by a New York judge "who doesn't know a dipstick from a drillpepe" that delayed awarding of oil drilling leases on the Eastern continental shelf.
Edwards is a member of a diminishing breed of governors who are Republican and conservative. But many other governors of both parties were on the same wavelength on this second day of the annual midwinter governors conference here.
Montana Gov. Thomas L. Judge complained that Washington state had benefited fro m electric generation that did environmental danage to Montano but wouldn't provide needed oil because of concern about unloading tankers in Puget Sound.
Washington Gov. Dixy Lee Ray (D) said this was because environmentalists had taken the tanker issue to court. The 62-year-old former Atomic Energy Commission chairman also blomed environmentalists for blocking modern methods for storing nuclear wastes.
Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe Jr. (D) agreed with Edwards about environmentalist obstruction and warned that the United States lacked the oil to "protect ourselves" in a military emergency.
Even Florida Gov. Reubin Askew (D), chairman of the governors unit and an avowed environmentalist, said it was important to balance environmental questions with economic ones as the nation sought to recover from weather-induced calamities.
At times yesterday it seemed that the governors held environmentalists responsible for everything from the Western drought to the Eastern winter.
"Every time people start to produce, somebody stops them," Edwards said. "Environmental concerns have brought us in large part to where we are today."
Not all the governors agreed. Oregon's Robert W. Straub (D), with a glance at Edwards, criticized the "Neanderthals on both sides" and said that the energy shortage should not be used as an excuse to "trample on environmental concerns."
But the dominant mood was one of full speed ahead on energy production. This was the central message of Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who called for a coordinated federal-state energy policy.
"The mood in this town and in Congress is to move on energy," Jackson said. "And all of us who have been in politics know that timing is everything."
The Carter administration responded to the governors' concerns by saying, in effect, that it was possible for the nation to have its energy and environment, too.