President Carter yesterday added 14 water projects to the list of those the administrations may seek to kill, but told Congress that 307 other on-going projects have passed an administration review and will be allowed to continue.
The White House also announced that three projects that were among an original list of 19 targeted for possible extinction have been taken off the so-called 'hit list' because it is too early in their development for an accurate review of their costs and benefits.
In another development, Carter asked Congress to appropriate $844 million for federal grants and loans to relieve the drought-stricken Plains and Western states.
The 14 new water projects the President ordered reviewed, coupled with the remaining 16 from the original list, means that the administration is studying the possibility of ending funding for 30 of the 337 authorized Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclaimation water projects in the country.
The reaction of Capitol Hill to the 14 new projects to be reviewed was calm compared with the storm that greeted Carter's announcement of the original list of 19 water projects.
A Senate aide said this was probably because most of the 14 were on previously circulated but unofficial lists of possible targets and because - unlike in the case of the original 19 - the White House was careful to notify the senators and representatives from each of the affected areas before the official announcement.
Moreover, the aide said, the attitude in Congress now is to let Carter have his review of the projects and to be comforted by the knowledge that in the end it will be Congress, not the White House, that decides on appropriations for these and other public works by ventures.
"Congress isn't going to de-authorize any of the projects whether the White House wants it or not," he said. ". . . I don't think he (Carter) has a chance in hell of winning his pledge to balance the federal budget by the end of his term, called last month for the deletion of funding for the first 19 projects on the grounds that they failed to meet various environmental, econimic and safety criteria of the new administration.
He said the new criteria would also be applied to all other water projects, and more than one since then has promised to take his case, "to the people" should Congress resist the cuts.
Yesterday, however, the White House announced that all but 30 of the 337 projects have been approved under the new standards. Presidential press secretary Jody Powell said he could not promise that the approved projects would never again be reviewed but that there are no plans to do so.
The two largest projects among the 14 that have been added to the review list are the $1.4 billion Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway in Alabama and Mississippi and the $905 million Red River Waterway in Louisiana.
Thses are of particular interest to two of the Senate's most powerful members, Armed Services Committee Chairman John C. Stennis (D-Miss.) and Finance Committee Chairman Russell B. Long (D-La.) But the reaction from their offices was mild. An aide said Stenis had no particular reaction, while a spokesman quoted Long as saying he is confident a "fair study and fair evaluation" will show the Red River project to be justified.
The three projects that were removed from the list of funding targets were the Dickey Lincoln School Lakes project in Maine, the Freeport project in Illinois and the Paintsville Lake project in Kentucky. The latter is in the district of House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Carl D. Perkins (D-Ky.)
The drought relief proposals were announced at the White House by Interior Secretary Cecil D. Andrus and Agriculture Secretary Bob Bergland. The legislation would provide $150 million in grants and $300 million in loans to communities for emergency water system improvements, plus other loan funds for farmers, small businessmen and to purchase water.
In other actions yesterday, Carter announced that he will appoint Michael Pertschuk, the chief counsel of the Senate Commerce Committee, to be chairman of the Federal Trade Commision, and Robert Carswell, a New York lawyer, to be deputy secretary of treasury.