At the Sierra Club headquarters here Wednesday night, a small band of environmentalists crowded around the radio to listen to President Carter's energy program.
Afterward, Sierra Club director Brock Evans said yesterday, "We all looked at each other and shook our heads. The energy message sounded like we wrote it ourselves."
While they might have a few bones to pick here and there, environmentalists have largely embraced the administration's energy proposals.
"Courageous" was the word used by Thomas L. Kimball of the National Wildlife Federation. "We are especially pleased to see the emphasis on energy conservation, on protection of the environment and on the development of solar, wind and geothermal energy," he said.
"Far-reaching . . . revolutionary," was the praise from Jeffrey Knight, at Friends of the Earth. (Former Federal Energy Administrator( Frank Zarb is off his rocker to compare this with the Ford-Nixon program. Ford's program was meant to aid the energy industry. Carter's is meant to aid the American people," Knight said.
And at Environmental Action, another national lobby group, spokesman Dennis Bass said, "We were very pleased, especially with the conservation efforts, utility rate reform and the end to plutonium recycling and the breeder reactor."
However, Bass added, "There were some obvious omissions. He didn't talk about mass transit at all. he didn't talk about national deposit legislation. Energy used to make bottles and cans uses up a half per cent of all energy every year."
Bass and other environmentalists, including representatives of the National Resources Defense Council and the Clean Air Coalition, also expressed reservations about massive conversion of power plants from oil and gas to coal, but praised Carter for advocating strong strip-mining and clean air laws.
Although environmental groups have called for a moratorium on the building of conventional nuclear plants, while Carter would speed up their licensing, environmentalists had few objection to the new plan. "Carter qualified it as a last resort," Evans said, "and he is looking for a solution to the [radioactive] waste problem."