President Carter's energy plan and the number of minority appointments in the new Energy Department drew fire yesterday from black leaders.
Benjamin L. Hooks, executive director, and Margret B. Wilson, chairman of the board of the NAACP, said the Carter energy plan could result in unfair higher prices for the poor.
Wilson said that the administration's proposal to spur conservation through higher prices "might cripple forever the economic power of minority citizens."
The President's 113-section energy bill now in a Senate-House conference committee contains a proposed tax on crude oil to raise domestic prices to the world level over the next three years. Carter's plan called for a rebate of those taxes to consumers, but congressional leaders, led by Sen. Russell B. Long (D-La.), want some of the taxes given to energy producers.
Hooks and Wilson, however, endorsed Carter's energy goals of reducing foreign oil imports and the rate of growth in U.S. energy demand. They and other NAACP members gave Energy Secretary James R. Schlesinger Jr. a cordial reception be fore he addressed the NAACP's first energy conference.
Schlesinger told conference members that failure to reduce dependince on oil and natural gas may result in economic conditions in the 1980s that would have a severe impact on the poor, elderly and minorities.
The head of the new 20,000-member department defended Carter's plan, saying it is "equitable" and "fair" and said his department would fund training for blacks to take energy-related jobs in industry and government.
Hooks was critical of Carter's proposal to provide a tax credit for insulation, saying that building owners will get a tax credit while the poor will end up paying higher rent.
Carter and Schlesinger were also criticized for the number of blacks named to top Energy Department policymaking jobs - 1 in 20.
"Here we are with 11 per cent of the nation's population and only 1 per cent" of the entire Energy Department, Wilson said.
A department spokesmen said that Schlesinger has issued a strong statement in support of affirmative action and has stepped up efforts to recruit qualified blacks and other minorities.