The Carter administration plans to come back to Congress for more energy legislation next year as soon as its embattled energy package is cleared, a senior administration official said yesterday.
John F. O'Leary, the deputy secretary of the Department of Energy, told a group of reporters: "Congress will have to get used to the idea of dealing with energy legislation every year, just like it did civil rights or environmental legislation a few years ago."
O'Leary said the emphasis in the new energy legislation would be on production incentives, rather than the conservation measures that are at the heart of the bills stranded in a House-Senate conference committee by last week's congressional adjournment.
Like other administration spokesmen, O'Leary professed confidence that the deadlock over natural gas regulation will be broken and the package of five bills passed soon after Congress returns in January.
But O'Leary said that even if the package were passed in the most "optimistic" form imaginable, "this bill is half a best" of what the energy situation needs.
The No. 2 man at the Energy Department said he preferred to keep some elements of the new energy program secret for now, because he did not want them to interfere with negotiations to break the current energy legislation impasse.
But he said two "publicly discussed" elements would involve efforts to speed up the siting and construction of nuclear power plants and to provide incentives for further pumping of existing oil fields.
The nuclear bill has been under active consideration in the administration since last June and was promised by Energy Secretary James R. Schlesinger in September.But O'Leary said "it's everybody's business" inside the administration and did not venture a [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
The purpose of the bill is to streamline the licensing procedure to reduce the lead time on construction of nuclear power plants. It would require standardized designs and prevent repeated court challenges after a site and design had been "fully adjudicated" once, O'Leary said.
The oil bill would provide financial incentives for "tertiary recovery" from known fields. At present, O'Leary said, primary and secondary pumping yields only 30 per cent of the estimated total resources in a typical reservoir. Going back to those fields with steam pressure or other pumping techniques might yield another 10 per cent.
But such "tertiary" recovery methods are expensive, and companies need added incentives to use them. O'Leary was not specific on what kind of incentives the adminstration is contemplating.