A tentative settlement of the Senate stalemate over President Carters' energy bill ran into apparent trouble yesterday.
A senator who was expected to support the proposal, John Durkin (D-N.H.), said he may oppose it unless the Carter administration agrees to support an energy tax credit that he said would benefit New Englanders who heat their homes with oil.
Durkin acknowledged that such a more could torpedo efforts led by Energy Committee Chairman Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.) to end the three month impasse among the 17 senators on the Senate-House conference committee.
But he told reporters "you'd have to put me in the doubtful category now."
Without Durkin's support, Jackson would have eight expected firm votes - one short of what he needs.
Efforts by the conference to reach a compromise on the key issue of deregulating natural gas prices have been stymied since Dec. 2 because Senate conferees have been unable to agree among themselves.
They are scheduled to meet this afternoon to consider the Jackson proposal. It calls for exempting newly discovered gas from federal price regulation after Jan. 1, 1985, with a steady increase in the regulated price between now and then.
Durking said he wants the administration to announce its support for a provision in the Senate-passed energy tax bill that would give tax credits of up to $150 to help consumers pay their oil-heat bills.
The credit was added during Senate floor debate and is not contained in the House-passed energy taxlegislation supported by the administration.