The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says its position on the deregulation of natural gas and oil prices has been greatly misunderstood.
In fact, NAACP officials said Monday in Atlanta and yesterday in New York that the organization has no position at all on whether the federal government should place further controls on the prices of domestically produced gas and oil.
The NAACP's "clarification" seems to contradict its Jan. 9 energy policy statement, which said: "Those aspects of the (Carter administration energy) plan which would perpetuate price controls on newly discovered oil and natural gas and extend those controls to new areas appear to us to be incompatible with the need for new supply development."
That statement prompted protests from labor groups, liberals and other traditional NAACP allies, who regarded it as an endorsement of the oil industry's push for deregulation.
The NAACP energy statement was largely the work of black oil-industry officials, whose participation helped to fuel charges that the civil rights organization was going pro-industry at the expense of black consumers.
Monday, at the conclusion of its quarterly meeting in Atlanta, the NAACP board of directors issued the "clarification." The board said the NAACP had never supported price deregulation for natural gas and oil, and such an interpretation "apparently was a deliberate distortion of our views and priorities" by "some members of the media and others."
NAACP officials in New York said yesterday that the organization's Jan. 9 statement about oil and gas price controls had been taken out of context. The NAACP simply wanted to point out that President Carter's energy plan contained no provisions for increasing fuel production, that an energy crisis would cripple industry and, thus, worsen already acute black unemployment and underemployment.
The NAACP board said it deplored "the failure of some members of the media and others to focus any attention on these essential thrusts" in the Jan. 9 statement.
The New York Times reported yesterday that the NAACP directors issued their "clarification" despite "intense lobbying by energy interests."
However, an NAACP spokesman said yeaterday " there were no oil people lobbying the board" at its quarterly meeting, "nor has there been any intense lobbying of the NAACP at any other time" since the Jan. 9 statement. "Because of the flack we caught over that statement, we have just stayed away from the oil interests," the Spokesman said.