Following are excerpts from President Carter's energy message.
Our nation's energy problem is serious-and and it's getting worse. We are wasting too much energy, we are buying far too much oil from foreign countries, and we are not producing enough oil, gas or coal in the United States. To control energy price, production and distribution, the federal bureaucracy and red tape have become so complicated, it's almost uunbelievable. Energy prices are high and going higher, no matter what we do. The use of coal and solar energy, which are in plentiful supply, is lagging far behind their great potential. The recent accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania has demonstrated dramatically that we have other energy problems.
What can we do?
In order to minimize sudden economic shock, I have decided that phased decontrol of oil prices will begin on June 1 and continue at a fairly uniform rate over the next 28 months
We must impose a windfall profits tax on the oil companies to capture part of this money for the American people. This tax money will go into an Energy Security Fund, and will be used to protect low-income families from energy price increases, to build a more efficient mass transportation system, and to put American genius to work solving our long-range energy problems.
The energy crisis is real...the fundamental cause of our nation's energy crisis is petroleum. We are dangerously dependent on uncertain and expensive sources of foreign oil.
Since the 1973 embargo, oil production in the United States has actually dropped. Our imports have been growing. . .This year, we will pay out $50 billion for imported oil-about $650 for every household in the United State.
This growing dependence has left us dangerously exposed to sudden price rises and interruptions in supply. In 1973 and 1974, shipment of oil was embargoed and the price quadrupled almost overnight. In the last few months, the upheaval in Iran again cut world supplies of oil, and the OPEC cartel prices leaped up again.
These shocks have sent us stern warnings about energy, but our nation has not yet responded to these warnings. . .
There is no single answer. We must produce more. We must conserve more. And now we must join together in a great national effort to use American technology to give us energy security in the years ahead.
The most effective action we can take to encourage both conservation and production here at home is to stop rewarding those who import foreign oil and to stop encouraging waste by holding the price of American oil down far below its replacement or true value.
This is a painful step, and I'll give it to you straight: each one of us will have to use less oil and pay more for it. . .
Phased decontrol will gradually increase the price of petroleum products. In the short run it will add a small amount to our rate of inflation, but that is the cost we must pay to reduce our dependence on the foreign oil cartel.
In the longer run the actions I'm announcing tonight will help us to fight inflation. Other nations will join and support us as we cut down our use of oil and increase our own production of energy. The foreign oil cartel will then find it harder to raise prices. The dollar will grow stronger and the prices we pay for many imported goods will be less. This will strengthen our economy and reduce inflation in future years.
But decontrol could also further inflate the already large profits of oil companies. . .
That is why we must have a new windfall profits tax to recover the unearned billions of dollars, and to ensure that you-the American people-are treated fairly. . .
Congressional leaders, who share my belief that a windfall profits tax is necessary, warn me that we face two very real threats to these proposals.
First, as surely as the sun will rise, the oil companies can be expected to flight to keep the profits which they have not earned. Unless you speak out, they will have more influence on the Congress than you do.
Second, the inevitable scrambling by interest groups for a larger share of these revenues can leave the Congress divided, bogged down, and unable to act. Unless your voice is heard, once again the selfishness of a few will block action which is badly needed to help our entire nation. . .
Part of the proceeds of the windfall profits tax will go to help those among us who will be hurt most by rising energy prices.
I will also ask every state to pass laws protecting Americans from arbitrary cutoffs of heat for their homes.
We will channel the tens of millions of dollars we are already winning in lawsuits against oil companies for price gouging into further energy assistance for lower-income citizens.
For the sake of fairness, I will aks Congress to close foreign tax credit loopholes that now give unnecessary benefits to the major oil companies.
And, to ease short-run inflationary pressures, I will propose that existing fees and duties now applicable to imported crude oil and products be lifted temporarily . . .
In addition to producting more energy, we must conserve more energy. Conservation is our cheapest and cleanest energy source. It helps to control inflation, and every barrel of oil we save is a barrel we don't haveto import . . .
I ask each of you to take an important action on behalf of our nation. I ask you to drive 15 miles a week fewer than you do now. On way to do this is not to drive your own car to work every day. At least once a week take the bus, go by carpool-or, if you work close to home, walk . . .
As needed on a temporary basis, I may extend certain environmental deadlines and make regulatory changes to help avoid serious shortages of gasoline . . .
No in the next few minutes, I would like to talk about the third-and most promising-part of our battle for energy secuurity: shifting to more abundant sources of energy by the development and use of American technology.
We are already investing some $3.5 billion each year to develop the new energy supplies we will need for the future. But we must step up this effort . . .
That is why the Energy Security Fund-with the tax on windfall oul profits that will pay for it-is so vitally important. That is why every vote in Congress for this fund will be a vote for America's future-and every note against it will be a vote for excessive oil company profits and for reliance on the whims of the foreign oil cartel . . .
There are solar techniques that are economical right now. With existing tax credits and with our new Energy Security Fund, we can encourage even more rapid development and with our new Energy Security Fund, we will use solar energy in many other ways, including the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity. We already use this method for limited purposes such as in our space program, but scientific discoveries will be needed to make it more useful in our homes and factories.
The Energy Security Fund derived from the windfall profits tax will pay for these exciting new energy programs.
We Americans have met equal challenges in the past. Our nation has endured and prospered. Ours is a great country, and we have bountiful resources and technological genius.
We must recognize the urgency of this challenge-and we must work together to meet it Then we too will endure. We too will prosper. We too will prosper. We too will triumph.