In a new blast at "special interests," administration officials warned again yesterday that two major Alaska land bills pending in the House are "totally unacceptable."
And unless Congress makes sweeping changes in the legislation, they added, President Carter will continue in force his designation of 56 million acres of wilderness as federally protected national monuments.
With a House floor vote expected in a week or so, Interior Secretary Cecil D. Andrus and presidential adviser Stuart E. Eizenstat cautioned that the bills, as written, are inadequate.
"If Congress fials to act or if it passes a bill that tilts too far toward the special interests, the presidential administrative actions will continue," Eizenstat said at a briefing for reporters. "If there is not a responsible bill, we have a perfect right to keep the administrative actions in place."
Carter used his executive powers last December to protect the Alaska lands from development and exploitation after Congress fialed just before adjournment to pass a bill.
As Congress resumed debate over the issue, the conflict between oil and mining interests and conservationists intensified, with conservationists losing out in the House Interior and Merchant Marine and Fisheries committees.
By narrow margins, both committees adopted bills that provide far less land protection than the White House deems acceptable. The Interior version is championed by Rep. Jerry Huckaby (D-La.); the Merchant Marine version, by Rep. John B. Breaux (D.La.).
Andrus and Eizenstat said yesterday that the administration will support a compromise measure drawn up by Reps. Morris K. Udall (D-Ariz.) and John B. Anderson (R-Ill.). A bitter and close floor fight is expected.
The Udall-Anderson substitute does not go as far as the president's executive action, but Andrus said the administration wants a bill that will deal with "some other important ingredients."
"The president didn't relish creating the national monuments. We took that action to give Congress time to act . . But some people are now being stampeded in the name of energy development," Andrus said.
The interior secretary said the special interests pressuring Congress for passage of the Huckaby and Breaux bills are "the all-out-for-development-at-any-cost groups: oil and gas representatives, some mining and real estate interests . . . The rape, ruin and run boys, as I call them."