President Carter will make a televised address to the nation at 9 p.m. Thursday to discuss the energy shortage and how he plans to dealwith it, the White House said yesterday.
"I want a bold and a forceful program that under the scrutiny of the Congress and the public will be highly acceptable and that we can move without delay," Carter declared at one of a series of meetings yesterday with his energy advisers.
The president said the time is ripe for legislative proposals, including many that have gone nowhere. "I think now, unfortunately, the spot shortages of diesel fuel and other fuels in out country have aroused the public and the Congress so that they will take expeditious action," he said. .
The goal, as with earlier Carter energy proposals, will be to reduce oil imports. "Ever since 1977 when we came into office, we have been working to try to get the Congress to move on the establishment of a viable policy to deal with oil imports," Carter said.
White House press secretary Jody Powell said Carter "will discuss with the American people the short-term and the long-term energy crisis, the reasons for it, and the steps we will need to take to deal with it."
Powell said that Carter will not have made all the final decisions on the "major proposals" before the speech. The president will meet again this morning with his energy advisers to discuss those final decisions before departing for Camp David, Md., where he will work on the speech.
Powell declined to describe what kind of actions the president is considering, saying, "If the presidents presented proposals had been accepted, we would be in much better shape than we are now."
Other administration sources indicated that the speech would most likely be a repackaging of ealier Carter thrusts, and would include such items as a new appeal for standby gasoline-rationing authority and renewed support for an expanded effort to get a synthetic fuels industry going.
A major part of the speech may deal with new estimates of what revenues will be generated by the windfall profits tax on crude oil preduction that passed the House last week, and how those revenues should be used.
When he proposed the tax in April, Carter said the money should go into an energy security trust fund. As he opened a meeting in the Cabinet Room yesterday with, among others, Energy Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal, Office of Management and Budget Director James McIntrye and inflation adviser Alfred Kahn, Carter said the group was to recommend "how that fund might be expended to the maximum advantage of our nation, to become more independent of imported oil."
As he began an earlier meeting with representatives of nine agencies of government, Carter said he felt that this group, headed by presidential aide Jack Watson, "has done a very good job in the last week to alleviate concern as best we can" among independent truckers short of fuel.
"In addition," he said, "earlier we had a potential very serious shortage in the farming areas during planting time. . . . I think we've weathered that potential crisis in a very successful way through the cooperation of the governors and others.
"Most recently, we've had spot gasoline shortages and the lines have become very disturbing to all of us. I think we have made some progress on that to date, and I'd like to get a report," Carter continued.
"In the future, of coarse, we must prevent a crises from evolving when home heating fuels becomes necessary during the winter month's," he cautioned.