Following are excerpts from President Carter's address yesterday to the National Association of Countries.
Last night, I spoke to you about the deep wounds our society has suffered and about my absolute conviction that we have the power and the will to heal these wounds and to restore the unity and confidence of America.
I promised last night to keep on discussing our nation's most serious problems with Americans and I also promised to keep on acting with the people to tackle these problems, and today I've come to Kansas City to meet with you to do both - to discuss the energy problem and to get you to help me succeed.
I want to know: Will you help me succeed? . . .
There are no easy answers. That is why I will continue to explore new ideas. And I will open new fronts and I will develop new points of attack. That is why I will seek more and more Americans - allies - to join me in this fight for our energy security . . .
The underlying cause of the energy crisis, the energy problem, the energy challenge, the energy opportunity, is the same as it has been for many years, a massive dangerous, growing dependence on oil and particularly our dependence - excessive dependence - on imported oil.
A generation ago, we sent more oil out of the country than we brought in. Now we import almost half the oil we use, and after the latest price increase, the price we pay OPEC for our oil has almost doubled in the last seven months.
With the government shakeup in distant Iran last winter, we lost, in imports, about 100 million barrels of oil. The gasoline lines are directly related to this particular vulnerability. So are the diesel fuel shortages among our farmers and among our truckers, and so are the present low home heating oil stocks as we face next winter . . .
Let me start by making clear what our priorities for using the present oil supplies are right now.
My first priority as president is to protect the lives and the well-being of all Americans. Therefore, our emergency services such as police, fire and health must be maintained. So must the essentials of food and shelter . . .
We will distribute limited supplies of gasoline fairly and equitably among the motorists of this country. There are things we can do to manage the current shortage of energy. We can do it better, and we will get this done.
We are pressing the refineries, for instance, to increase their production of fuel and heating oil. As a byproduct, this will also produce more gasoline as well. We are requiring the oil industry to cooperate.
If they do not cooperate voluntarily, we will not hesitate to use the authority that I have require the oil companies to meet the basic energy needs of our nation. The oil companies must cooperate.
I have ordered almost 200 auditors into the field to insure that the nation's refiners comply with the law and another 400 will be sent to monitor fuel jobbers and dealers.
At my direction, the Department of Justice and the Department of Energy are jointly investigating the oil companies to see if the current shortage involves any improper or illegal activity.
We will bring the full force of the law to bear on those who profiteer from our national shortage or who try to cheat the American public.
We now have an independent accounting firm checking on the effectiveness of the new Department of Energy in verifying oil industry data. It's very difficult to get accurate information, but I want to make sure that the information that is achieved by us and is distributed to the American people is absolutely accurate.
I'm ordering the Energy Information Administration, which is an independent group, to send its weekly report to our news media throughout the country telling what are our present energy supplies that week.
I would like the interested American public, individual citizens like you, to be just as familiar with the energy situation as you are with local weather reports . . .
In the short term, we will simply have to stretch out a limited supply - we will have to play a kind of shuffling game, allocating limited supplies of oil among our farmers, our truckers, our homeowners, industry and also, of course, among motorists.
This will have to go on until our long-term efforts start paying off. Therefore, I urge the Congress to give me power to set mandatory, state-by-state conservation goals and to impose mandatory conservation if a state fails to meet its target.
I want to give local and state officials authority first and hope that all of you and all governors will carry out this responsibility. If you do not, then I will act from Washington as president.
Congress must also act, finally, to give me authority to develop a standby gasoline rationing plan. It is absolutely crucial for us to arm ourselves against the possibility of further serious interruptions in our energy supplies.
We never know when we might lose a major portion of our oil imports. If this happens, a gasoline rationing plan will help us distribute it, distribute those limited supplies fairly. But I want to now mention the most important thing of all.
Every single American must stop wasting energy.
These are some of the things that we can do to defend ourselves in the immediate crisis . . .
Now I'm going to mention one of the biggest figures you ever heard. Overall, we are going to take the unparalleled peacetime commitment, and investment of $140 billion for American energy security so that never again will our nation's independence be hostage to foreign oil.
Where is the money coming from? All of this investment of federal funds must come from the windfall profits tax on the oil industry which I have proposed to the Congress.
It's now more critical than it ever was that Congress swiftly pass a strong, permanent windfall profits tax, and I want each of you as county leaders and all Americans who hear my voice to bring your full power to bear to make sure that Congress acts to give the American people the financial weapons to win the energy war . . .
Let me brief you now on some of the new points of attack. Each year, I will set targets for the amount of foreign oil we import. I am today announcing a quota for this year, 1979, which will hold U.S. imports to 8.2 million barrels per day, 300,000 below the ceilings we set at the Tokyo summit and 400,000 barrels per day below what we used in 1977 - and we will meet this goal.
The Energy Security Corp. that I proposed last night to produce American energy from new sources will not be - will not be - just another federal agency.
It will be outside the federal government, outside the federal bureaucracy, free to use its independent business judgment in order to produce enough alternate energy sources to meet its 10-year target of reducing our imports by 2 1/2 million barrels of oil per day.
I am announcing new incentives of the production of heavy oil, oil shale and hard-to-get-at natural gas, all of which this country has in great abundance.
To make certain that energy projects such as critical pipelines, port facilities, production plants are built, a new Energy Mobilization Board will slash through red tape and bureaucratic obstacles and will set absolute deadlines for action at the federal, state and local level . . .
I want to make energy goals as compelling to every homeowner and every renter as for business and industry. Utilities must shift from oil to coal, but I'm also proposing to Congress a unique new program to require gas and electric utility companies to provide low-cost loans to their customers, the homeowners of America, to finance conservation improvements, repayable only at the time of sale of the home.
I'm proposing another program that will offer incentives to convert homes that are now oil-heated to natural gas and to help oil-heated homes which cannot convert with conservation.
I've earmarked $16.5 billion in new funds for the next 10 years to improve buses, subways and other mass transit and to build more fuel-efficient automobiles.
Recognizing that low-income families have been haredest hit by OPEC price increases and rising energy costs in general, I'm proposing to triple the size of the assistance program which I recommended to Congress on April the 5th. This will also be paid for out of the windfall profits tax, which Congress is already considering.In addition, we will be expanding the weatherization program to improve homes and to make them more efficient in conserving energy.
I want to explain one thing very clearly because misinformation is being spread among the American people and I want you to listen to this.
We are working very closely with Mexico and Canada. The total quantity of production and export of oil and gas from Mexico is obviously a decision to be made by the people and the government of Mexico. But we now purchase more than 80 percent of all the oil exported by Mexico. More than 80 percent. We are now negotiating a new agreement to purchase the natural gas which Mexico will be willing to export . . .
One major project will be the new pipeline to be built from Alaska through Canada to bring natural gas to the lower 48 states. By 1985, Alaska and Canadian natural gas can displace almost 700,000 barrels of imported oil per day. The North Slope producers have dragged their feet in helping to finance a pipeline needed to bring that gas to market. I've instructed the secretary of energy to call them in and get them going and I will insist personally that this gas pipeline be built without further delay . . .
This nation will need to rely on a broad range of energy sources . . .
In June I set an ambitious but important goal for meeting 20 percent of the nation's energy needs from the sun by the year 2000. With steeply rising OPEC prices and greater supply uncertainties, attainment of this goal is more important than it ever was . . .
The actions that I've already taken with Congress the last two years will reduce our projected imports of foreign oil by 4 million barrels per day. The new actions I've described for you last night and today will save us an additional 4 1/2 million barrels of oil - foreign oil - a day below what we're presently consuming, by the year 1990 . . .
As a people, as a nation, let us join together in our struggle to secure our nation's energy independence with all the fullness that we have in our great nation and our will to live in freedom.
We must fight together for our nation and together with our renewed dedication and our renewed faith in America, we will again as Americans, joined together, lead our nation to victory.