A report released by the White House yeasterday clearing the oil industry of hoarding gasoline during the recent fuel shortage relied entirely on data supplied by the industry and included no independent audits, according to federal energy officials.
The report was presented as a summary of the findings of "the investigation of the activities of oil companies, as requested by the president." It was not, however, prepared by the Department of Energy's investigating arm, which had been assigned to conduct audits of gasoline pricing and allocations during this year's shortage, officials acknowledged.
DOE general counsel Lynn Coleman said that DOE officials preparing the report on what they repeatedly refer to as "the investigation" never actually left the Energy Department, and relied on information supplied by the American Petroleum Institute and other industry sources.
At the same time, in an interview, Coleman defended the report as an "intensive effort to analyze and display facts that ordinarily show up as numbers on a computer printout."
Though much of the information routinely released by DOE about the oil companies comes directly from them, President Carter, when he first requested the report in May, had called for a thorough investigation.
While the president had called for a complete probe, he released the DOE report yesterday despite these factors:
The entire DOE report is based on data compiled from February to May of this year and does not include what department officials described as the key shortage months of June and July. "May is the last month for which data is available," the report said.
The two most crucial audits of oil companies by DOE, dealing with gasoline pricing and allocations, have not yet been complete and are not expected to be ready for at least two weeks.
A report by an outside accounting firm that has been asked by DOE to try to determine the accuracy of the oil industry data is also not expected to be completed until the middle of the month.
The Department of Justice, which was ordered by Carter to join DOE in the investigation, had no role in writing the DOE report, a Justice Department official said yesterday.
Donald Kaplan, chief of the energy section of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, said that his department declined to use its subpoena power in preparing its own interim report for the president. He said the department instead relied on information from DOE, and on "vol-
While the statement went considerably beyond previous AFL-CIO energy proposals, it drew no dissents on the council, sources said.
Jim Flug, director of Energy Action, a Washington-based consumer group, praised it as a "major improvement" on what the administration is proposing.
Despite the AFL-CIO's differences with the Carter energy program, council leaders seemed to go out of their way to stress areas of agreement with the administration.
Avoiding bombastic Meany language, heir-apparent Kirkland declined to rate Carter's performance and appeared to blame Congress more than the administration for energy-policy shortcomings. He also said communications have improved since a peacemaking meeting between Carter and the AFL-CIO high command at the White House last winter.
Confirming common knowledge in labor circles, Kirkland said he will be a candidate for federation president when Meany retires, though he gave no clue as to when that might be. "I don't know of any first mate who doesn't want to be captain," said Kirkland, who comes out of the merchant marine union, "and I'm no exception."
He said Meany, suffering complications from a knee injry that has kept him in hospital or at home since late April, is getting stronger by the day and expects to return to work shortly, possibly late this week.
"He doesn't lead with his leg," said Kirkland, terming Meany "as clear, vigorous and foreceful as ever." He said Meany's decision about seeking reelection at the November convention will be reached "in his own good time...and the decision couldn't be in better hands."