Energy Secretary Charles W. Duncan has appealed to Congress to exclude President Cater's proposed multibillion-dollar energy security corporation and energy mobilization board from most of the laws and regulations Congress has passed to control the federal bureaucracy.
He specifically urged that the energy security corporation be exempted from sunshine rules that keep government proceedings open to the public, the Freedom of Information Act, and the recently enacted government ethics act, which places limits on so-called "revolving-door" employment and related conflict-of-interest issues.
"If you don't have an energy security corporation and energy mobilization board organized outside the bureaucracy, we won't have synfuels," Duncan told the Senate Government Afairs Committee at an oversight hearing on Thursday.
The corporation would be financed by the proposed "windfall profits" tax on oil and stimulate a multibillion-dollar synthetic fuels industry. The board, also proposed last July, is designed to reduce licensing delays and override some regulations.
When the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee held hearings 2 1/2 years ago, senators and the administration witnessess argued the Department of Energy was necessary to centralize energy decision making, and cut down on overlapping regulations. But in part, proposals for the two new energy agencies are an outcome of congressional and presidential frustrations with DOE.
"It has become conventional wisdom that DOE is unweildly and chaotic," Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) said, adding, "Its baisc competence has been questioned."
Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-Mo.) assailed DOE's forcasts on the effects of decontrolling oil prices, sayng, "Why are they so abysmally wrong?"
And Sen. Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.) called on Duncan to "get the oil companies to work for consumers."
Duncan, a former deputy secretary of denfense and Coca-Cola executive, responded to the committee detailing a recent reorganization for DOE's staff of 19,500. Duncan's management efforts, which have won high marks in some administration councils, is the fifth energy reorganization in the last six years.
"A lot of problems attributed to the DOE are regulatory which the department has no control over," the secretary said.