A major bill to encourage development a new energy sources and lessen dependence on foreign oil won final approval by the House yesterday, 317 to 93, and was sent to the president to be signed into law.
This was the second of three big energy production or conservation bills President Carter sent Congress nearly a year ago. The first, already law, taxes some of the profits the oil industry is realizing from gradual removal of price controls from domestic crude oil.
The third bill, providing precedures for cutting red tape and getting new energy projects on line quickly may also win final congressional approval this week, though it has encountered some opposition from representatives of western states, who fear it may permit waiving of state laws protecting scarce water supplies.
The bill approved yesterday would create a corporation with an initial bankroll of $20 billion, which may be increased by $68 billion in a few years, to encourage by loan guarantees, purchase agreements and government production, if necessary, energy production, if necessary, energy projects not now economically feasible -- such as turning coal to gas and extracting oil from shale. The goil is to produce the equivalent of 2 million barrels of oil a day by 1992, slightly more than 10 percent of current consumption.
The bill also authorizes spending another $3 billion over the next five years to produce and conserve energy in other ways. There would be $1.4 billion to promote production of energy from farm, forest and urban wastes. A solar bank would be created and funded to subsidize loans for installing heating systems using energy from the Sun. The bill directs local utilities to help customers arrange loans to insulate their homes and provides grants to poor people for insulation.
The measure also directs the administration to resume building up the billion-barrel strategic petroleum reserve which Congress created for emergency use in case of a cutoff of foreign oil. The reserve now contains only 91 million barrels. The administration stopped building to reserve more than a year ago to persuade Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production after Iranian production was cut off.