President Reagan yesterday nominated undersecretaries of interior and housing and urban development, filled two top posts in his Office of Management and Budget, and prepared to announce that he is taking the remaining federal price controls off U.S. crude oil.
The oil controls are scheduled to phase out by Sept. 30 anyway; only about 20 percent of U.S. oil is still subject to price limitations. Reagan's decision to speed up decontrol -- which will mean price increases -- was to be announced yesterday, but the White House press office decided to hold up most announcements so they would not become lost in the crush of the White House reception for the freed hostages.
Donald I. Hovde, a Wisconsin real estate executive, was nominated to the second-ranking post at HUD, and Donald T. Hodel, an Oregon consultant who is a former administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration, is the president's choice to be under-secretary of interior.
An aide to OMB director-designate David A. Stockman, Donald W. Moran, was appointed director of health and human services in OMB.
Moran, Stockman's legislative aide in the House of Representatives, is a former director of an employment and training organization where he directed operations of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act programs in south central Michigan.
William Gene Lesher was appointed director of economics, policy analysis and budget at OMB. Lesher has been the chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee and earlier was an assistant to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). He is a former professor of agricultural economics at Cornell University.
Reagan also announced his intention to nominate W. Dennis Thomas as assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Treasury Department.
Thomas has been the administrative assistant to Sen. William V. Roth (R-Del.) since 1976. Earlier, Thomas was administrative assistant to Sen. J. Glenn Beall (R-Md.).
Interior's Hodel, 45, is a regulatory revisionist much like Secretary James Watt. A Portland, Ore., attorney and product of Harvard University and the University of Oregon, Hodel was Ronald Reagan's 1968 presidential campaign manager in Oregon, then was chosen in the Nixon administration to be deputy director of the Bonneville Power Authority in Portland.
His main Washington contact then was Watt, who was Interior's deputy assistant secretary in charge of water and power agencies. As administrator of the power agency he was known as a strong supporter of faster energy plant construction. A coalition of environmentalist groups demanded his ouster in 1976, saying it would be a "litmus test" of Jimmy Carter's policies, but Hodel stayed at Bonneville until the new Department of Energy absorbed his job. He has since been in private consulting.
"He rallied anti-environmental sentiment and was very close to the power industry. He was very controversial," said Jim Blomquist, northwest representative of the Sierra Club. In a July 1975 speech in Portland, Hodel, like Watt, warned against "environmental extremists" he called "prophets of shortage: the anti-producers, the anti-achievers." The environmental movement, he said, had "fallen into the hands of a small, arrogant faction which is dedicated to bringing our society to a halt."
Hodel called in that speech, as Watt has done since, for "a new mechanism for balancing energy needs and environmental concerns."
Stockman, meanwhile, was confirmed 93 to 0 yesterday in one of two unanimous Senate votes on Reagan adminstration officials; in the other vote, William Casey was approved, 95 to 0, to head the CIA. Only Labor Secretary-designate Raymond Donovan and Jeane Kirkpatrick, chosen to be U.N. ambassador, remain to be confirmed among Reagan's 17 Cabinet and Cabinet-level nominees.