With the campaign season fast approaching, the Interior Department has sent out the call for a little good news to punch up Secretary Donald Hodel's speeches.
According to a memo distributed to several division directors last month, Hodel has requested a list of "important environmental accomplishments" of the last six years. "We are not looking for any major quantifications or detail as far as numbers go -- just facts that we can point to in a general way," said the memo from acting assistant secretary James E. Cason.
The memo went to the directors of the Bureau of Land Management, the Office of Surface Mining and the Minerals Management Service -- which already has proved adept at gathering speech fodder.
In an address last month to the California Coastal Operators Group, Hodel came armed with a 21-page compendium of statistics, projections and quotes entitled " 'Gee Whiz!' Talking Points on Offshore Leasing."
Among the nuggets was a rebuttal of complaints that President Reagan missed an opportunity to conserve the equivalent of 1.3 billion barrels of oil when he vetoed an appliance efficiency bill last year. According to Hodel's fact book, those were "phantom" energy savings because appliances run on electricity.
By the department's calculations, savings from oil-generated power would have been about 4 million barrels a year, "probably less oil than was burned to run lights on Capitol Hill while Congress drafted, debated and passed the appliance-standards bill" -- which Reagan eventually signed. Dialogue and the PLO . . .
Prompted by a bill in Congress designed to close the two Palestine Liberation Organization missions in the United States, James Zogby, director of the Arab-American Institute, will announce today the formation of the Commission on American-Palestinian Relations. Zogby said the commission will work to defeat the legislation, which has 30 Senate sponsors and about 50 in the House, and will promote a national dialogue on Palestinian issues.
Commission members include the Rev. Benjamin Weir, a Presbyterian minister and former hostage, representatives from several Jewish organizations and former U.S. House members Paul Findley (D-Ill.) and Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.).
Zogby said he worries that with GOP presidential candidates Rep. Jack Kemp (N.Y.) and Sen. Robert J. Dole (Kan.) supporting the legislation, the Republican Party will be locked into the same "no dialogue" position as the Democrats.
"This is an effort to say a no-talk policy doesn't work," Zogby said. "If they close down the PLO information offices, we will open one of our own." An Ability With Funds . . .
Dole, who has raised more than $4 million to run for president, raised nearly $1 million in one evening recently to aid the disabled.
The fund-raiser was sponsored by the Dole Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpolitical foundation formed by Dole in 1983. Dole lost most of the use of his right arm and hand because of wounds in World War II.
At its second annual $1,000-a-person reception, the foundation honored International Business Machines Corp. for providing employment opportunities for the disabled in its offices and elsewhere through its computer products.Speaking of Charity . . .
Former chief justice Warren E. Burger has also been doing his bit for charity while storming around the country promoting the bicentennial of the Constitution. In the last six months, he's donated $100,000 in speaking fees to charity.
His favorite groups: the St. Paul Foundation in Minnesota, the Supreme Court Historical Society and the Foundation for the Commemoration of the U.S. Constitution.