Palm Springs, Calif. — "The most important elections in the history of America are coming up in 1982 ," Interior Secretary James G. Watt told a meeting of Republican activists in Ronald Reagan's home state. "We have a mission in which we must succeed."
Monitor correspondent Sara Terry reports that Mr. Watt, making his first appearance here, told the Golden State Republicans that Republicans must win the 1982 elections to "ratify" the elections of 1980 -- just as it took the '34 elections to seal the change of direction signaled by the 1932 election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal policies.
Touching on his stewardship of 768 million acres of federal lands, Watt, whose policies have drawn the wrath of environmentalists, asserted there is no energy crisis. "We have enough coal to meet American's needs for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years," he said. "We have enough oil shale to meet america's needs for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. We have unlimited and unknown oil and gas reserves. We don't have a crisis of energy but a crisis of government officials who refuse to manage lands for the benefit of Americans.
"That's changed now because we've chased a liberal out of that department [ Interior]. The struggle is not for the environment but for the type of government we will have" for the future.