Inside Report (4)

US oil industry leaders, nervous about the possibility of a cutoff of Mideast oil supplies within two or three years, have been pressuring both the Department of Energy in Washington and Western state governors to clear the way for the speedup of synthetic fuel programs.

The recent passage and imminent signing by President Carter of the act establishing a national "synfuels" program is welcome news to the oil moguls, but their immediate concern is that lack of water for processing oil shales and tar sands in the US West has kept the effort to tap these sources from making significant progress.

To obtain the needed water, Exxon and Atlantic Richfield officials have asked Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm to support a dam on the Yampa River, the last undammed tributary of the Colorado River system.

"We're under tremendous pressure to find the water for these projects," says Governor Lamm, who is strongly committed protecting his state's natural environment.m

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