Carter sparks synfuels drive

President Carter signed into law Monday a $25 billion synthetic-fuels bill designed to cut national dependence on oil by launching an industry that produces energy from shale, coal, and other substances.

The bill, signed at a White House ceremony, aims to develop an industry capable of producing 2 million barrels of synthetic fuels a day by 1990. The law also requires the President to begin filling the nation's strategic petroleum reserve at a rate of 100,000 barrels a day by October.

The House gave the compromise bill final legislative approval Thursday amid lingering doubts that government and public money should give birth to a new industry.

The bill creates a federal agency, the Synthetic Fuels Corporation, to provide $20 billion for loans, loan gurantees, price supports, and joint participation with industry in synthetic-fuel development.

It earmarks $3 billion in subsidies for energy conservation and renewable energy investments, which will be given out by a new Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Bank.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.