Meeting US energy needs Mr. Carter says he is the first president to propose a comprehensive energy program for the United States. In submitting it to Congress in July 1979, he called the energy crisis "the moral equivalent of war." After two year, much of the Carter program has been enacted, including establishment of the US Department of Energy; various measures for encouraging conservation such as tax credits for businesses and homeowners and the mandatory 55 m.p.h. speed limit; phased decontrol of domestic oil and natural gas prices; a windfall-profits tax on oil companies; an Energy Mobilization Board to expedite energy projects; increased funding for solar-energy projects and gasohol production; and a program to step up synthetic fuels research and development.
Congress refused to set up an "Energy Security Corporation" proposed by Mr. Carter, and it canceled a 10 percent fee the President had placed on imported oil as a conservation and revenue-producing measure.
Says Carter: "The breadth of our energy program has not yet been adequately realized by the public. Although most of the investments in new energy technology would be from the private sector, the government contribution would exceed the sum total of the space program, the interstate highway system, and the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe."
He predicts the amount of coal used in the United States will be doubled by 1985 and tripled by 1995, without weakening environmental laws.
"Our position on nuclear power is clear," says Carter. "We believe that [it] is going to have to play a viable part in the energy production in the United States. We consider nuclear power to be a source of last resort. . . . To the extent that we can conserve energy in our country and provide alternative forms of energy, the dependence on nuclear power can be minimized." Protecting the environment
Carter has placed strong emphasis on enforcing the provisions of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and introduced measures of his own to protect the environment. Some environmentalists have been critical of concessions made in the face of the energy crisis, such as easing or postponing certain restrictions on burning coal and his backing of offshore oil drilling; but for the most part the Carter administration has been given high marks for environmental protection.
Although the President did not get as strong a strip-mining law from Congress as he had sought, the first federal standards were imposed on strip mines during his first term.
Carter has said: "I believe environmental protection is consistent with a sound economy. . . . If we ignore the care of our environment, the day will eventually come when our economy suffers for that neglect. . . . We know now that our planet is both fragile and finite, and that the decisions we make today will spell the difference between a polluted, unproductive, and enventually uninhabitable world and a world that can sustain itself and the creatures that live on it indefinitely."
Mr. Carter sent proposed legislation to Congress for a toxic waste "superfun." He also sent a message to Congress announcing a radioactive waste management program to achieve "safe storage and disposal of all forms of nuclear waste. . . . This effort must proceed regardless of future developments within the nuclear industry -- its future size, and resolution of specific fuel cycle and reactor design issues."
Carter ordered the Clinch River breeder reactor shut down, terming it "a technological dinosaur, . . . an assault on our attempts to control the spread of dangerous nuclear materials." Water purity and distribution
When Jimmy Carter became President in 1977 he was determined to end the congressional tradition of pork-barrel water projects. He made up what came to be known as a "hit list" of some 19 projects that he felt should not be funded. Environmentalists were not pleased that, ultimately, Mr. Carter accepted funding of nine of the projects on his list. But he had set a precedent and has continued to keep a watchful eye on the pork barrel.
The Carter water policy "recognizes the special needs of the West," according to the Democratic platform, and supports "a federal study, in partnership with the affected states, to explore possibilities and recommend alternatives relative to importation of water into arid and semi-arid states."
Carter's opposition to pork-barrel projects does not mean he fails to recognize a need for expansion of water transportation systems, valid hydroelectric projects, and other developments. The platform recognizes "the need to develop a truly national water program which responds to the needs of each region of our country . . . and recognizes the social effects of water projects." The winds vs. development
When legislation establishing the uses of public lands in Alaska became deadlocked, President Carter set aside some 113 million acres by executive order. This, in effect, protected the land until such time as the House and Senate can agree on an Alaska Lands Act.
"Preserving the priceless heritage of Alaska's natural resources is my own No. 1 environmental priority," says the President. "The proposals that we support . . . will close less than 10 percent of Alaska to sport hunting, allow for a timber program adequate to maintain jobs and provide for economic growth," and also "provide for energy security by permitting 100 percent of the offshore areas of Alaska to be open for exploration and 95 percent in promising land areas."
The Democratic platform says: "We must move decisively to protect our countryside and coastline from overdevelopment and mismanagement. Major efforts are now under way to solve such problems as disappearing farmland and development on our barrier islands." Transportation for tomorrow
The Carter administration has moved to eliminate unnecessary regulation of the trucking and airline industries, expanded the federal commitment to mass transit, and kept pressure on the auto industry to produce more-fuel-efficient cars.
The Democratic program for the next four years would include: relieving the railroads of some federal regulations governing rate setting while protecting bulk shippers dependent solely on rail transportation of their goods; ensuring that the railroads become an efficient alternate mode of transportation for individuals -- especially completing the high-speed rail service in the Northeast Corridor; strengthening mass transit systems in US urban areas by providing federal funds for maintenance and repair as well as for new equipment.
The Democratic platform pledges an "intensive review of the automobile industry's fundamental problems" and "prompt, effective action to help ameliorate those problems."
The platform also says the US "must develop a coherent, consistent, and responsive maritime policy which will encourage the development and maintenance of an American-flag ocean transportation system . . . capable of carrying a substantial portion of our international trade. . . . It also says "greater utilization of the private merchant marine by the Navy for its support functions."