Inside Report (3)

There is renewed interest in a US energy mobilization board. President Carter proposed such an agency, with powers to cut red tape and speed the development of important energy projects. But the idea died in Congress.

Some think it is still a good idea. They point to the Great Plains Coal Gasification Project in North Dakota, which would be the first commercial synfuels plant in the country. But construction -- delayed through legal challenges -- is four years behind schedule, and its cost has more than doubled.

One builder of synfuels plants says a mobilization board is still the missing link to faster development of such fuels. He predicts Congress and the Reagan administration will eventually recognize the need for such an agency, but worries that it migh t take another energy shortage to do it.

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