THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES: #4 ENERGY; REAGAN
Meeting US energy needs Ronald Reagan's sharpest disagreement with his opponents may be on energy policy. "The truth is," he says, "that America has an abundance of energy, but the policies of this [Carter] administration consistently discourage its discovery and production.
"The greatest hope for our energy future over the next several years lies in increased domestic production. Conservation can help in the short term, but it cannot permanently solve the problem of diminishing domestic oil and gas supplies. To boost domestric energy supplies, we must eliminate energy price controls, allocation formulas, and other existing restrictions which do little either to hold down prices or alleviate shortages. . . .
"The elimination of federal controls would increase domestic supplies by several hundred thousand barrels of oil per day. We should, at the same time, explore the many promising new sources of energy such as synthetic fuels and solar energy. We cannot, however, afford to place total reliance on unproven methods, though they may hold promise of a significant contribution to our energy supplies in the future."
He would cancel, reduce, or phase out the windfall profits tax on US oil companies.
One of the impediments to the efficient operation of the private energy com panies that Mr. Reagan sees is the Department of Energy. He was quoted numerous times to the effect that he would eliminate that department, but later said that some functions of the department might have to be preserved.
The Reagan position on nuclear power is reflected in the Republican platform: "We support accelerated use of nuclear energy through technologies that have been proven efficient and safe. . . . Nuclear power development requires sound plans for nuclear waste disposal. . . ." Protecting the environment
The keys to a sound environmental policy, Mr. Reagan says, are "balance" and "common sense." He adds that as governor of California he initiated mea sures resulting in cleaner air, purer water, and preservation of natural resources. Two examples cited are his blocking of a highway project that would have impinged on a wilderness area and the adding of "thousands of acres" to state parks and beaches during his administration.
He has been critical of the US Environmental Protection Agency for being "hasty" and placing unnecessary restrictions on industry. Although he has not said he would dismantle the agency, Reagan has made clear he would keep it on a tighter rein. The Republican platform proposes a "comprehensive program of regulatory reform, improved incentives, and revision of cumbersome and overly stringent Clean Air Act regulations."
The platform also says: "We strongly affirm that environmental protection must not become a cover for a 'no growth' policy and a shrinking economy. Our economy can continue to grow in an acceptable environment."
Mr. Reagan has not addressed the subject of controlling toxic chemical wastes. He has said that the further development of nuclear power, which he recommends, must be accompanied by proper safety precautions.
The GOP platform says: "Nuclear power development requires sound plans for nuclear waste disposal and storage and reprocessing of spent fuel. Tech nical solutions to these problem exist, and decisive federal action to choose and implement solutions is essential. . . . A Republican Congress and adminis tration will immediately begin to implement plans for regional away-from-reactor storage of spent fuel with the goal of implementation of a program no later than 1984. . . . Republicans will also move toward reprocessing of spent fuel." Water purity and distribution
From the Republican platform: "The conservation and development of the nation's water resources are vital requisites for rebuilding America's national strength. . . . The impending crisis in water could be far more serious than our energy problems unless we act now. A dynamic water policy, which addresses our national diversity in climate, geography, and patterns of land ownership . . . will be a priority of the Republican administration, working with . . . state and local interests.We must develop a partnership between the federal and state governments which will not destroy traditional state supremacy in water law. . . .
"Lack of such partnership has resulted in four years of bitter confrontation between the states and the . . . Democratic administration. The Congress has been frustrated in its efforts to conserve and develop our water resources. Working together, the states and the federal government can meet the impending water crisis through innovative and alternative approaches to such problems as cleaning our lakes and rivers, reducing toxic pollution, developing multiple-use projects, and achieving a workable balance between the many competing demands on our water resources." The wilds vs. development
Mr. Reagan has not directly addressed overall policy on wilderness preservation nor has he taken a specific stand on the Alaska lands bill. However, the Republican candidate's past statements indicate he feels that too much public land has been put off-limits to activities such as mining and timber harvesting.
Reagan has said: "The government owns such a vast amount of the United States and has now closed a vast amount of known mineral lands and possible sources of energy, and will not allow exploration or drilling or leasing for those things. This should be relaxed."
The Republican platform does not mention either wilderness or Alaska specifically. It does say: "Republicans condemn the Democrats' withdrawal of the most promising federal lands from prospective energy development, including the rich potential of our outer continental shelf . . . Republicans will move toward making available all suitable federal lands for multiple-use purposes, including exploration and production of energy." Transportation for tomorrow
From the Republican platform: "Present levels of public and private investment will not preserve the existing [transportation] system. . . . "Government overregulation is inhibiting the return on investment necessary to attract capital for further growth" of private transportation system. . . .The role of government must change from one of overbearing regulation to one of providing incentives for technological and innovative developments. . . .
"Many urban centers of our nation need dependable and affordable mass transit systems.The first line of responsibility must lie with the local governments. . . . The role of the federal government should be one of giving financial and technical support to local authorities, through surface transportation block grants. . . .
"It is essential to the well-being and security of our nation that an adequate rural transportation system be restored. . . . We pledge to eliminate those rules and regulations which restrict the free flow of commerce and trade of agricultural products and encourage . . . private development and improvement of all modes of transportation to move agricultural production swiftly, safely, and economically. . . .