NEW YORK (Jul. 4)
Twelve major American Jewish organizations have joined in urging President Carter to increase efforts to reduce American dependency “on unstable Persian Gulf oil sources.” They called for greater conservation of oil and accelerating the use of alternate sources of energy in the United States and for increased oil explorations in the Western Hemisphere.
Their recommendations were made in a letter, signed by the heads of the 12 organizations, which is scheduled to be delivered to the White House tomorrow. The joint letter was drafted after a meeting May, 1 of the leaders of the organizations called by the American Jewish Committee, at which the organizations agreed to make energy a top priority on their agendas.
The signatories are: Richard Maass, president, A J Committee; Howard Squadron, president, American Jewish Congress; Nathan Perlmutter, national director, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; Jack Spitzer, president, B’nai B’rith; Bernice Tannenbaum, president, Hadassah; Nathan Goldberg, national commander, Jewish War Veterans; Shirley Leviton, president, National Council of Jewish Women; Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president, Union of American Hebrew Congregations; Simon Schwartz, president, United Synagogue of America; Ruth Eisenberg, national president. Women’s American ORT; Ivan Novick, president, Zionist Organization of America; Jacob Sheinkman, president, Jewish Labor Committee. All the groups, except ZOA, are members of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council which endorses the recommendations.
VULNERABILITY TO OPEC
The three-page letter stresses that “the unconscionable OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) price rise on June 28 underscores our belief that U.S. vulnerability to the OPEC cartel is a threat not only to national security, but to the maintenance of an independent U.S. foreign policy, and to world political and economic stability.”
The Jewish organizations note that voluntary efforts urged by the Carter Administration are not enough. “We hope, therefore, that the Administration and the Congress will enact equitable mandatory measures which will substantially reduce the excessive consumption of energy in our nation,” the letter said.
While praising the Administration’s steps to “fund research and development on alternative non-fossil energy sources,” the Jewish groups called for an effort with the “same priority given to the Manhattan Project (which developed the atomic bomb) and landing a man on the moon.”
The letter recommended the relaxing of environmental rules to allow increased use of coal, incentives for using natural gas and speeding up the release of federal lands for the development of all energy resources.
MEASURES TO COMBAT OPEC
Stressing that “the heart of U.S. energy policy is our policy concerning domestic and imported oil,” the letter said that any “windfall” tax on company profits should be accompanied by provisions ensuring that the companies invest their “increased profits” in developing energy supplies. “If there is to be deregulation of domestic oil prices, we believe it should be accompanied by more stringent government regulations of mechanisms for importing oil, and by stronger measures to combat OPEC’s price-setting power in international markets,” the letter declared.
“One important step would be to eliminate abuses of foreign tax credits for oil produced abroad by American companies, especially in OPEC countries.” The Jewish organizations said they supported “a quota on imports of foreign oil and the use of a sealed-bid mechanism to allocate the oil within the quota.” They said these measures should not apply to the Western Hemisphere where they recommended instead “an Energy Free Trade Zone.”
They also urged the U.S. to diversify its sources of imported oil and especially encourage exploration and development in the Western Hemisphere. “In this connection, we hope the forthcoming negotiations with Mexico will bring a mutually advantageous agreement on its sale of oil and gas to the U.S. “the letter said.
“We also support proposals calling for the U.S. to guarantee to purchase a portion of its oil needs from non-OPEC countries that require financial backing, as well as Western Hemisphere producers,” the letter continued.
“We urge greater U.S. support for the World Bank and other international financing of oil exploration in the LDCs (less developed countries) and the creation of an energy development facility within the Export-Import Bank of the United States, federal underwriting of risk insurance for exploration in less stable parts of the world, and U.S. aid for heavy oil exploration and processing outside the U.S. particularly the Western Hemisphere.”
MOST EFFECTIVE RESPONSE
The Jewish organizations stressed that “the single most effective response to OPEC … would be cooperative efforts by all oil consuming nations ….We are therefore encouraged by the steps taken at the Tokyo Summit (last week). We hope that the decisions reached there will lead to more comprehensive agreements to curtail world oil demand, to stabilize the market, and to increase international technological cooperation for the development of synthetic and alternative fuels. Certainly, the U.S. can and should, under your (Carter) leadership, continue to play a major role in encouraging such action.”