Proxy Candidates Clash Over Energy

Conservation, Oil Draw Sharp Debate

"Yes, America, there is an energy crisis," Jack Cole, a Boston journalist, lawyer and Anderson supporter, said last night, leading off the fourth of five tapings of the PBS T.V. series "The Advocates" at the Institute of Politics (IOP).

"Advocates" for each of the three major Presidential candidates took turns questioning "witnesses" for each candidate on the importance of conservation, the need for an oil tax, President Carter's handling of the emergency oil reserve and his creation of the Department of Energy.


Reagan would "dismantle the Energy Department and ask those 16,000 bureaucrats to go prospecting for oil," William Rusher, Reagan advocate and publisher of the National Review, told the IOP audience.

Reagan and Anderson supporters accused Carter of failing, despite two gluts on the oil market in four years, to establish adequate emergency fuel reserves in case of a crisis in the Persian Gulf. Stuart Eizenstat, President Carter's chief domestic advisor, said the U.S. is "as ready as it's ever been" for a crisis, and mentioned possible gas rationing or military response as alternatives.


Charles Nesson, associate dean of the Law School, and a Carter advocate, stressed Carter's "startling accomplishments" in energy policy, including his reduction of oil imports by 2 million barrels a day.

But Reagan witness and campaign advisor, Rep. David Stockman (R-Mich.), provoked hisses from the audience by saying the change had come wholly from new oil sources in Alaska "discovered when Jimmy Carter was still slinging mud in Georgia."