Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1977

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Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: September 13, 1977

Department of Energy
Remarks of the President and Secretary of Energy Schlesinger on the Activation of the Department.
September 13, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. Hi, everybody.

I’ve just signed an Executive order that will activate the new Department of Energy on October 1. Creation of this new Department fulfills a campaign pledge that I made more than a year ago.

The Department of Energy will be in operation less than 2 months after I signed the enabling legislation, although the law does allow up to 4 months for the Department to be formed.

This new Department is the first major result of our efforts to reorganize the Federal bureaucracy to serve the American people more efficiently. As we move into another winter season, we need to be able to deal with the possible emergency shortages in a unified way. This was certainly not the case this past winter, and the Nation suffered because of it. Activation of this Department will do this by letting us combine many different individuals and agencies into a single unit.

Today, also I submitted my own nominations for key positions in the Department of Energy to the Senate, and I will be submitting additional nominations very shortly.

The creation of a Department of Energy is an important step toward dealing with our energy problems. It will give a clearer direction and focus to your energy future by providing the framework for carrying out a comprehensive and balanced national energy plan. This will help the public and the private sectors as they work together to bring energy supply and demand back into balance, both now and in the years ahead. But simply creating a department will not solve our energy problems. We will never do that without a clear will in Government and among our people to end waste, to use energy more efficiently, and to look for practical new sources of energy.

It’s crucial that .all of us understand the magnitude of the problem that we face. This summer, in spite of wide, maximum publicity that I and others gave to the problem of overconsumption, gasoline consumption has risen to an all-time high. We imported more oil during the first 6 months of this year than ever before in the history of our Nation. And these problems will grow worse every day until we act to solve them.

Whether we succeed or fail will largely depend on the choices we make as individuals and on our own ability to adapt and to share for our common long-term good as a nation.

We also need new legislation which, along with the Department of Energy, will be the backbone of our comprehensive energy plan. The rapid progress to date of national energy legislation through the Congress, having already passed theHouse, reflects the determination on the part of both the Congress and this administration to end the years of delay in dealing with our energy problems. I hope that the Senate will complete its action as soon as possible on the balanced package of incentives and taxes in the national energy bill.

Cooperation between the administration and the congressional leadership has been essential to the progress of the bill so far. And I look forward to continued operation on this and other vital projects.

I met with the Senate leadership this morning for breakfast—Senator Byrd, Alan Cranston, Danny Inouye—plus Senator Long, who has responsibility for the tax aspects of the energy program, and Senator Jackson, who has responsibility for the conservation use elements of the energy plan.

I don’t underestimate the difficulty, politically speaking, of evolving a comprehensive program. The one that we put forward to the Congress is the one we stand behind. We’ve had no reason to modify our basic proposals. The House has adopted a substantial portion of the package that we put forward. I know that the difficult decisions are multitudinous that yet need to be made and that pressures from special interests will continue to be an obstacle. But I remain optimistic that a sound, workable energy policy for the United States will be a reality before this Congress goes home this year.

I wish Jim Schlesinger and all those who will be working with him the best of luck in the difficult job they face. With the help and support of the American people, we can move together into a new era of energy security.

Dr. Schlesinger and his assistants are here to brief you on the organizational structure of the new Department. This is a rate of progress that has truly made me proud. The evolution of the energy plan, the expeditious passage through the House, the progress that it’s made so far this week already in the Senate, and the evolution of major legislation to establish this Department has been at a rate that’s almost unprecedented.

And I believe that it’s because of his leadership and the urgent ’need of this legislation that’s made our success possible so far.

Jim, I am very grateful that you have made these accomplishments, and we stand together as partners for the future.

SECRETARY SCHLESINGER. Thank you very much, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Good luck to you.
SECRETARY SCHLESINGER. We have here, Mr. President, the seal of the Department of Energy. We know that you have many plans for reorganization. We don’t know whether this will be the only department that you create during your tenure, sir, but we trust that it will be the first. The coloring indicates that we will strike the appropriate balance between energy and environment, and we will keep the sky blue and the grass green.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Jim.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:05 p.m. in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building.

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Chicago: Jimmy Carter, "Department of Energy Remarks of the President and Secretary of Energy Schlesinger on the Activation of the Department.," Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1977 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1977 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2223 1583. Original Sources, accessed September 23, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CRCJA79P88E1TTR.

MLA: Carter, Jimmy. "Department of Energy Remarks of the President and Secretary of Energy Schlesinger on the Activation of the Department." Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1977, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1977 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2223, page 1583. Original Sources. 23 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CRCJA79P88E1TTR.

Harvard: Carter, J, 'Department of Energy Remarks of the President and Secretary of Energy Schlesinger on the Activation of the Department.' in Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1977. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1977 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.2223, pp.1583. Original Sources, retrieved 23 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CRCJA79P88E1TTR.