Clipped From The Salina Journal
Simmons of on of ' the is as publicized Warnings ignored Claims bureaucrats could have corrected oil crisis ByJOHNFIALKA (C) 1973 Washington Star-News WASHINGTON -- Government officials who dictated federal oil policy missed 3 opportunities to correct a growing shortage in the United States oil supply system that loomed long before the Arab oil cutoff, a Senate investigator charged Thursday. Lavern J. Duffy, a lawyer for the Senate P e r m a n e n t S u b c o m m i t t e e o n I n - vestigations, charged that federal officials could have moved to prevent last Winter's fuel shortage and this Summer's gasoline shortage. : Instead, Duffy asserted, key officials with .little background in oil matters found them- 1 selves diverted by other matters and lower echelon bureaucrats with knowledge about the growing problem found their reports ignored. - .:Â·Â· "This'iis a classic case of a bureaucracy setting a course of action not in response to the nation's needs but to secure its own comfort," Duffy said in testimony prepared for the subcommittee, a unit of the Senate Government Operations committee.. Duffy was the leadoff witness at hearings to determine why the nation was headed for a shortage of as much as 400,000 barrels of oil each day this Winter even before the Arab states blocked oil shipments in mid- October. Duffy said Philip L. Essley jr., a researcher and experienced petroleum engineer with the now-disbanded office of emer-'Â·'. gency planning, produced a study in August!1971 that correctly predicted U.S. oil pro-" duction would peak in 1972. ':' The Essley report, which could have; prompted the government to make a major change in a program which restricted oil- imports, was "ignored" by his superiors at OEP, who, although charged with watching Â· oil matters, were busy trying to implement the President's wage-price freeze, Duffy- said. ':'. By April of 1972, six months after Essley's : prediction, other OEP officials had begun to Â· worry about the problem, but their efforts Â· were handicapped by what Essley described in a memorandum as a faulty federal sys- Â· tern for making supply predictions. . . Â·'Â·Â·Â· The results, according to Duffy's testi-?: mony, was that the decisions to loosen and. finally abandon the restrictions on oil im-' ports were delayed for months. The pro-, gram had pegged allowable imports at 12.2 percent of domestic production. Both OEP's director, Gen. George Lincoln, and the man who acted as his superior, Presidential aide Peter Flanigan, opposed early moves which might have eased the oil supply situation in 1972, according to Duffy t I'A' ~!