Congressmen Praise Work by Watkins on Energy Policy

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SEATTLE (AP) - Conservation and new technology must be stressed in a national energy policy that also should take special note of the cost of energy alternatives, three present and former Northeast congressmen told U.S. Energy Secretary James Watkins on Monday.

U.S. Reps. Sid Morrison and John Miller and former U.S. Sen. Dan Evans praised Watkins for his efforts to develop a cohesive energy policy and for holding a series of hearings on the proposals.

Seattle is one of four venues for hearings on Watkins' proposed national energy strategy. Hearings were held earlier in Tulsa and Boise, Idaho, and the last will be in Louisville, Ky., on Sept 8.

The three Washington Republicans said the United States suffered from a lack of an overall energy policy during the Reagan years.

``Mr. Secretary, you inherited a mess,'' Morrison said.

The nation is laboring under ``a strange, often contradictory set of policies influencing our energy use and supplies,'' Morrison said.

Energy research and development seem only to respond to short-term crises rather than long-term needs and too often is driven by politics, Morrison said.

After the 1970s' oil embargoes a lot of money was spent on renewing energy sources, Morrison said. But in subsequent years administration budget requests for such research dropped to about 10 percent of earlier levels. …