Remarks on Signing a Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation To Abolish the Department of Energy and Reorganize the Federal Energy Structure

May 24, 1982

Good morning, and welcome. As you know, our administration has repeatedly expressed the intention to abolish the Department of Energy. Our goal was and remains increased energy independence for America. Through constant overregulation of energy producers and industries in the past, the Department of Energy shackled our drive to increase domestic production. Only as the heavy hand of government and government regulations has been lifted have our energy producers and consumers begun to reduce our dependence on imported oil.

The legislation that I'm sending to the Hill today will not dismantle the structure of government that we need to fulfill our energy goals. I am merging the critical defense, energy emergency, and research functions into the Department of Commerce. It will simply change the role of government from controlling the activities of energy industries to complementing them.

This legislation strengthens our commitment to a civilian-controlled nuclear weapons research and production program. It will also reinforce our commitment to a strong basic research program.

So, I'm pleased to be able to be here today with our committee chairmen from the Hill -- Senator Bill Roth, Jim McClure, John Tower, and Bob Packwood -- and Cabinet Secretaries Mac Baldrige and Jim Edwards, who all gave their time and their ideas and their effort to reach an agreement on this. And I'm hopeful that with their continued cooperation and skilled guidance, this legislation will move rapidly through the Congress.

[At this point, the President signed the message to the Congress.]

I think you should all know that the Secretary of Energy came here to do just what we're on our way to doing now. So, we can say just as soon as this is completed on the Hill -- he can say, ``mission accomplished.''

Note: The President spoke at 11:52 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.