In response to the JofC article "Romania Buys Cargo of U.S. Anthracite", Sept. 5, may I submit the the following clarifications:
While Romania is experiencing an energy shortage, it is not what could be called "drastic." There is no shortage of fuels that would alter the normal industrial functions of the country trucks, buses and cars travel as they would on normally lit streets.The government has instituted a policy to conserve resources and encourages conservation to aid in increased production of export and consumer goods. The government has two basic priorities: progress and independence. A major goal of the current policy is to retire all foreign debts, cut by 60 percent since 1981. Through the policies of export expansion and debt retirement, Romania seeks to ensure its political and economic independence.
Romania currently conducts 65 percent of its foreign trade with nations of the West. The energy area is a prime example of this independence. Of the three nuclear power plants soon to be operational in Romania, two were purchased from General Electric. As the news story might have pointed out, Romania buys more expensive U.S. anthracite so that it can produce higher grade export steel. The same grades of coal are available from their Eastern European neighbors, but at a cost to their independence. The policy of independence prompted the investment of $60 million into the reopening of the Garden Creek Pochahantas coal mines in Buchanan, Va. and a 30-year agreement to purchase 40 percent of the mines output, at an annual value of $25 million.
It should be remembered that Romania plays a significant role in the maintenance of the depressed U.S. coal industry and endures a conservation program to assure its independence.