As he launched his run for the presidency a year ago, Bill Clinton energized scientists, environmental activists, and concerned citizens throughout the United States with his promise of "a new covenant for environmental progress."

While deriding the claim of his White House predecessor, George Bush, of being "the environmental president," Clinton vowed aggressively to combat or remedy the pollution and destruction of the nation's air, land, and water. Constantly at his side to fortify the message was Clinton's running mate, Al Gore, who as a Tennessee senator had built a national reputation largely on the basis of his erudition and outspokenness on environmental matters.

Now, seven months into his presidency, environmentalists, scientists, and other observers are assessing Clinton's record with considerable reservation. While he has made some progress, they suggest, it is premature to anoint him as a true "environmental president." And some political analysts...

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