Clinton's Administration is having a tough time delivering on its environmental good intentions. Early on, Western senators forced the White House to gut a proposal that would have jacked up fees for using public lands. Now, sources say the Administration is bowing to stiff opposition from the politically potent paper industry and is watering down a plan to promote use of "environmentally preferable" paper. "They're getting hammered," says Allen Hershkowitz, a Natural Resources Defense Council scientist.
The Administration is expected to drop a plan that would have favored purchase of paper made without chlorine bleach, whose use produces cancer-causing dioxin as a by-product. It will reduce a requirement for "post-consumer waste" in recycled paper from 15% to 10%. And it will abandon an effort to encourage states to comply with federal paper-use rules. The scaled-back plan is a victory for the American Forest & Paper Assn., which hired Betsey Wright, Bill Clinton's chief of staff in the Arkansas statehouse, as a lobbyist. The White House is expected to release an executive order on paper use soon after Labor Day.