Panel offers recipe to Clinton on how to clean environment

December 12, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- After two years' work, a blue-ribbon panel of business, government and science leaders said yesterday that the United States must reject the "false dichotomy" of jobs vs. environmental protection and recommended that gasoline taxes

be increased and water subsidies to growers eliminated.

The report of the National Commission on the Environment is being offered to President-elect Bill Clinton as a blueprint for his administration. Many of the panel's members are Clinton advisers.

The panel recommended that the federal government adopt tax policies to stimulate "green" research and development, and it called for taxes on environmentally harmful activities.

It also said Washington should gradually and predictably increase gasoline taxes over a period of several years, enact a carbon tax to be phased in gradually and reduce or eliminate water subsidies to growers.

The commission's recommendations are similar to many that environmentalists have called for before -- from community meetings to last summer's Earth Summit in Brazil.

But the work is apt to receive special attention in the new administration because of the makeup of the panel, which was convened and funded by the World Wildlife Fund.

Chaired by Russell E. Train, the former Environmental Protection Agency administrator, the panel included executives from such companies as Southern California Edison and Alcoa, along with officials and prospective appointees of the Clinton administration.

Among them were Alice M. Rivlin, newly named deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin, a close Clinton adviser during both the campaign and transition, and James G. Speth, a Clinton adviser for the environment and natural resources.

Despite the political influence of their proponents, some of the recommendations would appear to face a bleak future.

A prime example is the suggested increase in the federal gasoline tax. The concept was sharply opposed by Mr. Clinton during the election campaign.

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