We polled "green" groups and leaders on how they grade President Clinton on his work thus far. A few groups declined to participate, reluctant perhaps to judge or be judged.
Rainforest Action Network's Randy Hayes: "Reagan and Bush were ecological idiots. If they were an F, Clinton and Gore are a solid B. But the earth needs an A+, so we're still in trouble." On NAFTA: "A smokescreen for real change."
Greenpeace: "A for rhetoric; D for performance."
Earth First! founder Mike Roselle, on the failing grade: "Why? The silence of Al Gore. [Clinton] should have come out swinging. We're as disappointed as the gays." On wetlands: "He's protecting industry over wildlife. Talk is cheap. Where's the action?" On nuclear power: "It's more dangerous now than it was at the time of Three Mile Island."
David Brower, formerly of the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth; head of Earth Island Institute: "Grading does not encompass potential. It's hard to evaluate what the president can do, especially with a hostile press. I'd like to see 'Free Al Gore' bumper stickers.'" [See "Where are you, Al?" this issue.]
Earth Island Institute's Gar Smith: "How do you measure an administration? Anyone looks like a hero compared to that last crowd." On NAFTA: "An unmitigated disaster."
Environmental Defense Fund: "Incomplete--but we'd like to offer him extra credit. He held to his guns as best he could in working his budget through."
Wilderness Society: "Bruce Babbitt is a superlative choice, but we don't know if we've got the Beatles or Freddie and the Dreamers until they've been out there."
National Resource Defense Council on forests: "A commendable effort to resolve the issue, but a disappointing product." On wildlife: "An unexcused absence" for "failing to take real initiative."
Note: The Sierra Club set conditions that space would not allow us to accommodate.