February 5, 2000
by Margaret Kriz
A failed promise from the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign nearly triggered a
public relations disaster for the Vice President in New Hampshire.
years ago, Al Gore vowed to block the operation of a hazardous-waste
incinerator that had been built next to an elementary school in East
Liverpool, Ohio. Before Gore was sworn in as Vice President, however,
regulators from the outgoing Bush Administration allowed Waste
Industries to begin operating the incinerator.
An Ohio citizens group,
several national environmental activists, and Greenpeace want Gore to
a renewal of the company's expired operating license, and they pushed for
meeting to press their concerns. When Gore declined to meet with them, the
greens threatened to stage a sit-in on Jan. 31 at Gore 's New Hampshire
campaign headquarters in Manchester.
The night before the sit-in, however,
the Ohio activists received frantic calls from the White House offering to
investigate the potential environmental problems at the incinerator .
hours of negotiations, White House officials agreed to have the
Environmental Protection Agency's ombudsman review the case. In return,
activists canceled their planned civil disobedience. But they still want
meet with Gore before the next Democratic primaries on March 7.