President Bill Clinton formally approved Friday eight pilot projects that will give U.S. business greater flexibility in meeting federal environmental standards.
Companies chosen to participate include some giants of the corporate world, including Anheuser-Busch's operations in Florida, AT&T, Merck, 3M and Intel. Others are Hadco Co., the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California.
Clinton said the goal of the new program is "progress, not process" in dealing with air and water pollution and other environmental problems. The program is known as Project XL - for excellence and leadership.
"It is an example of common sense government, and it is rooted in American values," the president said at a ceremony at the White House, where the pilot programs were announced.
Clinton has been emphasizing regulatory revision in an effort to blunt a Republican drive to impose drastic new restraints on federal power and influence. The GOP drive is fueled by a perception that bureaucratic red tape and rigidity are to blame for many of America's problems.
Project XL will "stand as an example of what we can do when we work together," Clinton said. …