WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND ON THE ENVIRONMENT. The next president will grapple with a host of dangers that threaten to strangle our environment: toxic wastes, air pollution, contaminated water. Fourth in a series. DUKAKIS

AS governor of Massachusetts, a state known for both environmentalists and lobster pots, Michael Dukakis is regarded as a somewhat anomalous hybrid of the two. Mr. Dukakis has a reputation for snagging environmental issues as they scuttle across his administrative agenda rather than advancing them with the zeal of a true environmental advocate.

``He does the right things, he gets the right result. It just takes a while to get his attention,'' says Jim Maddy, executive director of the Washington-based League of Conservation Voters. On an LCV report card this year, Mr. Dukakis earned a ``B.''

Some Massachusetts environmentalists complain that Dukakis has handled several key environmental issues slowly, if not clumsily - notably the cleanup of Boston Harbor, the decision to approve a shopping complex in a sensitive wetland area of southeastern Massachusetts (the federal government later reversed Dukakis's decision), and a dispute still simmering over the development of a condominium complex immediately adjacent to Mt. Greylock, the state's highest peak. But most activists say that on balance the governor's record during three terms in the State House is good.

``You couldn't get much better if you consider what you can expect to get from an elected official,'' says Marsha Rockefeller, a lobbyist for the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

``In Massachusetts, we have extraordinarily high expectations,'' acknowledges Kelly McClintock, executive director of the Environmental Lobby of Massachusetts. ``We believe we should have a perfect environmentalist [as governor], and Dukakis is not perfect.''

Environmentalists complain that while Dukakis may personally be well disposed to their views, the structure of his administration and some people in it tend to favor their opposition. Environmental officials report to Dukakis through the governor's Office of Economic Development. And James Hoyte, Dukakis's environmental secretary, is not an effective advocate for environmental interests in the governor's inner circle, environmentalists say.

What irks the environmental community has played well with business and industry, though. Dukakis's management structure and environmental appointees have helped him balance the interests of development and environment, says G.Montgomery Lovejoy III, vice-president for energy and environment at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, a manufacturers' trade group.

Dukakis's stated views on the environment during his presidential campaign have pleased national environmental groups. Among other things, Dukakis says that as President he would:

Halt the construction of any new nuclear power plants in the United States until the problem of nuclear-waste disposal is solved. He effectively blocked the start-up of New Hampshire's Seabrook nuclear power station 40 miles north of Boston, saying evacuation plans were inadequate.

Begin cleanup of all 1,200 federal Superfund hazardous-waste sites by December 1997. He supported the first state superfund program in 1983.

Support clean-air legislation as tough as the most stringent legislation proposed in Congress this year. He also calls for cost-sharing among states to make the burden of reducing acid rain lighter for smokestack states.

Oppose offshore oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, specifically California, Massachusetts, and the Florida Keys. He would let states participate in decisions to grant offshore leases.

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