A dozen representatives of the nations's major environmental groups met with President Carter yesterday and asked him to make a strong public statement opposing any waiver of environmental laws by an energy mobilization board.
Russell Peterson, president of the National Audubon Society, told Carter that such waivers could undo 10 years of progress in environmental legislation.
Richard Ayres of the Natural Resources Defense Council asked Carter to announce that he would call on the Senate to resist any bill allowing waivers of substantive law.
Carter reportedly told the group he could not make any such promise. According to participants, he was surprised at the environmentalists' contention that the energy mobilization board could undo protection for Alaska lands by permitting mining and drilling in wilderness areas.
Carter adviser Stuart Eizenstat then reassured the group, saying that the preisdent would have to recommend a waiver and both houses of Congress approve it before the mobilization board could allow one.
House and Senate have approved different versions of the mobilization board Carter proposed to cut red tape on large energy construction projects. The House bill would give the board more power than would the Senate version, and more than the environmentalists think is safe.