The nation's environmentalists, disappointed with the interior secretary the president-elect gave them for Christmas, are hoping not to find another lump of coal in the office of the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

What they'd like is somebody with the background of an environmental advocate, somebody with a long history of activity in conservationist causes, somebody like, well, like Norman (Ike) Livermore, who served as Ronald Reagan's transition team leader for EPA.

Livermore, who was California's secretary of resources under Gov. Reagan and now serves on the state's fish and game commission, is a long-time member of the Sierra Club and served on its board of directors in the 1940s, before today's generation of ecofreaks was born. He also has been a director of the Audobon Society, and he belongs to the Save the Redwoods League.

But Livermore doesn't want the job and says he wouldn't take it if it were offered. Two numbers figure prominently in that decision: one is 69 -- that's his age -- and the other is 3,000 -- that's the number of miles between Washington and his home and family in San Rafael, Calif.

He does, however, have an interest in who gets the administrator's job, and he's made a few suggestions, although he says Reagan officials made it clear the transition team's efforts were to be directed at how the office runs, not who runs it. Among the candidates he either suggested or endorsed were John R. Quarles, an assistant EPA administration under President Nixon, and Paul MacAvoy, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ford and a transition adviser on regulatory reform. MacAvoy, however, is also reportedly being considered for director of the Synfules Corp., and that job pays a lot more.

Others in the running for EPA are Henry Diamond, commissioner of environmental conservation for New York under Gov. Nelson Rockefeller; Gordon Wood, a Washington lobbyist who reportedly has the backing of Rep. Don H. Clausen of California, ranking Republican on the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee; and Rep. James Martin (R-N.C.), who is being pushed for the job by two fellow North Carolina Republicans, Rep. James T. Broyhill and Sen. Jesse Helms.