Clinton administration officials who held a “town meeting” in Seattle yesterday with the intent of assuaging environmentalists’ concerns and anger over global trade issues met with little success. EPA chief Carol Browner, Frank Loy, undersecretary of state for global affairs, Ian Bowles of the White House Council on Economic Quality, and Dorothy Dwoskin, assistant U.S. trade representative for the World Trade Organization, defended the WTO against charges that it has weakened environmental rules. They said that although the trade organization would need to change significantly to improve the environment, it could provide an opportunity to secure better environmental and health protections around the world. Enviros weren’t buying it and peppered Browner and pals with arguments and catcalls. The administration has been hosting events with free trade critics leading up to the WTO ministerial meeting that will begin in Seattle on Nov. 30.

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