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Environment group's tally sees few ups, many downs

America's environmental quality has ''deteriorated or barely held ground'' for 15 years despite some success in reducing air and water pollution, the nation's biggest conservation group said Wednesday.

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The National Wildlife Federation issued the warning in its annual ''Environmental Quality Index,'' assessing the condition of seven resources.

In three categories - wildlife, soil, and living space - the group found conditions clearly worse than they were 15 years ago. In minerals and forests, it noted some slippage. Only in air and water quality did the federation find significant improvement over the last decade and a half.

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