Republicans maintain the Clinton administration's plans for Earth Day have more to do with election-year politics than the environment.

An Environmental Protection Agency memorandum obtained and released by the National Republican Congressional Committee outlines plans for administration officials to attend rallies in 36 television markets - 26 of which happen to cover the congressional districts of freshman Republicans."Campaign politics is the only explanation for the Clinton administration's choice of locations for Earth Day rallies," Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., chairman of the NRCC, said Monday.

"The White House and the EPA must be held accountable for their attempt to use taxpayer dollars to finance their campaign efforts."

An EPA official, who commented only on condition of anonymity, denied that the Earth Day plan was rooted in politics.

According to a Republican analysis of the targeted markets, many also cover districts of Democrats the GOP considers vulnerable this year. Major cities, including New York, Boston and Los Angeles, were not targeted.

The memo from associate administrator Loretta Ucelli and Peter Robertson, chief of staff to EPA Administrator Carol Browner, tells agency officials that "the White House is planning an administrationwide roll out to amplify the president's Earth Day message."

Local "environmental heroes" are to be celebrated.

"Attached is a list of cities in which we would like to conduct Earth Day events," the memo continues.

It does not say why the cities were chosen.