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President Clinton on Saturday ordered new measures to halt the pollution of Lake Tahoe but offered much less than the $300 million spending commitment regional planners had hoped for.

Clinton, on a three-day swing through the U.S. West, said over the next two years the government would double the $10 million to $12 million it now spends annually to restore the lake to crystalline brilliance. He toured the lake aboard a research board with Vice President Gore.

Experts estimate it will cost $900 million over the next 10 years to reverse the decline of the deep alpine lake, which is on the California-Nevada border in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Once described by author Mark Twain as "surely the fairest sight the whole Earth affords," Lake Tahoe's striking blue color is threatened by algae caused by soil erosion and urban runoff.

In addition, many of the trees around the lake are infested with beetles, and thousands of vehicles have fouled the air.

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