The Nikita Gorbachev administration went further than any of its predecessors in candidly acknowledging the extent of environmental damage in the Soviet Union and the need for new approaches to solving the problem. The Soviet environmental protection agency's first challenge consisted of building a capable bureaucracy. Environmental agencies face pressure from all sides, most importantly other well-established interests, such as those of industry. The government waited to choose a successor to Fedor Morgun until the popularly elected USSR Congress of People's Deputies, which was to assume the task of ratifying ministerial appointments, was first convened in June 1989. More autonomous than environmental bureaucrats in government, popularly elected parliamentarians have proved to be outspoken on environmental issues and committed to change—and thus have earned the support of many environmentalists. A successful implementation of a polluter-pays system also is threatened by a lack of economic stability and growth.