Bill Ruckelshaus, the first Administrator of the US EPA in 1970 (and one of my heroes), published a wonderful op-ed piece in the New York Times today. The piece discusses his return to EPA in the early 1980s, under the Reagan Administration, and the parallels to the current attacks and controversies regarding the EPA as well as lessons.
At the time Ruckelshaus was asked by Reagan to come back after the chaos and turmoil that then-EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch inflicted on the EPA during the early early years of the Reagan Administration. Gorsuch was forced to resign, and Ruckelshaus was confirmed as the new EPA Administrator. (Coincidentally, Anne Gorsuch was the late mother of the pending US Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch. ) There is another interesting, but less well known aspect of Ruckelshaus. After his stint as head of EPA (1970-1973), he became Deputy Attorney General at the US Department of Justice under Attorney General Elliot Richardon. Later in 1973, together with Richardson, he resigned as part of the “Saturday night massacre” for refusing to fire Archibald Cox, who was then investigating Watergate and President Nixon.