Author: Damien M. Schiff
The Atlantic Monthly Blog has an interesting interview with the first Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, William Ruckelshaus. President Nixon signed the law that created the EPA. The Clean Water Act was also passed during the Nixon years, although over the president's veto. The Ruckelshaus interview reveals that the president was none too fond of the law.
But Nixon himself was hardly an environmentalist. In fact, Ruckelshaus said, Nixon became increasingly disillusioned with his own environmental initiatives as the 1972 election neared and felt Congress was going too far. At a celebration of Earth Day's 40th anniversary last spring at the Nixon library, Ruckelshaus saw some of the presidential papers from that era, including a Clean Water Act document on which Nixon had handwritten "bullshit" in a marginal note. Nonetheless, Nixon "had the most extraordinary record any President has ever had," he said.