Ignominious former Republican EPA administrators Bill “Father of DDT Genocide’ Ruckelshaus and Bill “Delete Science from the Clean Air Act” Reilly hit the GOP presidential candidates at an enviro group function.
Two former Republican U.S. EPA administrators, William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly, joked yesterday that the assault on the agency from the GOP presidential field makes it increasingly difficult for them to back the contenders.
Before a panel discussion at the World Resources Institute, Reilly said he “lamented” to Ruckelshaus that hardly any questions had been asked in the Republican debates about the environment or climate change.
Ruckelshaus’ response, Reilly said: “Count your blessings.”
Ruckelshaus, who was EPA’s first administrator under President Nixon, and Reilly, who held the post under President George H.W. Bush, have grown louder in their criticism of the current Republican Party. Yesterday, they also offered a stiff rebuke of the party’s presidential candidates for attacking EPA when the agency is fulfilling its mandate laid out by Congress (E&ENews PM, Jan. 23).
But when asked how concerned they are that one of those candidates could actually win in November, Ruckelshaus said that “if their attitude doesn’t change about EPA, that would certainly give me great concern.”
Reilly countered that he recognized “certain realities of the primary season” and the need for candidates to appeal to the party’s conservative base.
But, he added, “One has to hope that some of them don’t mean what they are saying.”
To which Ruckelshaus groused, “That’s not much of a reason to support somebody!”…
Several, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia — who is now in a dead heat for the lead in some polls with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — have said they would like to abolish the agency all together.
Ruckelshaus said he did not think an effort to get rid of EPA would stick because there would be immediate consequences for human health and the environment that would quickly become apparent to the public…
We’ll take that bet Bill.