The house cleaning now taking place in the Environmental Protection Agency finally has put President Reagan’s environmental policies and appointments on the front pages of the nation’s press.
However, the situation might not have had to reach such crisis proportions if the media had listened more closely to environmentalists who were trying to warn the public more than a year ago that Reagan was not a friend of the environment.
In an effort to reach the people with that story, the Friends of the Earth resorted to advertising in early 1982; following are excerpts about some of the people Reagan appointed:
“The new assistant Secretary of Agriculture, John Crowell, used to work for Louisiana Pacific, the largest buyer of federal timber. He want our national forests cut at three times the present rate.
“Dr. John Todhunter used to fight pesticide regulations. Now he’s supposed to regulate pesticides.
“William A. Sullivan, Jr., was a lobbyist for the steel industry. Now he oversees enforcement of environmental law. ‘If I were an environmental activist,’ he said of his own appointment, ‘I’d be scared to death.’
“James Edwards, Energy Secretary, says ecologists are being ‘used by subversives.’ We think he means the Russians. He’s fired a third of the solar energy staff. He plans a 93% cut in solar and conservation. Meanwhile, 100% of the nuclear budget remains.
“James Watt used to sue the government for mining and energy companies. He is still carrying towels for them. His zeal has led more than one million Americans to sign petitions to fire him. Mr. Reagan’s response? Watt is his ‘favorite’ cabinet member.
“The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency is Anne Gorsuch. Of her first 19 appointees, 15 were business executives. No environmentalists.
“When these people think ‘environment’ their images run to oil, minerals, lumber. To them, the environment is something you dig up, cut down, take apart or pave. ‘The regulated have captured the regulators,’ said William Butler of the National Audubon Society.”
The Friends of the Earth sounded a dire warning about the foxes in the chicken coop more than a year ago; it is sad the major news media didn’t more greater heed.
San Francisco Chronicle, 2/9/82, “Ronald Reagan, the Health of Humans & the Natural World,” full page advertisement, page 9, by Friends of the Earth.