EPA Oral History

I find myself introduced, sometimes, as the voice that cried in the wilderness, as someone who tried to be the conscience of the Bush Administration on the environment. I went into that job with no illusions. I knew all of my predecessors; I knew how much conflict there had been and how many disappointments some of them had had in their times. In fact, I had many more than my share of good days. I remember Bill Ruckelshaus said as he announced his retirement, his resignation from EPA, that an EPA Administrator gets two days in the sun, the day he's announced and the day he leaves, and everything in between is rain.

That was not true for me. I had a lot of sunny days and I owe them to George Bush and. . . . it is thanks largely to the quality of the people who work at EPA, their zeal, their commitment, the fact that for them it's not just a job. They really believe in what they're doing and that they are doing something fundamentally important. That is what made our four years a very productive and exciting time. It's a time that EPA professionals, and the country beyond Washington, will look back on as a time of enormous creativity and energy and achievement in the environment. So, I was happy to have been along for that ride.

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William Reilly