William Ruckelshaus, who served as the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Richard Nixon and returned to the post for Ronald Reagan, says protecting the environment used to be a bipartisan cause. For the “Politics of Poison” project, done in conjunction with the investigative radio program Reveal, Ruckelshaus spoke recently with the Center for Public Integrity’s David Heath. He was critical of GOP attacks on the EPA and on industry efforts to thwart scientific evaluations of toxic chemicals. This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Heath: Many people may have forgotten that it was a Republican president, Richard Nixon, who created the EPA.