Title: Nathaniel Reed [FGM 3]
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Title: Nathaniel Reed FGM 3
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FGM 3
Interviewee: Nathaniel P. Reed
Interviewer: Julian Pleasants
Date: November 2, 2000; December 18, 2000


P: This is November 2, 2000. I am on Jupiter Island, Florida. I am speaking with
Nathaniel P. Reed. When and where were you born?

R: I was born on July 22, 1933, in a hospital that no longer exists in New York City.

P: Early on, you went to school at Deerfield Academy. How did that experience
influence your life?

R: I think it had an enormous influence. I have just been given the alumni award,
and I can give you a copy of my speech at Deerfield, which will give you chapter-
and-verse how I grew up between Greenwich, Connecticut and here, and how
much schooling at Deerfield meant to me, in the sense that I was able to
continue my active field career, both on the river and in the woods and on the
hillsides, and yet take up competitive team sports with a vengeance. As my
speech will indicate to you, I was a very mediocre student. I was growing very,
very rapidly. My body was growing at an extraordinary rate. Headmaster Boyden
loved to say that I got three square meals a day and twelve hours of sleep and
that I slept between and roomed between two of the brightest boys in my class,
and the great hope was that something would rub off on me. Physically, I grew so
rapidly that there was not a great deal of time or interest in books. I was really
more interested in sleep, eating and the outdoors, and that was a great part of
our lives down here and in Greenwich. In Greenwich, we were very lucky. We
lived on a magnificent farm, which had 100-plus acres of woodland, and down
here Jupiter Island was still a tropical paradise with alligators and bobcats on the
island and owls. Across the way, there was not a fence for miles. You could walk
and chase your bird dog forever. The river was full of fish, the skies were filled
with birds. I lived in two paradises, one in the summer and one in the winter.

P: In your speech, you mentioned that at Deerfield, you learned not only
regimentation but developed strong friendships and learned how to work with
other people.

R: Yes. That was very, very important because, at Trinity College, I became the
president of my fraternity and then went on in the military intelligence service and
very rapidly became second-in-command of the intelligence wing, and then with
the untimely death of a senior officer, I became the ranking officer as a first
lieutenant. I had this huge office staff of master sergeants and staff sergeants,
and I was barely wet behind the ears. My brother had gone to West Point and
served with distinction in the Army. He had told me to, above all, trust your
master sergeants. I happened to have the world=s best master sergeants, and









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they took care of me like a broody hen. I learned to work with them and other
intelligence officers, not only of the Air Force but of the Army and the Navy and of
other services. I was very, very close to a whole bunch of English and Canadian
intelligence officers at their air bases in Germany. I wandered back and forth and
around with them, and I also had some great friends in the French Army. I
learned a lot about teamsmanship, I learned a lot about trust, and I think I
learned about mistrust, because it was at a very, very high moment of the Cold
War. The Russians had an enormous Army/Air Force in the field. A serious
mistake by [Nikita] Khrushchev [Soviet Premier] or [President Dwight]
Eisenhower unquestionably would have led to war, Armageddon, but no mistakes
were made. It was a marvelous stand-off and then finally, as we all know, the
great Russian ship of state collapsed.

P: Why did you choose Trinity College?

R: I did not. It is a little-known story. I interviewed for Yale. My father and uncle had
gone to Yale, and the dean of admissions said, I guess we will have to take you.
It was in a period of time, that is long gone now, where the family member was
given a nod over anybody else. I stood up at the interview and said, no, you do
not have to take me, and walked out. So, April became May. My father and
mother were pressing hard for me to make some decision as to what college I
should go to. In my opinion, it was a great question of who would take me, and
suddenly I got a note to see the Headmaster Dr. Boyden. He [was seated at his
desk]Bas I was going between classes actually, sort of a three-minute drillBand
he looked up from the telephone and he said, you are going to Trinity College,
you are going to love it, and that was the end of the conversation. I did not even
know where [Trinity] was [located]. In June, after graduation from Deerfield, my
father said, rather quietly but rather firmly, do you not think it would be a good
idea to drive up to Hartford and have a look around the campus? I said, is that
where Trinity is? He said yes, it is in Hartford, and it is an old-line, very fine
college, and I will go with you. I said, oh, spare me. He said, no, we are going
together. How about Tuesday? I said, okay, I have not got anything going on
Tuesday. Let us go. So we drove up to Trinity together. I walked by the chapel
and looked down the long walk. Of course, in those days, the elm trees framed
the long walk. There were probably thirty-six elms of more than 200 years of age.
It was, without a doubt, with the Gothic architecture, one of the most staggeringly
beautiful sights I had ever laid eyes on. [Headmaster] Frank Boyden and my
father were right. I really loved Trinity. I had a difficult first and second year. I was
still growing. The Korean War was on. I had great doubts whether I should be a
student while the war was on [or] whether I should be at war. My brother was at
war. Again, academic problems began to mount. I actually failed a course which
was a requirement. It was Math 101, a dreadful course. Headmaster Boyden
insisted that I try harder. I made a great friend who was the dean of admissions,
and I wanted to learn how to play squash, a northeastern game if there ever was









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one. Bill Peele, in many, many ways, kept me in Trinity. I saw him a month ago.
He is recovering from a mild stroke. I spoke about the intensity of the friendship
of an eighteen-year-old, and Bill was twenty-eight, so he is ten years older than I
am, the intensity of the friendship that we formed. We battled on the squash
court. I became such a maniac on squash that I took lessons in the evenings
over at the West Hartford Country Club from one of the top pros in the country,
named Eddie Reid of all things. [Bill Peele had been a star at Trinity.] I never
beat him, but I would wear off all the frustrations of the day in that squash court in
the evening. After showering, Bill would suggest that I take my books and go to a
quiet corner in the library, and slowly, physical and mental maturation took place.
My junior and senior years were really very exciting. Getting away from those
horrible non-electives (whatever the hell they call them), getting into electives,
being able to really study the things that I really was fascinated about, history and
fine arts, especially the painting of the Renaissance and modern history, totally
captivated me. I began to read hard. I began to study hard and continued to
enjoy life. I fished every weekend in the spring, and I shot every weekend in the
fall. I was very, very lucky. I made enormously close friends who remained life
friends. [With] the very serious chapel timeBin those days, there was a very strict
requirement of the number of chapel appearances per term, which was
considered drudgery by mostBI began to get a very strong foundation in the
Episcopal church which I have maintained to this day. I am very pleased that I
never walk into [the Trinity] chapel without finding where I sat. I actually gave a
pew end. I still love walking in [there]. It is one of the most beautiful Gothic
chapels in the world. Trinity has meant a great deal to me. I served as a trustee
for a long period of time. I enjoyed that service enormously. I served as a trustee
at Deerfield, actually, simultaneously. I would fly up from Washington on a
weekend from one and back to Washington and back up, usually the next
weekend, for the other. After I had left Washington, I would fly up a day or two
early, because I was chairman of the buildings and grounds at both the school
and the college. To really get a firm grasp on the roofs that needed to be
replaced or trees that needed to be fed or whatever, as always, I took those
assignments terribly seriously. So, unlike most trustees who would arrive shortly
before a trustees meeting, I had already put in twenty-four or forty-eight hours
and driven the head maintenance man slightly mad with 250 questions and
observations about the buildings and grounds. You know, they [will] never forget
[me] at either institution, because they have never had anybody quite like me
since. I mean, I [electrically] rewired Trinity [and] rewired Deerfield. My fellow
trustees at Deerfield were absolutely appalled when I told them we had to put the
original slate back on the main building at a cost of $940,000. But it will last
another sixty years. It lasted sixty years, and this one will last sixty years.
Somebody has got to have the confidence to do it again. I was taught by my
parents, when you have beautiful buildings, you must maintain them beautifully.


P: What plans did you have when you left Trinity?









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R: To survive in the Air Force. I was going to fly. I was dyslexic enough that I
thought I would get a head start on becoming the world=s best light-bomber pilot
by taking flying lessons. I got through so that I was able to solo and actually was
able to fly. That just shows you how limited the FAA [Federal Aviation Authority]
restrictions were in those days. I was allowed to fly [according to] visual flight
rules all over Connecticut. I had little education in flying and none in navigation,
but I worked off the Connecticut road map. I took my brother down to
Westchester County to visit the parents one weekend, and he took a car back.
He was utterly terrified of the whole experience. When I was at Lackland Air
Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, a mysterious man pulled me out of a line. I
was waiting for my orders to go to light-bomber school, and [I was] pulled out and
[told], you are not going to flight school; you are going to a different branch of the
service. I called my uncle, Samuel Pryor, who was the senior vice president of
PanAm [Pan American Air Lines] and [well-]placed in powerful circles in
Washington, and asked him to overrule this decision. He called me back the next
day and said, you have been chosen to be in the intelligence service, which is a
great, great honor, and I think you would make a lousy pilot, and I urge you to go
without another word and do well in the school and get a good position.

P: What year was this?

R: Early December of 1955, like the 2nd or 3rd. The Reed family always has a slight
problem with national security or top-secret clearances because my
Grandmother Reed produced my father in Nice, France, in 1902 during one of
the long periods that my Grandfather Reed was an expatriate. He had made a
fortune, and he wanted very much to live abroad. He had a house in Wiesbaden,
a house in Nice, an apartment in Paris and an apartment in London, and he lived
an absolutely bohemian and wonderful life and produced my father while on the
road. My grandmother, on returning to Denver in 1910, was so concerned that
her son would have problems forever, having been born in Nice, France, [that
she] had the registry in Denver forge in Joseph Vernor Reed, born in 1902 in
Denver, Colorado. From that moment on, when any member of the Reed family
needed a national security clearance or a top-secret clearance or, in my case, a
nuclear weapons clearance as well, the FBI would descend upon one and [ask],
where was your father born? There would be an awkward moment when you
would say, do you really want to know? My father was born in Nice, France. They
say, well, why was his papers forged in Denver, Colorado? I [replied], because
his mother thought it was going to be easier for dad to have been born in Denver
rather than in Nice, and instead it has been an absolute friggin= nightmare.

P: What did your grandfather do?


R: He was one of America=s first labor negotiators. He was many different things.









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He established a stock market in London. It takes a moment. It takes a lot of
moments, actually, but very briefly, my grandfather started to work as an
entrepreneur in Colorado Springs [Colorado] buying lots, building houses, buying
houses, improving the houses and selling them as Colorado Springs began to
grow. With the discovery of the great Cripple Creek gold mine, he immediately
moved to Cripple Creek, where he became enormously interested in the whole
process of which gold is discovered, mined and processed. A number of things
struck him as a very bright young man. First, America was going through one of
those periods in our nations early history, after the Civil War especially, where
we were terribly short of paper money, because it was backed by gold. America
was expanding so rapidly, the railroads, [steel, oil,] the great timber companies:
the great era of the expansion of America. Our cash was hopelessly tied up in
projects, from rivers and harbors to railroads, you name it. Steel. Just think of the
advent of the great steel factories in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, Wheeling [West
Virginia], wherever. Everything was going gangbusters. Cattle, [pork:] Chicago.
America was growing so rapidly [that] it did not have enough currency to keep it
going. So, grandfather asked:], where was all the money in the world? The
money in the world was in England. England was going through a period of
unparalleled prosperity. The Industrial Revolution had started early in the
nineteenth century. By 1890, 1895, England was the richest country in the world
by far. Grandfather, recognizing that the Strattons and all the other miners in
Cripple Creek, Colorado [needed loans], [the Cripple Creek gold deposits are in]
very, very hard rock; [it] takes an enormous amount of blasting and an enormous
amount of equipment [to get to the mill]. That is why the migration of Czechs,
Slovaks, Poles, German, Irish, Welsh, Scots, came to Cripple Creek, because
they were all deep anthracite coal miners. They were experienced with shafts.
They were experienced with tunnels. They were experienced [working]
underground. Most importantly, they were experienced in handling dynamite.
Dynamite, as we all know, is very dangerous stuff. In Cripple Creek, you have to
blast your way through hard rock. Grandfather opened a stock market in London,
fantastically successful, where individuals and companies could take a stake in
individual mine[s] in Colorado. He traveled back and forth rapidly. He had his own
train, [which] made it a lot easier to go from New York to Denver, from Denver to
Colorado Springs, and then horseback or wagon over the hill into Cripple Creek.
His great accomplishment was, he sold a very, very famous mine to an English
company which is now AngloAmerican. He got $1,000,000 from both the buyer
and the seller, which in those days $2,000,000 was a lot of money. On top of
that, he became one of America=s best-known labor negotiators. Cripple
Creek[=s history] was [marked by miners:] that with a day off, if he did not go to
the red-light district or drink himself into bed, he would go off onto the hillside and
he would look hard to see if he could pick up the broken veins of gold that
surround Cripple Creek, the basin in Telluride Rock, Cripple Creek. In many
cases, they found marvelous strikes, but they were miners. They were simple
people with no education. They had to stake their claim, they had to borrow









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money to get going and they had to hire. Now, they treated the people they hired
as they had been treated, badly. They [had been] shorted on food, they [had
been] shorted on where they lived, they [had been] shorted on salary. So, by the
1880s, 1890s anyway, strikes in the gold field and the silver field were very, very
common. Grandfather developed an enormous passion of getting people around
the table and settling it. His methods were really very interesting. He met first
with the owner of a mine and convinced [him], look, your mine has been shut
down for six months. It is not going to open. You killed a couple of miners. The
miners have killed a couple of your cops. The situation is completely out of
control. Tell me what your bottom line is, and [the owner] would say, those lousy
damn miners, a bunch of Irish creeps, I am never going to open this mine again
as long as I have such terrible men working for me. I am going to bring in scab
labor and so on and so forth. Grandfather would say, that is absolutely hopeless.
You have got to pay your men better, you have got to see to their livelihood, you
have got to see to the safety in the mine. He would say, shut down, you have no
cash flow. No matter how much money you thought you had in the bank, without
cash flow, you are going under. Then he would go to the strikers, get them all in
a room, set them down and say, okay, boys, let me hear what your complaints
are. He would forge a settlement. It was called Reed Settlement. He would have
them come to the room, and he would look at ownership and he would look at
labor and he would say, here is what the deal is, guys. Begrudgingly, everybody
went back to work. Nobody got 100 percent. The ownership was told what a
rotten bunch of managers they were, while the miners were told what a rotten
bunch [of workers] they were, and if they wanted anything to come together, they
had to do the following. Well, it worked, and he became incredibly well-known all
over. Messengers were being sent to him left and right, come and settle a strike.
He learned early that the owners of these mines were potentially very, very rich,
so he took stock in the mines, or cash, and he took a small amount of cash from
the miners. At one time, my grandmother probably had small ownership in 400
mines. He then went to Europe, as I told you. He had a very active office in real-
estate and mining, still, in Denver. There was a discovery of a black and sticky
substance west of Sheridan, Wyoming. Without a moments hesitation, he freed
up a great deal of his cash and told them to buy every acre they could, and it
turned out to be one of the great Wyoming oil finds. He created the Midwest Oil
Company and ran it until his death in 1919. He was President Woodrow Wilson=s
labor negotiator during the First World War. It killed him. The war killed him. He
had been an alcoholic on top of that, so his health was a bit flighty, but the work
for the government killed him.

P: Let me get back to your completion of your military service. What did you do
once you left the Air Force?

R: Came right back here. Mother and dad were in Paris at the Embassy. Father was
the attache for the ambassador for cultural affairs, Ambassador Amory









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Houphton. My father spoke absolutely perfect French and German, and our
ambassador had a very serious cancer operation in his throat. They were old
friends, and Dad was thrown into the American Embassy, in the scene of trying in
every way to assist our wonderful ambassador in Paris. They were there, still,
when I came back here, and I immediately moved in to run the company in their
absence and learned the company [business]. Obviously, I was well-aware that
the company was a water company, a land company, [a private club known as]
the Jupiter Island Club [within the umbrella company of the Hobe Sound
Company], but I really had not taken any interest in management until that
moment. I was immediately appointed senior vice president, that lovely title, and I
learned the business from bottom up. When [my parents] came back in 1963 or
1964 [I remained with the company]. I was very, very close to both my mother
and father in the sense of working with them on a day-to-day basis for the
company, for the Reed family.

P: How did you first get interested in environmental issues, and who influenced you
in this particular area?

R: In the Deerfield speech, I speak to that. My mother always maintained I came out
of the womb casting a fly rod. I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not
collecting something, whether it be leaves, bird feathers, rocks, stones. Of
course, the great loves early were butterflies and birds and fishing and then, later
on, hunting. Those have all been passions of life. As I matured, I became totally
fascinated in how ecological systems work. I was unable to give the names at
that time, but certainly I could recognize what drainage could do or overgrazing
could do to land, or what hot fire could do to land, especially down here. But we
lived a very, very privileged life. We had a marvelous camp in the Adirondacks
where we went for a month every summer, in August. There was no electricity,
no running water, genuine outhouses. We left a house of infinite comfortBDenby
Farm was an amazing estate in Connecticut, fully staffedBall of a sudden to be
completely on our own. No other employees. I just fell in love. All of us, we fell in
love with the woods. We fell in love with the lake. From the time I was six years
old, I was allowed to row my own flat-bottom rowboat with two fly rods going, and
I would be gone morning and afternoon. Dad would paddle me in a wonderful
canoe after dinnerBdinner was very earlyBto cast at rising trout in the evening. It
was [my] absolute passion. Down here, our caretaker, Andrew Ondige, was my
man. I mean, I loved everything he loved, and he loved everything that I loved,
which was principally fishing. He was a marvelous shot. He taught me a great
deal, he and [the man who] turned out to be my future father-in-law, William
ABill Weaver. My mother and father neither cared a great deal about fishing,
and they did not hunt. They were our next-door neighbors in Greenwich. Bill
Weaver was a magnificent shot, and his wife [Alita] was a magnificent shot. The
Davis family had been hunters going back into the middle nineteenth century
[they had given the Davis Cup as keen tennis players]. Bill Weaver was one of









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my best senior friends, and I married his daughter. I mean, it is actually one of
those wonderful stories. We hunted a great, great deal together.

P: Were you at all influenced by Rachel Carson=s Silent Spring?

R: Yes, I think I was hit right between the eyes. The whole subject of pesticides at
that time was highly controversial, and there were no great authorities on it. That
was probably one of the reasons that when [President Richard M.] Nixon asked
me whether I had an agenda at our first meeting, I said, yes, I do, I have a
number of things on the agenda. He said, what are they? I named right off the
bat that I was going to have an executive order in his hand with an environmental
impact statement canceling a poison called 1080 that was used to kill coyotes in
the West. [It was] a terrible, terrible god-awful poison. I was going to bring him a
huge Alaska land-preservation effort, and that I was going see that the ban on
DDT survived court challenge by the makers of DDT. He roared with laughter
and he said, well, two of [your] three [priorities] my wife agrees with. I do not think
she knows much about Alaska, but she certainly agrees on 1080 and DDT.
During the great battle of DDTBthis is an interesting story, actually, sort of a
funny storyBI was very new. It was in the summer of 1971, early summer. The
Olin Company, Olin Matheson, who made DDT, sued the federal government,
saying that the conditions of the [executive order banning DDT] were ill-advised
and without scientific basis. All the federal scientists were brought to Washington
who had worked on DDT. There were ten or twelve of them, and they were
marvelous people. There were a lot of non-government [scientists] from
universities who had really made a major part of their lives studying the residual
impacts of DDT, especially [on] birds. A wonderful guy named Joe Hickey, who
later served with me on the National Audubon [Society] board, a great birder, I
think [from] the University of Michigan. Anyway, the first day in court, I could not
get there. I have forgotten why. I had some absolutely impossible situation. I
think I had to testify [before Congress] that day. That evening, I heard when I got
back to my office that the Olin lawyers had been particularly tough on several of
our witnesses and that there was a rebellion. The federal witnesses were
seriously considering not testifying. They were out at Patuxent [Maryland], the big
federal laboratory owned by the Fish and Wildlife Service. I called out there. The
woman who was the head of the laboratoryBwonderful, wonderful but I cannot
think of her nameBI told her to hold everybody there. Called my driver, [Garfield
Lawrence,] my wonderful African-American driver. I said, Garfield, do you know
where the Patuxent laboratory is? He said, of course I know. I said, drive me
there immediately. So, we roared out of there. I called my wife and said, God
only knows what time I am going to be home. I roared out into the night, and I
arrived to find this disgruntled group of scientists. They were in an uproar. I
actually stood on a table, all six-foot-five of me, and I glowered at them and said,
here you are, working all of your professional lives or most of your professional
lives, proving that the impacts of DDT are substantial on wildlife populations









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across North America, if not the world, and here at the eleventh hour you are
getting a bit flinty because the opposing lawyers are [trying to] chop [you up]. I
said, for God=s sake, you [have] got to [be] made of sterner stuff than that. Well,
after they calmed down, they said the representation from the Justice
Department is just so bad. The lawyers for the Olin company are rude and cut in
on us, we are not able to finish sentences, and the Justice Department lawyers
are totally hopeless. They do not know anything about the case, and it is almost
like it is rigged. So, I got down from the table and went into one of the other
rooms, and there is a telephone that, if you are in the sub-cabinet, you can call,
which is one of the operating services of the White House, and they will plug you
in to anybody you want. I took an enormous chance because I really did not
know John Mitchell very well, but he was Attorney General. I called him, and he
came right on the line. He said, what=s up? I said, General, here is the situation,
and I described the situation. He roared with laughter. He said, of course, you
know that John Olin is one of Nixon=s major contributors and one of his closest
friends. I said, I was aware of that, General, but I thought that the DDT case
overcame any political connections. He roared with laughter and he said, you are
absolutely right; it does. I will tell you what, tell them that the head of the Lands
Division will work tonight with a group of young lawyers, and although it does not
seem possible that they are going to be in fighting-form tomorrow morning, they
will be. With that, he hung up. I went back in the room and I told this story, and
everybody said, it is not possible. This is the most confusing [issue]. How do you
explain the problems of DDT and eggshell thinning, etc., etc., etc? All I know is, I
went the next day, and there were three haggard young lawyers from the Justice
Department and the head of the Lands Division sitting at the bench. They
objected the moment anybody got overwrought. They objected, they pounded the
table, they cross-examined the other lawyers. I mean, it was a completely
different scene. They came to defend these members of the federal
establishment, and it was a great show. I left the courtroom and everybody, all of
the feds, came into an anteroom, and they all said, we are here to stay. We won
that case.

P: It is my understanding that when EPA tried to ban DDT, Nixon explicitly opposed
that. Is that correct?

R: I do not know that. John Olin was a very, very close friend of the president and
became a friend of mine. We agreed never to speak about DDT together. We
only spoke about the problems of the mismanagement of Atlantic salmon.
Russell Train [head of EPA] would be a better person to ask on that subject, but I
think it was banned by executive order, if I am not mistaken, and then the
executive order was challenged in a court of law. Where I come in, in the spring
or summer of 1971, is the preparation of the Presidential Executive order.

P: Let me back up a little bit and talk about when you started in your business, and









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your business had quite a bit to do with land-development. Have you ever had
any conflicts between your environmental goals and your business as a builder?

R: I do not think so. I would think that we have been so generous with our land gifts.
You know, hindsight is always perfect. I might have spared more of the complete
jungle that was Jupiter Island in the central ridge than we did. Much to my wife=s
displeasure, I gave a lot [of land] to the Nature Conservancy, which is the best
example of the jungle system, from the ocean down past the third dune. It is
absolutely a superb piece of land, small, but rare. Between the gifts at the north
end to the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Hobe Sound National Wildlife
Refuge, and the south end to the Nature Conservancy, the Blowing Rocks
Preserve, it is uniquely blessed by natural open space. As my mother was dying,
she was looking out her window, which is the house next door, looking across the
way, and she said, of all the things we ever did together, Nathaniel, that is the
most astonishing. When you think that we put together three and a half miles of
land, in a matter of days, forever green. It would be solid condominiums and
docks now. There would be no place for the manatees at all. What you are
looking at is a zone, right here, of bottomgrass, which we often have as many as
500 manatees here in the wintertime. This is the southernmost part where there
is grass. There is really nothing for them to eat from Jupiter to the warm water
discharge at Riviera Beach from the power plant. Florida Power and Light Power
Plant has a discharge down there, which attracts 400 or 500 manatees. They got
to back out of that discharge line, roar up here at nighttime and feed for three or
four days before the next cold front comes in, nearly seventy-five, eighty, ninety,
hundred pounds of wet grass, and then they will slip back into the power plant
discharge line, wait for the cold to go by. This is really something to see in the
wintertime. Then in the spring, we often get the northern migration and mating. I
mean, the children got their first experience in gang rape right in front of the
seawall here when they were six, seven and eight, with male manatees giving a
female manatee a very rough time. My wife was not a bit pleased with me for
taking my eldest out in a raft in the middle of this contorted battle. It was great
fun. He has never forgotten it, I have never forgotten, she has never forgotten it,
for different reasons.

P: I notice that, in your speech at Deerfield, you referred to the forces of Agreed and
avarice.@

R: I have used that term, avarice and greed, all of my life, because that is really the
story of the destruction of south Florida, southwest Florida, the
Orlando/Deltona/Tampa beltway. You can develop wisely, retaining the natural
value of the land, and the properties become more valuable. I have had the
experience of doing, obviously, these very large properties on Jupiter Island,
acreBtwo-acre, three-acre, four-acre estatesBand then I have developed over in
both the African-American community and in the working[-class] community of









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Hobe Sound. In Hobe Sound, I have developed a real town, and the same could
be said for the African-American community called Banner Lake, a town, a
school, a child-care center, all the facilities. Athletic fields. We gave them my
fathers name. The J.V.R. Park is the best hometown park that you could
imagine, with baseball, football, tennis courts, basketball. It is the center of
activity for young people and their parents in this community. Dad gave the
[elementary] school site. Very controversial times, just after integration. He gave
it on the east side of the railroad tracks, which was considered a no-no in south
Florida, that blacks would not be coming across the east side of the railroad
tracks. Thirty-five years ago, my wife and I established the first child-care center
in this part of the world, supported by my father and by a marvelous, marvelous
woman [Mrs. Van Allen Clark] who was [a] great heir of the Avon products
fortune. We failed, in the sense that we did not have a permanent building, and
we were chased by the health department. We learned about racism early in our
married life. We were chased from very good quarters and various churches that
were far better than having the children living underneath their parents= houses.
We fed them, we bathed them, we began their education process, and yet we
were chased from building to building to building because of some ridiculous
sanitary code or fire code or something. So the island residents raised the money
for a magnificent child-care center, and my father gave the piece of land directly
across from the Hobe Sound [elementary] school. A child going to the child-care
center, in a sense, knows where he is going when he walks out of the door every
day, and in the afternoon, he can look across the street and there is the school
that he or she is going to. Thirty-five years ago, the thought that, at that time, a
100 percent child-care center for black children would ever be integrated was a
long shot, to say the least. Alita and I will never forget the first white mother who
called us up and said, may I enter my child? Then another parent called and
said, may I enter my child? We had a beautiful building, and we had a marvelous
headmistress, who was African-American, brilliantly trained. Within a very short
period of time, we were completely integrated. We have a fantastic staff, and it
remains a monument to the people of Jupiter Island. They have [also] given [a]
magnificent YMCA, fully staffed, with the best equipment, basketball court,
guidance people there every afternoon and evening. Any student who needs help
with their homework gets it there. The athletic program at the J.V.R. park is one
of the best-run you have ever laid eyes on. We have a marvelous man from the
county, but it is the volunteer mothers and dads that make it the most exciting
little park. I sponsor a baseball team in the spring. My team this year looks like
they all had left hands and left feet, but they have the most wonderful time. My
grandson is going to be playing there next year. So I think a developer, which I
am and I am not, but a developer can do very well in Florida if he does it very
well. Tomorrow, I will take you for a drive. It is really remarkable how quality
stands up to the test of time and becomes more valuable probably because it is
more unique, you know, where there is so much shoddy workmanship and so
much badly-conceived development in this state.









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P: I want to talk about your relationship with Claude Kirk [Florida governor, 1967-
1971]. When and why did you agree to serve in the Kirk administration?

R: Well, I have to go back [to when] we met each other. I had been very interested
in taking the Republican party away from a small clique that ran it out of St.
Petersburg in the 1960s. Our local druggist here in Hobe Sound, who was named
William ABill Murfin, ran for party chairman. Bill came from Pittsburgh, I believe,
and he was an honest, decent man with great foresight. I helped finance a very
strong campaign against the St. Petersburg clique.

P: This is Bill Cramer [Republican congressman]?



R: It was Bill Cramer=s outfit, and to everybody=s surprise, Bill Murfin won. After he
won, one day he said to me, you got to meet this extraordinary fellow from
Jacksonville who is running for governor. I met him in the hot months, July or
August, and we immediately had a good chemical reaction. There are many
things to be said about Claude Kirk, but one thing I think everybody would agree
to is that there are two enormous strengths. One is boundless enthusiasm.
Claude Kirk is a man who wakes up every day thrilled to be alive and ready to do
something, good, bad or indifferent, but ready to charge something, no matter
what. Secondly, my father was a wit. Now, there is a difference between a wit
and somebody who is funny. Claude Kirk is [also] a wit. Claude Kirk can be
funny, and sometimes he can be funny and very rude, but he also has a very
finely-developed intelligent sense of wit. Little known to the vast majority of
Floridians, he is a very kind man. I will give you an example. After he had won
the election, there was a terrible project in Miami called Interama. It was going to
be a huge international assemblage of buildings built by South American and
Central American governments on a magnificent piece of land on the mainland
side of Miami Beach that was owned by the state of Florida. These buildings
were going to be a permanent exposition of South American and Central
American arts, crafts and industry. Kirk was suspicious that it was a fraud. I went
down and met with the acting director and the president of Interama and so on
and so forth and actually hired out of my own pocket an auditing firm to come in
and have a look at the books. They had spent millions of dollars and except for
marvelous models, which they had plenty of, it was a bust. There was nobody
signed up. The General Motors building, the Ford building, the building of
Honduras, the building of Nicaragua, all of these were in this magnificent
unbelievable panoramic model, but there were absolutely no commitments other
than saying what a marvelous and interesting idea. So Kirk immediately inserted
himself into the decision-making process, and who should be titularly the head of
Interama but the mayor of Dade County, Bob King High, who Claude had beaten
[in the 1966 Florida gubernatorial race]. We had this huge meeting in the Miami









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International Airport in one of those meeting rooms, one of those conference
rooms. I presented the auditors report. I mean, this was within weeks after
Claude was inaugurated, probably February. I went through the whole thing, and
then everybody spoke. I went around to stand behind Kirk, and as I went behind
Kirk, Bob King High moved his hand through his hair. Out of his hair came more
hair than Hobi, my dog, throws off in a month. The hair literally fell out of his
head. On the airplane going back to Tallahassee, I said, Governor, I do not know
what to make of this, and I told him the story with Bob when he moved his hand
across his head. The governor said, it is nothing we can be proud of; I have killed
him--this is a man who dreamt to be governor of this state, highly qualified to be
governor of this state, a fine and decent man who has the misfortune of being
labeled a Dade County liberal and [draws] me to run against him. It rain[ed] in
[Democratic] areas of Florida that day, the election day, which makes the
Democratic turnout very, very low, and I beat him. What we got to do is pull this
Interama thing, put it to bed, but we are going to do it without hurting Bob King
High. That exposed a streak right then and there within the first thirty or forty or
fifty days of Kirk=s reign that there was an enormous soft spot in the man that I
enormously admired. I admire it to this day. Claude basically was a populist. He
was a lousy conservative Republican. That was all an act, all of that thunder and
lightning. That was put on with the insane people around him who told him he
could be vice-president of the United States and so on and so forth, and he
believed themBhe really did not believe them, if you want to know the honest
truth, because he knew that his problems with alcohol, his problems with ladies,
were probably never to going allow him to escape scrutiny. But, you know, a lot
of people have two lives, and Claude had many different lives. Jim Apthorp,
whom you may know who is just one of the greatest men in the state, was
working in the Secretary of State=s office in those days, now running the Collins
Center in Tallahassee. Jim has given the [best] purview of Kirk of anybody I have
ever known, and that is Anobody ever enjoyed being governor as much as
Claude Kirk!@ That is true. Everyday was a chance to do something, good, bad,
or indifferent, for the state of Florida. He would pick up a telephone and call
someone. He would read thirty newspapers, and he would see some story about
a kid. Do you remember the kid on the sidewalk trying to sell lemonade and then
he was closed up. []Kirk opened the kid=s lemonade stand in person.] That was
the kind of story. That is what I mean. He was a populist. He would read about
some terrible story of pollution in some place. I was dragged into the office, go
find out what the hell is going on down there. Now, there were some astonishing
moments, and maybe I really should not tell them until Claude=s death, but do
you know, one nightBI had two children and we were living in a farmhouse
outside of TallahasseeBthe telephone rang at 11:00 at night. The governor had
had a great deal to drink, and that day I had been fighting all day long[BI was
exhausted]. A tramp ship had come into Tampa Harbor, under Panamanian
registry, leaking oil. I had to pull [the ship] into a Coast Guard dock, and I had an
oil container put around it. I had the portmaster seize the boat, and I had to try to









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figure out in the late afternoonBbeyond ownership, which was fictitious, you
know, it was a Panamanian flagBhow to pump the oil out of it. What was the
liability of my ordering the state [to do this]? 11:00 at night, the governor calls. He
[asks], is that boat still over there in Tampa? I said, it sure is, it is not going
anywhere. He said, I have a sneaking feeling they are going to try to get out of
the port tonight. I said no, Governor, they are not going to be able to get out of
the port tonight. The crew has been taken off the boat, and it is inside of a
containerized [oil retention] system, moreover, so that the oil cannot get out. He
said, I am telling you that they are going to try to get out tonight, and I want you
to call the head of the National Guard, General Macmillan, and have him take a
howitzer down on the dock and aim it at the bridge. If those sons of bitches try to
take the boat out tonight, blast them. I said, well, thank you, Governor, I will take
this under advisement. He said no, do not take this under advisement, this is a
direct order. So now, I go back and my wife sees me walking up and down our
little living room in the farmhouse, and I said, this is what my order is. She said, I
think you really ought to call General Macmillan. General Macmillan was a very,
very serious man who did not have much of a sense of humor, so he was not
very pleased about being wakened at 11:30 at night with a brand-new kid in
Claude Kirk=s staff saying, what do you think about this order? The general said,
Nathaniel, I think it would be very unwise for me to wake up a howitzer
detachment and take it down to the docks in Tampa and aim the goddamn thing
at the ship. Even if we did not have any ammunition in the thing, I do not think it
is a great idea. I said, General, I will make a deal. I never made this telephone
call. He said, that is a great deal; let us both go back to bed. Nervously, I went
back to bed. The telephone rings at 6:00. We got up at 6:15. The governor, cold
sober, a lot of coffee in him. Nathaniel. Yes, Governor. Everything all right? Yes,
Governor, everything is fine. Nathaniel, did I speak to you last night? Yes,
Governor, you did. There was a long pause. Did I tell you to do something that
you probably should not have done? I said yes, you told me to do something, and
I did not do it. He said, that is a very good boy, thank you very much, and hung
up. It was not mentioned again for four or five days. He came into my office,
which was the size of a broom closet, and he closed the door. He [asked], what
was it that I told you to do? I told him, and he put his hands up around his head
and said, oh God, oh God, thank God. He said, is the general safe? I said, the
general is safe. The general never got the call. That general will take an oath of
office, he never got the call. [Claude Kirk] was a populist. He loved the underdog,
the little guy. I will tell you one more story. In February or March after election,
the country club in Tallahassee, a seat of Confederacy and of segregation. The
governor was invited by the officers of the club to come and address them. The
attorney general was Richard Ervin, a marvelous man, and he sat next to the
governor. At the appropriate time, the president of the club asked all the waiters
to leave. The governor got up and said no, I know I am your guest, but I want all
the waiters and all the help from the kitchen and all from the front of the club to
come in. There was absolute silence. There must of been eighty or ninety at the









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luncheon. The president of the club said, all right, so [the help] came in and stood
against the walls. The governor said, if you think I am going to support
segregation, if you think I am going to [stand at school doors] like George
Wallace [a reference to Wallace=s orchestration of resistance to the
desegregation of the University of Alabama], you are wrong. I am not going to,
and I want everybody in this room, waiters, waitresses, cooks, and all of you
[members] to know, it is over; we move on. Now, we were met with deathly
silence. When I got in the car, one of the troopers turned around. It was really
funny, one of the white troopers turned around and said, it had to be said,
Governor. Good stuff.

P: Did you support him in the election of 1966?

R: Yes. I raised money, and this is the most bizarre part of the story. Hold your hat.
Very few people know this. He called me up on election day. He was in
Jacksonville. He voted in Jacksonville. He said, what are you doing tonight? I
said, I am having dinner with Bill Murfin and his wife and Doc Myers, who
became our state senator, and his wife. And he said, and with me. I am flying in. I
said, Claude, what the hell are you talking about? You got to go to a great big
center. If you win, you got to be on television. He said no, I am coming down to
have dinner with you. So, I went up to Stuart and picked him up. I do not know
who rented him an airplane. That was about 6:00 at night. We came in, and I
think we had two large cocktails and then we had a delicious dinner. [We had] a
wonderful cook. Finally, it was about 8:00, and there was a bottle of brandy. Bill
Murfin said, I want to turn on the television. Claude said, Bill, relax, I have won.
Do you know, up until that moment, I had never really considered what would
happen if Claude Kirk won. [The campaign] had been more fun than a barrel of
monkeys. We played [the card game] hearts in the DC-3 [campaign airplane]
across the state as if your life depended upon who got the queen and who got
the jack. The scores were kept day after day, week after week. The scene was
this: as you got back into the DC-3 and the gangplank came up and closed,
everybody would wave, and then you would pull off your shirts because it was
always boiling wherever you were. We would hang our shirts up so that they
would survive. It was a three- or four-shirt day, but you tried not to use six shirts
in one day. In T-shirts, we would sit down around the table and play hearts, and
scream and yell, you dirty dog, how dare you slip me the queen. All of those
things. As I said, the score continued city to city to city. He was here the night he
was elected. Everybody in the state was looking for him. He was here at our
home.

P: Why do you think he beat Bob King High [mayor of Dade County]?


R: I think it was Kirk=s boundless enthusiasm. The terrible, you know, campaign in









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this state, that still works, from conservative versus liberal, you know, I am the
conservative [and] he is the liberal, without any definitions of what a conservative
stands for or what. The great environmental spiel of that campaign was that Bob
King High was trying to say what a good environmentalistBor in those days, it
was a conservationistBhe was. When the press corps would attack Kirk and say,
what do you have to say for conservation in Florida, he would say, Nat Reed is
writing the AWhite Papers.@ Well, that was news to me. As a matter of fact, the
AWhite Papers@ never got written because I never had enough time to write
them. The press would occasionally call in on me, and I would say, well, we are
for ending the destruction of wetlands, we are ending dredge-and-filling, we are
for cleaning up the state[=s pollution]. Can you imagine that, at that time, for
South Florida alone, there was only one sewage-treatment plant, [it] was at
Tampa [and] had [only] primary [treatment]. Everything else was raw to the
ocean, or raw to the rivers. Raw. A series of pipes came out off Miami Beach that
produced millions of gallons of untreated sewage a day. It was called the rose
bowl. It had a strange pink color to it. It attracted birds and fish, thousands. I
learned what a Afloatable@ was. A Afloatable@ is what comes out and floats, and
it goes to the beaches, obviously. Every morning at predawn, machines used to
run up and down [seventy-five miles from] Miami Beach [to Palm Beach] scouring
the top of the sand collecting the floatables. When I started my campaign, Claude
was fantastic. I mean, it could never have been done without him. He threatened
the mayors of a number of cities in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County.
When I would have these meetings, he would pull all the mayors together plus
the county officials and say, okay, we are going into enforcement actions now,
with a time schedule for construction of regional sewage treatment plants. There
was a great scene in Miami. One of the mayors came into the room and said, Al
will not sit down at a table with that man.@ AWhat do you mean you will not sit
down at the table with that man? That is another mayor.@ He said, Ahe is a
horses ass, and I will not sit at the table with him.@ In other places, they disliked
each other so intensely that you would begin a conversation in showing them a
map of conceptual regionalization, and people would almost strike [a perceived
enemy] across the table. AYou know, you did that to me last week at your
meeting. You screwed up that road business or this school@ or whatever it was. I
mean, they had old wounds. And Kirk, when I would come back to Tallahassee
saying, I got nothing, he would call them one by one. He had the telephone
numbers put on his desk and he would call them and say, Mayor Jones, Mayor
Smith, Mayor Gonzales, Mayor this, if you are not back at the table in two weeks
when Nat Reed calls the meeting, I am taking you out of office for misfeasance,
malfeasance, or nonfeasance. He said, do not tell me which one of the
feasances I am going to use, I may use all of them. You get your ass at that
meeting and make sense, or you are gone. These guys all thought he was crazy,
absolutely mad, that he would do all that. Then he began doing it. He began
removing people. Snag Thompson, the sheriff of Lee County, he would move
Snag out, Snag would be put back in [by the State Senate], the governor would









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[fire] him [again]. I was over there for a big conference on dredge-and-fill with a
whole bunch of legislators, and after the evening conference was over, they all
said, we are going to this wonderful barbecue; come on, Nat, we are going to this
barbecue. I jumped in the car, roared off, and we are going into the woods. It was
the damndest thing. Here we were going east into the woods. I thought I was
going to a barbecue. We arrived at Snag Thompson=s camp in the woods, which
is a full gambling [outfit]. The deputies are running the tables, and all these
members of the legislature [were playing]. I got something to eat, and I sat on the
hood of a car. It was buggy as hell, and I said, I cannot go in there. If I go in there
and the governor finds out about it, if anybody finds out about it, I will never have
a political career. I finally persuaded one of the deputies to drive me back to my
hotel. That scene at Snag Thompson=s gambling center was [truly] amazing.

P: In my interview with Claude Kirk, he told me that he really developed a
commitment to environmental issues mainly because of you. Do you think that is
correct, or did he have some interest in conservation?

R: He had no interest in conservation, but he had an interest in whoever was the
lowest guy on the totem pole and, at that time, conservation was the lowest thing
in anybody=s mind in Florida. It was rape and run, avarice and greed. Make
money now, and do not worry about the future. So, the little old ladies in tennis
shoes, remember the environmental movement in Florida was dominated by
women. I mean, you start in Miami and work your way north to the panhandle...

P: Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

R: And Alice Wainwright. I cannot do them all. You got me at a senior moment. A
wonderful woman, Polly Redford, the fight over the Biscayne Bay. Polly was the
big battler over the proposed oil refinery on Biscayne Bay. Marjorie Stoneman
Douglas was Everglades. Alice Wainwright was downtown Miami, Everglades,
and county parks. [Then there was] Helen Morrison. She must be ninety. I spoke
to her just the other day. She called for advice, as people do every day all over
the state, about a permit on a [hometown] creek. Helen was one of the first
people who took on the Cross-State Barge Canal, she and Marjorie Carr. You
just go on and on and on. It can be jokingly said that they had more time on their
hands. That is not fair at all. They were real warriors.

P: They could have been playing golf.

R: Exactly. They could have been knitting. In Archie=s [Carr] case, Archie was
totally brilliant, probably understood Florida ecosystems as well as, you know,
the famous Art Marshall. The two of them, in my mind, are on a pinnacle. But
Archie hated a fight. He really did not want to take his scientific knowledge and
go before a water management district board and say, you are getting ready to









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screw up, or [an Army] Corps of Engineers= meeting and say, you are getting
ready to screw up. It was a wonderful combination in the sense that his wifeBwho
loved confrontation, absolutely, it kept her alive all those yearsBshe now had a
source of science [the professors at University of Florida]: It is somewhat like me.
What I discovered in Art Marshall was that I no longer could winBand this is in the
Deerfield speechBon pure emotions. I had to produce good science. I had no
scientific background. Therefore, I had to attract scientists to me, starting the
moment I went to Kirk. I picked up Art Marshall, I picked up Archie Carr, I picked
up Odom, I picked Skip Livingston up at FSU [Florida State University]. All of the
gang at the University of Miami were mine. Oscar Owre, Durban Tabb. You
name it. Forestry, marine sciences, estuarine sciences, you name it. These guys
were on the phone with me, I am not kidding you, five days a week. I got a
problem in the Keys, I know who to call. Go down there and check it out, unpaid.
Go down and check it out and come back to me and tell me, is this really a
problem? And if it is really a problem, what are the solutions? That is why I
learned to write. I had learned to write in the military. The intelligence system
taught you to write clearly, concisely, in a short number of words because words
are expensive, especially if they are going in a top-secret machine in those days.
They cost big-time money. If you were sending a message to the Joint Chiefs [of
Staff], it had to be on a one-time-use code, and those codes supposedly cost
about $5,000 a page. You had to learn to write clearly, concisely. What is the
problem, and then what are the alternative solutions to the problem and what do
they cost in manpower and money? That is why I think I got along with Nixon so
well. Nixon, like Kirk and like many other people who are slightly dyslectic in their
speed readingBI have fantastic speed-reading because we were taught speed-
reading in the military intelligence. I read seven, eight newspapers a day. I read
French newspapers, English newspapers, American newspapers, and I
continued that when I got back home from Europe. I read in a normal day five,
six, or seven newspapers. I read four to this day. I have, as my mother said, an
extraordinary sense of curiosity. Nixon loved alternative solutions, and so did
Kirk. Kirk was the first one who ever took a pen and would take out part of
solution one and part of solution three and combine them. That is exactly what
Nixon did. Nixon never accepted one of my solutions. He picked from one and
little bit from two and a little bit from alternative three and then would circle them
and write R.N. on them. Go to it.

P: It had to be his.

R: That is a very perceptive observation. It had to be his. Also, in many cases, they
were better than mine. Not all, some were weaker. Yes, I suppose that certainly
in Nixon=s mythology, it would have to be him. In Claude=s, he learned as he
went. He also was enough of a politician to know that many of these decisions
were going to hurt him.









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P: Did that really affect him in the Republican party?

R: Yes.

P: Because a great many supporters disliked what he was doing.

R: Yes, and the Council of 100 meetings were awful. He would not let me go. The
Chamber of Commerce meetings. Ringhaver was the largest Caterpillar [tractor,
engine, and heavy-equipment products] dealer, and he told Claude to his face
that I was putting him out of business. There was a big dredging companyBI have
forgotten the name of itBthat did all the filling of Boca Ciega Bay and were up and
down the east coast. They made a big pitch. I know they were in the governors
office, and they made a big pitch. Claude pulled a Walter Hickel [former
Secretary of the Interior], story later on. Claude looked up and said, take your
dredges to the Bahamas; they are not going to be useful here in Florida. Walter
Hickel=s story was he got off of a boat ride down some wonderful wild river, and
the wool-growers were complaining that the coyotes had eaten up all their sheep,
that they were not killing enough coyotes, and Walter said, you ought to find
another business. Claude was that fast. Wally had many faults, like Claude, but
Wally was very quick too. When Claude looked up from his desk and said, take
your dredges to the Bahamas, you are finished here, it was one of the great lines
I have ever been associated with.

P: Did it not take a lot of political courage for a Republican governor in a Democratic
state who was going to run for re-election to take that kind of stand?

R: Yes. I think he honestly thought that his bold populism was going to carry him
through. Reubin [Askew, Governor of Florida, 1970-78], you know, he handled a
great deal of my legislation. Governor Kirk always said, why in the world do you
give Reubin Askew anything to do for us? I used to say, because he gets it done.
He said, I have never seen a more unlikely person to get anything done for us in
the world than Reubin Askew. Often, Chuck Perry [first president of Florida
International University] and Wade Hopping [Kirk aide] and I would be leaving the
governors office at some god-awful hour, like 8:30 PM, trying to find someplace
still open in Tallahassee to get something to eat, and Reubin Askew would be
walking out of his offices across the Capitol. The four of us would talk together in
the darkness, seriously. This is absolutely true. I had the most enormous respect
for him. He is like one of those great Presbyterian elders who comes into your
life. We never had as good a time together, but his motivation, the purity of his
motivation, and the focus that he could put on the problem was really totally
astonishing. In many respects, I hated to leave him in May of 1971 to take on the
assistant secretaryship [U.S. Department of Interior]. The reason I did was that
after nearly four and a half years, three and a half years of permitting, and the
problems of permitting and the problems of compliance and the problems of









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getting these cities cleaned up and the industry cleaned up, I was exhausted and
I had lost my touch, even though I did a lot of work with the state park system,
with Ney Landrum, bless his soul, the director of state parks. A wonderful,
wonderful man. [We] passed the first bond issue. Claude Kirk supported it. I
traveled to every editorial board in the state. A big deal, $20,000,000. Can you
imagine that? That was our states first green bond issue. But the [federal] land
and conversation fund was full that year. I got $20,000,000 worth of federal
money. Then I matched it against some other [local county] grants, and I got
another $10,000,000 or $15,000,000, so we [the state] had $45,000,000. We
bought some of the most marvelous pieces of land you have ever laid eyes on. I
mean, they have held up marvelously well.

P: You spoke about dredging. Talk a little bit about the Randall Act of 1967.

R: Yes, Ted Randall.

P: How did you get those kind of acts passed through the Democratic legislature?

R: We just screamed and yelled, and we went down to dredge-and-fills and said
absolutely outrageous...of course, the big battle was on the Tuesday meeting of
the governor and the cabinet, where poor old Bob Parker, who was the head of
the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, would bring in these terrible
proposed submerged-land sales, because he had been trained that this was how
Florida got its spending money, was the sale of land. [The state of Florida] sold
upland and submerged land, and then you sold a dredging permit. Then the
dredger got a permit from Randolph Hodges [Director of the Department of
Natural Resources] and from the [Army] Corps of Engineers, and that was it. The
developer filled the land. Bob Parker was a gentle, [kind] man, and Claude
decided to demonize himBthat could be the cruel streak of ClaudeBthat he was
the Democratic henchman selling off priceless bottom[lands] of Florida. I mean,
Claude did not know what a bottom was or what a mangrove jungle was. I had to
wade him through a mangrove jungle. He learned from buttonwood to white
mangrove to black mangrove to red mangrove in less than an hour. He was up to
his waist in muck, and he could identify the leaves. Art Marshall was there
explaining the mangrove cycle to him, and he got it. You know, one acre of
mangroves produces enough leaves to fertilize 100 acres of submerged aquatic
grasses, and the mystery and marvel of the submerged grasses and the
mangrove forest, the connection, how one fertilizes the other and how the other
one is protected by the grass, a classic case of symbiotic relationships. Anyway,
the Democrats of the cabinet members were all in cahoots with selling land, so
this was a natural one for Claude to [take on].


P: It was a good clear issue for him.









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R: Absolute clear issue. Everybody could understand. Everybody in the state was
getting terribly upset about the filling of land and making instant islands, and
Boca Ciega Bay was in everything. Here was this gentle little guy named Ted
Randall, and he [drew a proposed legislative act] which was absolutely hopeless.
It would not have done anything. The major environmental players in the state,
good lawyers, came together and rewrote the act and made it the tough act. It
was really quite a scene because [when] Ted came in [and reviewed his draft], it
had no resemblance to the original draft. He stood there, and he started shaking
all over. This was going to be his defeat, but it was going to be his lasting
monument. He said, at least keep my name on it, and everybody said, your name
is forever on it, it is the Randall Act. Just like the Titanic. We thought this thing
was going to sink. Well, Claude Kirk stumped this freaking state, saying, tell the
members of our legislature to save Florida=s environment, the Randall Act must
pass.

P: And Claude Kirk is an intelligent enough politician, even as a populist, to know
that conservation really did not resonate in the state. There could not have been
a lot of public support.

R: [Quoting a mock speech of Kirk:] AWell, it is those damned Democrats and
damned developers getting the best of you; they are buying Florida $0.03 on the
dollar, and they are filling the land and making millions.@ It was wild, it was wild,
and it passed [the legislature]. There were great moments in both the House and
the Senate. I mean, [Senator] Jack Mathews got upByou know, Jack was one of
the best we ever hadBand he actually ordered me to the anteroom and said,
Nathaniel, do you think this is all right? I said, Senator, this is the most important
piece of environmental legislation ever. He said, yes, I know that, but is it all
right? I mean, we scared the holy hell out of everybody. You look at the numbers
of submerged-land acreage sold after the passage, and it goes like this. [In the
final Kirk year, the submerged land sales went down to eleven [or] twelve acres a
year, and under Reubin [Askew] it goes nine, seven, five, three, one, zero.

P: You were appointed as the head of Air and Water Pollution Control Department.

R: Yes.

P: What specifically were your duties?

18: There was first the panel [the Pollution Control Commission]. The panel was the
governor, the attorney general. Golly day, I cannot remember who served. I think we had
three cabinet members and myself At that time, though, [the] whole pollution control
was run by the state health department. There were two famous doctors, Dr. Sauter and
Dr. Lee. They could not explain in English why we had no law, and if we did have law,
why we had no compliance. Everything was voluntary. So, it was turned over to this









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board first, and that lasted until the legislature met and the governor declared it had to
become a department of Florida. It was very funny. The bill passed on the last day of the
legislative session. The governor rushed into my office and said, I just looked at the bill.
There is no appropriation. [The governor] called for a meeting between the Speaker [of
the Florida House of Representatives], [who] was Ralph Turlington, and the president of
the Senate, which was Jack Mathews. They are to meet you in the rotunda in two
minutes. I had not even thought about what a starting budget should be in the department.
Wade Hopping sort of stuck his head out of the office and said, well, what are you
thinking about? I said, well, I do not know. What do you think it would cost to attract the
skeleton staff to put a department together? He said, hell, I do not know. He said, ask for
a couple of million dollars. I said, that is a good idea. I thought $2,000,000 was a hell of a
lot of money. So, I met Ralph and Jack. Newspapermen all around us and crowds of
lobbyists. Ralph said, how much money do you think you need, Nathaniel, to get started?
I said, Mr. Speaker, I really do not know. This sounds like an awful lot of money, [but] I
might need $2,000,000. Jack laughed and said, Nathaniel, you are going to need more
than $2,000,000. I knew Jack very well and I said, Jack, do you think so? And he said,
yes. He said, Ralph, let us start him off at $5,000,000, and Ralph said fine, Jack, let us
start him off at $5,000,000. That is how we got our first appropriation. With that, I hired
the senior staff and rented an office. I did not how to rent office space, Wade had to do
that. And a long journey began.

P: Early on, one of the issues was air pollution, St. Joseph Paper Company, Georgia Pacific,
Buckeye Cellulose, Jacksonville used to always smell horrible. How did you approach
that particular issue?


19: It came after the establishment of the water-quality hearings. It was really one of the
funniest stories of my whole life. The governor assigned Wade Hopping to be my counsel
for the water-quality hearings. Two young men in the attorney generals office, previous
to the Kirk election, had written up a surprisingly good synopsis of the problems of
Florida=s water pollution. I took that and went to Atlanta and worked for days with the
head of the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration. They had two of the best
men that ever lived. Paul Traina was one. I cannot think of the name of the other man.
We sat down, and we wrote out what we thought the water-quality standards should be,
both in narrative form and in parts per million and billion. [Standards for] a lot of
chemicals are not hard to do. Then there are a lot of nutrient problems coming off
agricultural drainage which are very hard to do. Those narrative standards are still the
standards of the state of Florida today. I attempted to change them under Governor
Martinez and was unable to. Perhaps they are still the best way, which is basically that
you may not change the flora or fauna of the receiving water owned by the public of
Florida. In the sugarcane instance, it does not matter whether it is ten parts per billion. If
ten parts per billion [or] more than ten parts per billion, will change the flora of the
Everglades, then you are in violation. Not saying you must get your waste to twenty parts









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per billion. If your waste, regardless of how low they are, containing phosphorus or other
nutrients, creates an imbalance, you are in violation. Anyway, we ordered up a room in
the old Game and Fish building for the first meeting to go over the parameters of the
recommended water-quality standards for the state of Florida. There were handouts. We
published them in the newspapers of Florida. We did all the right things. By that time, we
had gotten smart enough to know how to use the administrative [code] rule book. It was a
beautiful summer day, and Wade and I were walking over discussing how long the
meeting possibly could take and we noticed a very long line of people standing all the
way into the Game and Fish building. We were so innocent, so completely and
wonderfully naively innocent. We said to one another, I wonder what kind of a meeting
Earl Frye is having today. I said, I bet it is about the duck season. Duck season in Florida
always causes problems. [Florida has a difficult] duck season: the number of days, where,
how many ducks you can shoot in North Florida versus South Florida, more scrabbling
over duck hunting than you have ever heard. Never crossed our minds as we walked up
the stairs pushing our way through bodies into the [hearing] room. It was absolutely sold
out. It was packed. I mean, you could not have gotten a sardine in there. I stood up and
said, are you here for the water-quality hearings, the standards? Everybody said yes.
Wade said, this is the goddamndest thing I ever laid eyes on. We cannot possibly have
the meeting today. There were people all the way down into the street. He said, who are
they all? I do not know who they are. Must be every industry, every county, every city in
the state has got to be here. I said, holy-moley. So, I stood up and said, well, there are
obviously far too many of us to even consider having this meeting today. We will re-
publicize another date in a much bigger room. With that, everybody both groaned and
cheered. The two of us, a far, far humble pair, marched back to the govemor=s office to
report to the governor that we had never seen more people on the face of the earth. The
governor thought it was so funny. He said, you guys do not get it. This state does not
have any water-quality standards. Anybody can do anything they want. This is the first
form of regimentation, and they are not going to take it lightly. Set up another day. Better
take an auditorium, so we took an auditorium, literally an auditorium. Every lobbyist in
the state of Florida was there. Of course, they were all paid to attend. It was a field day.
They were wonderful scenes. I had some penalty for killing fish, and there was a lobbyist
who came with this great big basket of dead fish. I had a price for killing weak-fish or a
spotted sea trout, and he would hold one of these fish up in the air. He said, I have a
certificate that I bought this at the local fish market for $0.11 a pound, and you are
charging $4.00 per dead fish. As I said, none of the industry in the state of Florida would
come close to meeting our lowest standards. Of course, the real polluters were the paper
companies, the paint companies, citrus-processing plants. So, you had Jacksonville. You
had the [paper] plants on the St. Johns River. You had Mr. [Ed] Ball, a very powerful,
powerful figure. No sooner did we force them to the table to put in the most modem
water-pollution-control equipment, get them to sign. I had a wall board. I had a huge wall
board that showed every company in the state, every city and every county in the state; it
was like the War Room I used to operate in the military. It was the date that they received
notification of violation, they had a date to respond, they had a date to hire an engineer,









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they had a date that the engineer was to report to us, and then it would be agreement or
disagreement. If agreement, what was the time frame for completion and whether they
were on time. Then Vincent Patton, the first executive director [of the Pollution Control
Department], and I worked this thing out. You could walk in, and you could see every
company on the four walls. It was amazing.

P: What were the penalties for noncompliance?

R: They were not substantial, but I think I was modestly terrifying. I threatened death and
destruction, slow evisceration, and then there was always Kirk. You could turn him loose
on them. As a matter of fact, in reality, the vast majority of compliance was going to
occur after Kirk= s second run, because of the time-frames involved. These gigantic
sewage systems could not be built overnight. Funny things happen. Suddenly a county
like Palm Beach County would vie for a regional sewage treatment plant. At first, nobody
wanted a regional treatment plant. It was Anot in my backyard.@ Suddenly, various cities
said they wanted the regional treatment plant. Well, it meant construction work, and they
would always oversize the design-plans. It took me a long time to figure that out. They
would always oversize so that they would have more capacity for more construction, for
more development. Uncle [Sam] was paying 75 to 80 percent.

P: Saves them money.

R: The developers were all in there telling Mayor Jones, you get me a sewage treatment
plant, so suddenly we had people complying all over the state left and right. We thought,
my God, it must be the power of positive persuasion. It was not. It was the developers
terrified that they were going to not have enough capacity to build development X. The
things that you learn along on the way to the forum. [In no time] we have almost every
[city and county] in the state signed up and under consent decrees...that was a great day.
You realize that we mailed out in one day, and we notified the Tallahassee post office to
get ready, close to 3,000 registered letters. [The notices] went to every industrial polluter,
every city, every county in the state, in one day. You talk aboutBthis is a bad analogyBthe
shit hitting the fan, but I am telling you the newspapers went absolutely ballistic the next
day. The whole place was going absolutely wild. I will never forget the strawberry
growers over [in Plant City. Their wastes went raw into the nearest lakes and streams.]
Everybody wanted my head simultaneously. The governor would not give an inch. We
got to take this giant step forward. Philip Wiley wrote Alita and I a letter, saying after he
wrote the famous article for Collier=s [magazines] called Florida the Polluted Paradise,
that the Mafia warned him that one more article about polluted Florida and they would
kill him. He was worried about me, [he] insisted upon meeting us to tell us that I needed
to have a bodyguard. We had known Phil. I said, AI feel you have gone too far.@ He was
really worried.


P: There was a lot of money at stake.









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R: Oh, a fortune. I mean, we are talking about [hundreds of millions of dollars]. No sooner
did we have [that] then the [Clean Air Act] comes into force, so now I have to start all
over. All I remember is sitting at the desk one night saying, oh God, oh God, how could
this be happening to me? I mean, my God, I [have to go] out again. I got down to one
wonderful family-owned pulp paper plant on the St. Johns River. The name of the plant is
gone [from my memory]. The father was an ancient admirable figure. After I finished
telling him what he had to do to clean up his wasteload coming out of his stacks, I said, I
know this is tough, right on top of millions of dollars you are going to be spending on
cleaning up your water waste. He said, Nathaniel, I think very highly of youBhe had a
very deep Southern accentBbut I got to tell you, I hope I do not see you soon, soon or
soon, because every time you walk into my office, you are expensive! I think that is one
of the reasons I really wanted to get back to land and animals and birds and the Fish and
Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, [That prospect] was so attractive about
President Nixon= s offer to work for [Secretary of the Interior] Rogers Morton. Rogers
was an absolutely super, super guy. He did not like a fight, but he attracted a very
scrappy staff. He sort of ran interference with the Congress for us youngsters, and we got
[a tremendous amount accomplished].

P: How do you get people like Ed Ball to adhere to these standards? I think everybody who
knows about him knows what a powerful figure he was in the state.

R: He called Claude probably twice a week complaining about something, and he would
come to Tallahassee to his wonderful plantation. He organized a luncheon for me in
Jacksonville shortly after Claude=s inauguration. It was cold. It had to February or
March. A small state plane was placed at my disposal. I was picked up at the little
airfield. The big field had not been built yet. I was being driven to the City Club that was
on top of the Federal Building, [whose sewage] went raw onto the St. Johns, I might add.
I could not believe it, a federal building. A federal buildings toilets ran raw into the St.
Johns River! The trooper was driving me. We got to one of those wonderful bridges in
Jacksonville, and there was a strike going on by the painters for higher wages. I had the
trooper stop the car, and I [asked] one of the strikers, what are you striking for? He said,
our wage level is way low, and this is dangerous work, buddy. We are a long ways above
the river. I said, just as dangerous if you fell in. He laughed and he said, the crap that is
coming down this river is unbelievable. My entry into the Jacksonville Capital Club, I
thought, was screamingly funny, saying that I joined the strikers on the something-
something bridge, because I agreed with them that their wages might be too low and the
distance from the bridge to the water might be too high, but for sure, the water was so
polluted that they ought to be paid double. I thought it was terribly funny. It was met with
total silence. You have never laid a deader balloon at a luncheon. By the time I flew back
to Tallahassee, Claude walked into my little office and said, I have only had thirty-six
requests for your resignation. Ed [Ball] has been on the telephone for twenty minutes
saying, [Reed is] a lunatic that [the governor] have turned loose on Florida. I said, do you









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want me to go? He said, hell no, I want you to keep telling those sons of bitches just
exactly what it is going to take to clean this place up.

P: One of the issues also, and you fought this group quite a bit, is Big Sugar. Not only do
they pollute the water when they bum the cane....

R: I made the deal on the burning. You are faced with only two alternatives for taking the
leaves off cane. You cannot harvest cane with the leaves on them. You can use a
defoliant, which takes X number of days for the leaves to fall off, and the residual
defoliant runs into the Everglades, or you can bum and have a short period of very, very
hot fire that is all out in thirty-five minutes, forty minutes, it is gone. Burns up all of the
leaves, the dead leaves on the side of the stalk. The deal I struck with Sugar was, we have
got to have some protocol on when you can burn. We have got to make an agreement that
you will not bum when there is an inversion or when there is a west wind or a southwest
wind. The Florida forestry program in South Florida, [in fact, all through the state] has
excellent men every day who are up-to-date on temperature and the level of moisture in
the air. We made an agreement that they had to call in at noon, to get a permit to bum.
They had to have a permit to bum. This is true also in the woods. Mr. [Herbert] Stoddard,
who was the great expert on quail, had been told that I was against woods-burning, which
of course would have put the quail plantations out of business. [The sugar industry]
produced poor old Mr. Stoddard [the greatest expert on woodland plantation burning] at a
Jacksonville hearing saying that I was a communist taking the land away from the rich. I
had to get down from the podium and go over and put my arms around him and bellow
into his ear that I own land that I shot on, that I burned every year, that I was all for
burning but there had to be some new rules and regulations on burning, all of which he
would help craft, and Mr. Stoddard beamed all over when I used him as an advisor. But
the principal people who were the experts in burning were in the Florida Forestry
Service. If they believe an inversion is coming, you do not get a permit. Now, last
winter, there must have been some mistakes made because we had [sugarcane] bagasse
ash, several times, cover Palm Beach and southern Martin County. That should not
happen. Those were times that sugar companies burned, probably browbeating the
Florida Forestry Service, and the service gave in to them. [They] should not have [given
permits], because there is no reason to have bagasse fall on the east coast anymore. The
rules could not be clearer, and the Forestry Service and the weather department check off
every hour together and they know exactly when you should be allowed to burn and not
burn. For instance, I was not allowed to bur where I ranch this spring, the whole spring,
because we were in drought conditions and we never got a permit. We asked for a permit,
I think, forty or fifty times and the answer was no. The same process supposedly is [in
force] every day with the sugar industry. But I chose fire over the defoliating. Very
simple.

P: Another critical issue during this period of time was the jetport for the Everglades.









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R: Yes.

P: Explain your role in that controversy.

R: It started slowly. There is probably quite a bit of it in the book that you will be looking at
after dinner. [Bob] Patrick was one of my favorite members on the old Florida Flood
Control District, which is now the South Florida Water Management District. [He] called
and said that he had taken the district airplane and flown out over the skeleton into what
was to be the Big Cypress Jetport. He felt that it was right smack in the watershed of
Everglades National Park at the time when I was putting a tremendous amount of
emphasis, and Governor [Kirk] was with me in putting a lot of emphasis on restoring
water flows to the park. Claude had gone down and cut the ribbon, but he had only been
there for a very few minutes and it had been described to him as the jetport of the future.
Of course, anything to do with jetport of the future would have caught his attention.
Furthermore, Claude was convinced that if Miami could be uncorrupted, if there is such a
word, it would become the financial, medical, intellectual center of Central and South
America. He believed passionately that Miami was the gateway of Central and South
America into North America, and that is where trade would take place and prosper. Trade
would be fostered there. There would be tremendous medical centers, which there are at
the University of Miami. [There would be] tremendous education programs, which we
certainly have with the new university, Florida International University, which was not
even a concept at that time. We would be training South Americans and Central
Americans to speak English and to learn trades and to become lawyers and to run resorts
and how to become proper businessmen, all of which has come true. I went in and saw
the governor and I said, what do you know about this jetport? He said, not a damn thing.
It was on my schedule to go down, and I cut a ribbon, why? I said, I do not know. How
deeply committed are you? He said, well, I do not know. Why, is there a problem? I said,
I do not know. I just need to know what I am getting into. He said, I do not think you are
getting into anything. Go on down and take a look at it. I flew down and flew over the
site, landed. I think I must have gone out in the helicopter. Bob Patrick met me. I went
back and got a hold of Art Marshall, got him out there, got everybody from the
University of Miami, called Archie [Carr]. It was a fire drill, [I said], now. I do not need
you next week. I need you now.

P: They had already started the runway.

R: The governor ordered me prior to the meeting in Washington to [prepare] a series [of
questions regarding the proposed jetport]. We would have a meeting with Chuck Hall,
who was chairman of the board of the [Dade] Board of County Commissioners and the
staff of the airport. We met. I had appointed Art Marshall to the chair of my
environmental review committee for the Big Cypress Jetport. We worked very, very hard
on a series of questions that revolved around pollution control and land use, what the
impacts of the airport would have on the [publicly- and] privately-owned lands of the Big









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Cypress and what steps Dade County was willing to take to control the land use upstream
and downstream of the airport. Chuck Hall said, I will put together a team of consultants
and we will be able to give you answers in ninety days. He named the date, which we all
wrote down. There was a restaurant on the north side of Miami International Airport that
was owned by the MafiaBI am seriousBand it had one heck of a big room, a tremendous
room. There must have been about 180 [concerned people in attendance]. I sat in the
front row with Art Marshall. [Chuck] Hall was a great colorful character, and he was
dressed white on white. He had a white suit on, white shirt, white tie, white socks, white
shoes. He had the professional head of the airport authority and a whole bunch of
consultants sitting on the stage behind him, sort of in a horseshoe. We all had our pads,
and many people had listening devices and so on and so forth. The airport manager
started to reply to the list of questions. Question number one: what are you going to do to
mitigate water pollution from the double runways of the Everglades Jetport? He
answered, the answer is, this question is under study. Question number two: what plans
have you to control land-use decisions that are not in Dade County, [but] in Monroe
County and Lee and Collier CountiesBhow do you envision the multi-county
cooperation? The answer to this question is that it is under study. He answered nine in a
row. They read off nine questions, and nine times, it is under study. Well, my blood was
boiling. I stood up and [asked]Bthere were 121 questionsBifthe answer to the next 112
questions is that it is under study, [to] tell us now because we have got better things to do,
Mayor, than to sit here and have your man read off 121 questions and tell us 121 times
that it is under study. He starts screaming, you are a white militant. You are so crazy. I
hear you like butterflies, Reed. I tell you what we are going to do. We are going to build
you a hothouse out in the Everglades, we are going to fill it with butterflies, and I am
going to give you a net. You can go catch all the goddamn butterflies that you want to. I
said, Mr. Mayor, in this room are some of the finest ecological minds in the country. You
are insulting me and them. Just tell me, do you have an answer to any [of these
questions]? [You are a] white militant, I am telling you, you are nothing but a white
militant. This meeting is over and done with, and to hell with all of you. With that, he
stomped off. We all stood around and looked at each other, as if either we were from
Mars or he was from Mars, one or the other. Joe Browder [National Audubon Society=s
Florida activist] and Art Marshall and all of the troops from the University of Miami who
had really worked hard on the questionsBand they were not devious questionsB[stood in
shocked silence]. They were not questions set in stone to embarrass the Port Authority.
They were questions that any good ecologist would ask. Well, that was it. That was the
end of it. From there came the decision by Claude to call in the [Department of the]
Interior. That conversation led to the meeting at Russ Train=s house, the [Department of]
Interior and the White House. Russ Train is undersecretary of [the Department of
the] Interior. Claude calls the president up. Now, I have really scared the hell out
of Claude. This is right smack in the Big Cypress watershed, everything that we
are doing for the Everglades. So, Claude turns it around as that the wicked bad
Democratic politicians in Dade County are building this thing out in the middle of
the Everglades where they will screw up the environment, plus they will all make









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a fortune on the contracts, and it is a Democratic conspiracy.

P: Specifically Chuck Hall?


R: Chuck Hall and others. He had a long list of others. Kennedy [Dade County
Commissioner], the whole group of those guys on the commission at that time.
Most of them were quite dubious. President [Nixon] said, okay, here is what we
are going to do. Claude, come on up and brief Russ Train and Wally Hickel, and I
will let them brief me. If I think it is serious enough, I will get you all back again. I
persuaded Russ Train to allow Claude and I to come on Sunday afternoon at his
home on Woodland Drive. It never crossed my mind that I was going to buy the
house across the street a few years later. I sat on the floor with these gigantic
maps and drawings that explained the entire watershed, how it functioned.
Claude was terrific. He was a quick learner. He came up with, you know, the
shrimp industry is threatened and Florida Bay is threatened, Russ. I could hardly
get through the briefing. Russ immediately saw that we were in real trouble, but
he saw things that we did not see, because we did not know how complex it
would be to call something like this off, that you had DOT [Department of
Transportation] involved. Millions and millions of dollars had already been
expended. You had the FAA [Federal Aviation Authority], who is dying to have a
new airport. Why not? You had the entire base of Dade County. Of course, it
would have bankrupted them. One of the funniest stories of this whole thing is,
had it been built, not only would it have screwed up the Everglades and the Big
Cypress, it would have bankrupted Dade County. How would you have gotten
hundreds of thousands of people there and back again? I mean, you would have
had to build a huge system of roads, a light train. It is unimaginable how much it
would have cost to have operated it. It was just because the land was dirt-cheap
out there, and you could screw it up and nobody would know what you were
doing. The next day, we saw Wally. Hickel was still badly scarred from his
confirmation hearings, [when] all the environmentalists had really chewed him.
They [had] said, this man is totally inappropriate as Secretary of Interior, he is an
Alaska gold-digger, he is a developers man, no way should we let this man be
secretary. Wally was looking for issues to make his name on. He did not get
halfway through the briefing when he jumped up from his table and said,
goddamn it, we are going to stop this damn airport. It is going to destroy the
Everglades. [Wally] and John Volpe [Secretary of Transportation] did not get
along very well. They must have had some argument, and he said, I am going to
screw John Volpe as well. I have told this story many, many times. Anyway,
Nixon orders us all back. There are briefing papers and [lots of discussions], but
Nixon does not attend the meeting. It is in the Roosevelt Room of the White
House. John Ehrlichman [domestic affairs advisor to Nixon] handles the meeting,
He has already told Hickel and Volpe that he is pulling the plug on the jetport.
They are sitting, looking at each other like ice, two icy figures. Claude comes in,









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and Ehrlichman says, all right, here is the deal. We are pulling the cash, we are
shutting it down, but John Volpe has got to be given a minimum of seven or eight
days, because he has got to pull the plug at DOT and at the FAA, and we have
got a hell of a lot of money to pay off in Miami for two contractors. It is going to be
very expensive, and John needs total silence, Wally, Claude, Nathaniel, total
silence, total commitment. Put your bloody hands up. Everybody take an oath,
we are going to give John the amount of time that he needs to get everything
organized. His mouth hardly opening, Volpe said, Wally, do not screw me on this
one. Wally said, John, we are partners in the Nixon cabinet. How could you say
something like that to me? The meeting is over. We have taken the oath of the
Herodi. We go down the stairs, and Wally [asks], how are you getting back to the
airport, Claude? Claude said, we have got a car and a driver. He said no, no, no.
We are going in my limousine. The cabinet officers have big Cadillac limousines.
I jumped in the jump seat, there was a security officer and the driver, and Claude
and the secretary in the back. We pull away from the White House. This is a
gorgeous story. We pull away from the White House. We have not gone two
blocks, Wally slaps Claude on the knee. They were talking about what a hell of
meeting, and there was a marvelous man who was the chief environmental writer
for the New York Times who I was very fond ofBhis name is gone from me for the
momentBand Wally said, who makes the call? Claude said, you make the call
and I will follow. I turned around in the jump seat and I said, no, you do not. You
have just given your word. You are not going to do this. Wally had his little
address book out and he is punching in the numbers in his telephone, and he
gets [the reporter] on the line. [Wally] said, we have just left the White House.
God, Claude was good; I was terrific, I really slammed Volpe. They give this
interview. I am dying. I am absolutely dying. Claude comes on, oh, Wally was
terrific; he stood up for the environment, he stood up for the Everglades, [and] we
will be forever grateful. [The] Savior, the president, the greatest president in the
world, knocking out this damnable jetport in the middle of this environmentally-
sensitive area of Florida. We get back to Florida and I think, how am I going to
face the world tomorrow morning, because it was predictable. Front page of the
New York Times, ANixon Plans to Pull Jetport Plug.@ I think it may even be in
[his] book. The telephone rings at about 7:35 AM. I am in the office. It is John
Ehrlichman. He is screaming, who has done this? I said, I did not. He said, I did
not ask you whether you did or did not. Who did it? I said, I did not, and I am not
a squealer. I had nothing to do with it. It is absolutely outrageous. I agree with
you 100 percent. [He said,] goddamn that pair. But it was done.

P: That is probably one reason why Hickel got fired later.

R: Yes, that was one reason. Hickel kept on doing strange and marvelous things,
but what got him fired was, he wrote a really extraordinarily interesting letter to
[Nixon] saying, we ought to get out of this war [Vietnam] and then did the
unforgivable. The letter was fine, but he went and turned the letter over to thirty-









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six newspapers before the president got the letter. The president read about it in
the newspaper before he got Wally=s letter. He fired him on the spot. You do not
do that to Nixon. You do not do that to any president. Well, that is the end of our
story.

[Tape interrupted.]

P: Was this particular jetport issue a catalyst to the environmental movement?



R: Oh sure. It was on the front pages of every newspaper in the country, the
controversy of the Everglades, the drying Everglades. When Randolph Hodges
closed the gates at Tamiami Trail, ordered the [Flood Control District] to close the
gates to hold up this tiny amount of water in the drought of [1969 or
1970]BRandolph unilaterally, as the director of the Department of Natural
Resources, closed the Tamiami Trail heading from Everglades National Park
from Conservation Area #3 into the park. You have to believe me when I tell you
there was so little water it could not flow into the park in the first place. The wind
could blow it into the park, but it could not [flow]. There was just no water in
South Florida. So, it was this symbolic show of defiance to the federal
government that [Florida was] shutting the gates down and preserving the water
for the South Florida utilities and whatever agriculture could use out of this
diminished water supply in the Homestead area. It was a great golden
opportunity for me to say, who the hell are you as the Director of Natural
Resources [in] Florida closing the gates to a federal park without permission of
the Governor and the cabinet? Randolph and I had not been having an easy time
of it, but that was real war when I challenged him as to what his authority was. Of
course, the governor ordered him up at the next cabinet meeting. He said, how
dare you close the gates? Open them immediately. Claude ordered them open.
They were opened. Nobody in the cabinet would take on Claude and the issue of
water to Everglades National Park. Wally Hickel had made the fate of Everglades
National Park one of his prime national natural-resource issues. He came down
to the Everglades, called me and asked me to meet him in the park, but he did
not want Claude coming because he wanted to have all the national attention
and he was scared that Claude would vie for national attention. Well, Claude
heard about it, insisted upon coming with me, and the two of them got quite
roaring drunk way up on Lostman=s River. [At] a Park Service small shack, [they
woke] the rangers out at 2:00 in the morning and went up the creek in
paddleboats, Claude teaching Wally how to holler like an alligator. They scared
every damn alligator that had ever been down there. The park had never gone
through anything like this before, the Secretary of the Interior and the Governor
arm-in-arm, having drunk a case of beer each. It was a night to forget. Anyway,
Wally really turned into a defender of the Everglades. We did not know what the









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hell we were doing. We thought all the problems were that of water supply. It
never crossed our minds that we had a water-quality problem or that we had a
timing problem. Water was water. We needed more water to flow through the
conservation areas of the Florida Everglades into the Everglades National Park.
What we did not recognize was that, with the ever-increasing acreage of the
sugarcane companies, that a larger and larger amount of phosphorus from the
fertilizer was being discharged in their drainage into the [public] waters and
through into the Florida Everglades. In the beginning, there were very slight
changes in the vegetation. We began to have a cattail fringe around the entrance
canals. But two and two did not make four. As the acreage went from 90,000
acres to 130,000 acres to 260,000 acres to 300,000 acres and now close to
500,000 acres, the cattail invasion of the sawgrass country became a really
noticeable problem. Suddenly, I was confronted, after I came back from being
Assistant Secretary of Interior when [Governor] Bob Graham appointed me to the
Water Board...I was with the chief scientist of the Water Management District,
who broke into tears on an airboat ride in Conservation Area #3. He suddenly
shut the airboat down and started crying. I thought this was most extraordinary. I
had known [him] very, very well, Walter Deneen. I said, Walter, what is the
problem? He said, the problem is that there is something in the water that is
changing the botanical makeup of the Everglades, and we better find out what it
is fast; I think it is phosphorus. I said, where is phosphorus coming from? He
said, it must be coming from the fertilizer and from Lake Okeechobee. I said, my
God, we are back to the lake again. Do you mean to tell me that the dairies and
the cattle land north of Lake Okeechobee are still discharging vast qualities of
cattle-dung into the creeks that flow into the Kissimmee and to Taylor Creek and
to Nubbin Slough? He said, the levels of phosphorus in the lake are growing
exponentially by the year. We do not have just a water-supply problem. We have
got a serious water-quality problem developing on our watch. He said, yes, and
nobody at the district will pay any heed. The most significant amount of my
[environmental] failures deal with Lake Okeechobee and in a sense downstream
in the Everglades system. Under Kirk, whatever year it was after the drought, I
persuaded Kirk that the park could not survive beyond his administration with
people like Randolph Hodges who would always play to the Florida agricultural
community unless the park got a Aguaranteed@ supply of water. Claude thought
it over and decided that was a very unique thought, and although it would wrinkle
the agricultural community, it was doable. He called Senator [Spessard L.]
Holland. I was in the office. It was on a speakerphone. Senator Holland said,
Governor, Nathaniel, the western senators will go crazy. This is a precedent of
guaranteeing a National Park water that could impact every water-delivery supply
in the west where national parks are involved. Claude was terrific. He said,
Spessard, with your seniority, you are the most beloved figure in the United
States Senate, you can save Everglades National Park with this guaranteed
water scheme of Nathaniel=s. Senator Holland said, you just got to give me
some time, boys. This is really asking a lot, because I know all the western









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senators and they are going to flip. Months later, he called back and said, Claude
Pepper is going to handle the bill in the House with Dante Fascell [member of the
U. S. House of Representative, D-Miami]. They are in pretty good shape there,
because all the urban people do not know what the hell we are talking about. Our
problems are in the Senate, but I have seen every single western senator and I
have told them that this is not a precedent. This is one time and one time only.
Claude, I do not want you to testify. I want Nathaniel to testify. This may be a
bitter pill for you, but we got to have Nathaniel do this very quietly. We will slip
this one through very quickly. I will put the bill onto something, and we will slide it
through the Senate. God bless Claude, he allowed me to go up, and Spessard
was at his absolute best. He read quite a long statement which reiterated at least
ten times that this was not a precedent. Of course, all the western [special-
interests] were sitting at the Senate table. They were all there, Wyoming,
Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho. What do they say about water? Whiskey
is worth fighting over, but water is war. The thought that a state would give a
National Park a guaranteed supply of water was beyond reasoning in the 1960s.
Now comes the crisis. How do you decide what the minimum allotment of water
Florida should receive even under a drought condition? There was no expertise
at the state of Florida. There was expertise at the park. The chief hydrologist=s
name was Frank Nick. I had great confidence in him. The [Army] Corps of
Engineers in Jacksonville had an extraordinarily deep water management staff,
and they decided to use the new huge computer at Cape Kennedy. There was no
other computer of that size in the state that could handle the complexity of the
models that they were going to use. The Space Center allowed them to use it at
nighttime, like the University of Florida night shifts. I think it came on at 9:00 and
went until 5:00, then it got sleep time, and then it started up again trying to figure
out how to go into space. One of the saddest parts of this story is that the
information that was put into the computer was bogus. We have never known
whether it was the [Army] Corps of Engineers or whether Frank made a mistake
or whether we just simply did not have enough information. We received a
guaranteed amount of water, which is so small in comparison to what is really
needed and what really flowed that it is inconsequential, but it still stands as an
act of Congress. Every once in a while, I bring up the fact when we are in a very
low-flow year like this year that the act still applies, that the park will receive X
number of acre feet of water. Of course, after that we discovered what we should
have known all along. Art Marshall began to promulgate theories that during the
wet season, July, August, September, early October, the lake filled before the
Hoover Dike was built and often overflowed. The entire Everglades system filled
with water like a giant sponge. It filled and it went laterally, east and west, and
became a great huge flowing marsh. It really does not flow. It more or less seeps.
The rate of drop is one inch a mile. You cannot build the table to an inch of a
mile. You cannot build a floor to one inch a mile. It is so flat it is hard to believe.
So it does not really flow. It oozes. Actually, what happens is that rainfall to the
north falls on it and develops a slight head, if you can picture this, and this whole









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marsh flows, oozes, slowly south-southwest. The more rain that falls on the
northern part, the more head it develops to push the water because there is so
little rate of drop. You actually are pushing the water out with a little bit of head, if
you can see what I mean. You just simply do not flow when you are dropping one
inch a mile.

P: Does it end up in Biscayne Bay?

R: No, [the majority] ends up [flowing] into] Florida Bay. [Water] did split off and go
to the southeast across what is now an agricultural area. [During the wetted part
of the rainy season, Taylor Slough flowed into eastern Florida Bay.] I have great
hope that we are going to re-water that [system]. I had given up all hope that I
would ever see Taylor Slough ever re-watered in my lifetime, and we [now] are
within an ace of doing it. We are within ten years of seeing water flow through the
Frog Pond, which [the state] now owns, as a marsh. We will get around the
Eight-and-a-Half-Square-Mile [Area] somehow, whether we buy them out or flow
[water] around [that ill-advised housing development]. The entire eastern sides of
what was the Everglades, the Rocky Glades and the Everglades, will be re-
watered in a comparatively short period of time under the Everglades restoration
act. To the east, where Canal 111 cut [all flow to Taylor Slough] off, we will either
fill in 111 or we will produce enough water to re-flood the marshes going into
Biscayne Bay. [These marshes] remain in incredibly good condition, though they
have turned into saline marshes. They used to be freshwater marshes. They are
now vast expanses of young mangrove. But by putting freshwater back on that
side of the system, you will see a tremendous bounce back in Biscayne Bay=s
fishery. The great thing is that the whole eastern side of Florida Bay just to the
west of the Keys, that area has been a dead zone for thirty-five years, can be
restored. The freshwater had been cut off, the salinity counts are monstrous,
ultra-saline, nothing can live in it. At one time, it was one of the most productive
areas for all of Florida Bay, for lobsters, shrimp and fisheries. By putting water
back in there, you will see an explosion of life. When we get these very, very
incredibly high rainfall years, like the last two years back to back, water flowed
out of the lower Everglades into the eastern part of Biscayne Bay. Immediately,
there was recovery. Now, we will lose that recovery in this [present] drought [of
2000]. It will swing backwards and forwards. The battle between salt-intolerant
seagrasses and salt-tolerant grasses will go on as it did for thousands of years,
as [South Florida] went from a wet cycle to a dry cycle to a wet cycle. This is not
supposed to be a permanent pasture out there. It is a pasture that is always in
flux depending upon whether it is a wet year or dry year, a wet cycle, dry cycle.
That is one of the most fascinating parts of Florida Bay. What happened was, we
cut off the freshwater so successfully, it became a saltwater pasture. The fishing
was terrific, for fish that lived in saltwater. Then this mysterious seagrass die-off
occurred. Then more and more freshwater was pumped into or released into
Florida Bay, both released and pumped. We had these great rainfall years in the









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Big Cypress, and [the Bay experienced] algae blooms. You had all this uproar
that the Bay is dying and is dead forever when the fact of the matter is, what is
was, some mysterious disease [killed] the [sea]grasses [producing an explosive
algal bloom]. When you cut off sunlight, you stop photosynthesis, you get more
grass dying. The more grass that dies releases more phosphorus into the water
chain and it creates an algae bloom so that no sunlight gets to the bottom. So
you end up losing hundreds of thousands of acres of productive bay bottom.
Now, we have not had a hurricane to blow out Florida Bay [in years]. Florida Bay
needs to be blown out by a hurricane on a rather frequent basis. The
extraordinary thing is we have gone fifty years with only two storms. There is this
tremendous sediment load and tremendous wandering sandbars that cut off
circulation in Florida Bay. It is one of the most fascinating places on the whole
face of the earth. I have fished there since 1960. I used to believe that the guides
knew everything. I now know that the guides know about 60 percent and the
scientists know about 90 percent, but there is still 10 percent that is not known.
But I know that once we re-establish a freshwater cycle, a significant freshwater
cycle through the Everglades restoration effort, we will see a tremendous
improvement in Florida Bay. It will not be exactly what the fisherman want, which
is absolutely clear saltwater, but that is not what Florida Bay was supposed to be.
It was supposed to be a battleground between drought years, wet years,
freshwater-dominated species, saltwater- dominated species. It was in flux, and
that is what made it such a rich and productive estuary. It is a vast, vast estuary.

P: While we are on that subject, what is your view of large-scale desalinization?

R: Whether I like it or do not like it, I think it is a fact of life, because there is no way
under the Everglades restoration plan that we are going to be able to furnish
[billions of gallons of fresh water for agriculture and the public water utilities].
Without a major hurricane, South Florida is going to continue to grow. Without a
massive killer hurricane or perhaps two killer hurricanes like [1945 and] 1948
back-to-back, there is nothing to prevent South Florida from growing, including
[the] freshwater [supply]. The freshwater [supply] that is presently being used by
the utilities [cannot be increased]. The scheming right now is that the utilities
need and are attempting to reserve as much of that cheap Everglades water as
possible for new development. The [utilities] are going to have to go to
desalinization for the amount of water they are going to need to continue the
development craze in South Florida. Whether I like it or do not like it, whether it is
cost-effective or not cost-effective [de-salinization is here to stay]. It will become]
cost-effective because the demand for it, [in] Saudi Arabia, [in] the [United Arab]
Emirates, all over Arabia, water is going to be produced by one of a number of
different systems, because you cannot develop, you cannot have agriculture, you
cannot have [more development]. I would like to call the whole thing off, the
whole development-industry off, right now, but that is not going to happen and
water is not going to be the confining element. The Everglades will get the vast









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majority of water. The Congress is going to see to that. Repetitively during the
hearings this year, both in the House and the Senate, the point was made [that
Congress will] not spend this kind of money so that more people can develop
more houses, more golf courses in South Florida, or more agriculture in South
Florida. This priority and the primacy of this act is to restore what is left of the
Everglades. This is a real struggle right now that is taking place at the Water
Management District, as we sit here, is that there are those members of the
Water Management District who listen very carefully to the water utility directors
who tell them we cannot produce the required amount of water now or in the
immediate future by RO [reverse osmosis, desalinization technology using a
high-pressure membrane] at an acceptable level of cost. And the answer is,
tough, you better get started, because you are not going to be allowed to tap into
the Everglades system any longer.

P: How would you assess Claude Kirk=s contribution to the environment during his
term as governor?

R: In many different ways, but I think he brought it to public attention for the first
time and made it a statewide issue, gave it enormous publicity on every
Tuesday[=s Cabinet meeting]. He gave tremendous support to me as a road
warrior. He honored individual conservationists across the state every year with
his medals. He put environment on the front page in tearing down the existing
structure of Florida government and creating a new Florida with a brand-new
legislature. As you remember, the legislature was found to be [legally]
malformed. The federal court found that it was malformed [as it did not have
equal representation constituting Aone man, one vote@]. We had to have a new
legislature very quickly. We had the shortest election period that has ever been
known and attracted some of the bestBboth Republicans and DemocratsBsome
of the brightest young men and women who ever served in Florida government
came together for a minimum of four years. We had the most spectacular
legislature that was almost untouched by the lobby[ists]. They were men and
women who really brought new ideas to Tallahassee. They often fought with Kirk
over many, many different issues. They agreed that the multiplicity of
departments had to be [reformed and reduced in number] and that Florida had to
be streamlined and brought into a reasonable number of managerial
departments, not all those little bitty things that were all over the place that
attracted deadbeats. Claude increased the salary-schedules across the board
from all these new departments where you could really attract managerial
expertise. Environment Florida was operating in a brand-new theater, the public
theater. Let us not forget that pollution control, dredge-and-fill, whatever, any
environmental [issue] caught the attention of a whole new school of newspaper
journalists and on the editorial page, which [was new]. All of a sudden, there
[was] tremendous interest [from] the Florida reader. All of a sudden, I discovered
television was one hell of a medium. I may not be the most handsome fellow in









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the world, but I developed a certain lingo and I learned how to give a short clip to
the television cameras so that it did not have to be edited all over the place. We
made news, and it just grew. And young people [really cared]. I went on these
lecture tours to the colleges and the high schools. It was wild, absolutely wild.
The first Earth Day, I started in Pensacola and I went down to Tampa to
Jacksonville. Gainesville, I guess, was at noon. I ended up in the evening at the
University of Miami standing giving, I think, my sixth Earth Day speech of the
day. It was outdoors, a marvelous [affair]. Jammed. You have never seen so
many kids in your life. There were thousands of them. I said to somebody
standing next to me, what is that peculiar odor? She said, that is more marijuana
cigarettes than I have ever smelled before in my life. Really, I was so innocent, I
did not know what pot was, but I am telling you that place was on fire that night
with pot. Anyway, these were really exciting times. They were the epitome of
excitement.

P: Talk about the establishment of the Water Management Districts.

R: That came about in 1971 after I left. As I was leaving, [Governor] Reubin [Askew]
was totally dissatisfied with the way that the old flood control districts managed
water in Florida. You had the one over on the west coast, and then you had
Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District that had a little building on the
east side of the railroad tracks in West Palm Beach. We went all the way up to
Jacksonville. [The districts were] totally dominated by agriculture and industry.
Claude had the first non-aligned appointments. Even if they were aligned, if they
were agricultural representatives], they were such marvelous men that they
would listen. I attended a lot of meetings. The state airplane flew me down. I sat
in the front row and glowered. I went over the agendas the night before very
carefully. I learned a lot. I knew when I went to Washington what I wanted to do
with the [Army] Corps [of Engineers] which was to absolutely torpedo the upper
St. Johns plan. It was going to be another Everglades plan. It was canals, levees,
miles and miles of levees and canals and impoundments. I brought up an aide
from Florida with me, [George Gardner]. He was full-time Florida. He did nothing
but Cross-State Barge Canal, Everglades, defeat the upper St. Johns project,
defeat the four rivers project over in Tampa, defeat a number of projects on the
west coast that involved building a ridiculous billion-dollar offshore canal system
for coal-carrying barges, believe it or not, from Alabama to come down the west
coast of Florida. They had built an outside berm to break up any Gulf stormwater.
It was only going to cost $1,000,000,000 in dredging, all the way from Alabama
to Tampa, an offshore berm, believe it or not. It was on the books. It was
authorized by Congress. The [Army] Corps [of Engineers] could not wait. One
day, I was walking with the district engineer in Jacksonville. I was Assistant
Secretary maybe a couple of years, and I had come down to negotiate something
with him. As we walked by some offices, a door slammed and there was the
audible sound of hissing. I was a little put out. I was a federal official. I said,









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Colonel, I did not expect to get a warm welcome, but I think your personnel are
very, very rude. We were in his anteroom. He turned around, his secretaries
were all there, and he said, do you realize that we have handed out over 350
pink slips in the last three years? These are guys who had planned to make their
career in Jacksonville. They had mortgages, they had their kids in school, and
you canceled $[50],000,000 worth of projects. These guys now have got to go to
the Mississippi or the Missouri, Timbuktu, so do not think you are going to be a
hero around here, Reed. That was the first time I had ever really translated that,
when you knock off these very poorly-seen projects, that they have a human face
to them as well. Later on, as I began to zero in as assistant secretary on many of
the Bureau of Reclamations= boondoggles, dams, canals, etc. in the West, the
same thing happened. The Secretary and I were at the Bureau of Reclamations
headquarters in Denver, and somebody said that they would not even shake my
hand. I had opposed a whole series of dams in a row, the Sacramento, the
Teton, Central Utah, Central Arizona, not with all success. The District Engineer
said, we are laying off people left and right. These projects are getting killed
environmentally. The level of dissatisfaction and the level of morale, Mr.
Secretary, is going downhill. We got to have work. I said, I am glad you brought
the subject up. Except for management of existing projects, I think you guys
better get ready, because I do not think you are going to be building anything in
the next twenty years. Of course, one of the great things that President Reagan
did was he made the cost-share for the government, state government or local
government, more than 50 percent. I think it is 60 percent. It is only 40 percent
federal. In those days, it was 80 percent federal, 20 percent local. You could
come up with the most tomfoolery in the world if you were only paying 20 percent
of it, but now that you are paying 60 percent of it, the citizen says, wait a minute,
do I really want to be taxed for that nonsensical dam? The answer is, on the
whole, the Bureau of Reclamations is not building anything.

P: How has this system worked? I know that there is some conflict.
R: Back to the Water Management District?

P: Yes.

R: Well, that was John DeGrove. I was gone by April, but John was just beginning to
get the feeling of how to do this. I was very rushed because I had accepted the
appointment in March. I did not know DeGrove that well, but DeGrove and I saw
eye-to-eye immediately that we should get out of the flood control business and
get into water management and that we should divide the state up into
watersheds. That could not be done because the watersheds were in multiple
counties. The Everglades ecosystem is in more than one [county]. The
Everglades of South Florida is in sixteen counties. Some of our watershed is a
little bit over there, and little bit over here, a little bit up there, but basically, the
lines are very sound. Very, very good. Where you have a problem, every once in









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a while we had a problem between St. Johns and South Florida, men and women
of goodwill would settle a problem in a one-day meeting. It is pas grand chose,
as the French would say. It is just not a big deal. The [creation of the Water
Management Districts] were one of Reubin=s greatest gifts to Floridians. Every
state in the union looks to Florida as an example. That is what scares the hell out
of me when I hear of anybody coming into office saying, we are going to change
the system. They do not know what the hell they are talking about. This is the
best system known to man. [We should] never allow the [governor]=s appointees
[to the Water Management board] to be elected. I mean, the amount of money
that would be spent to get on one of these boards. We need a stronger
governorship, in the sense that responsibility for good decisions or bad decisions
by the Water Management District boards, who are the governors= appointees,
should reflect on the governor. If he appointed Mr. X and Mr. X is an ass, that is
his responsibility, and we have had some. We had a member during Lawton
Chiles= first term who prided himself on never reading his agenda; he [said he]
was better off ignorant coming to a board meeting. That lasted for about six
months, and the governor asked him very quietly to take a leave, go. That is what
you have got to do. In South Florida, you have got to have nine really wonderful
people represent you, and if they represent you badly, it is your fault. If you want
the governor to be held responsible for the management or mismanagement of
his state, you have got to give him enough authority so the ball stops there.

P: There have been some criticisms of Water Management Districts, that they are
too independent...

R: Sure.

P: ...they have too much taxing power...

R: Absolutely.

P: ...that they waste money. Was it St. Johns that had a helicopter and that kind of
thing?

R: Oh, South Florida has two helicopters and an almost added jet.

P: So, how do you control that?

R: You control that by appointing people who are...and now, the governor has to
approve their budgets, so you have double-control over them. You have more
accountability with the governor now than you have ever had. The basic fact of
the matter is you cannot possibly pull nine people to West Palm Beach for the
two days a month minimum that the job entails without having a flying service,
whether it is rented planes, picking people up, bringing them and dropping them









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back off. The helicopter is an absolute necessity because of the vast marsh
system. We tried a small floatplane for years, finally crashed it a couple of times.
The helicopter can go out in the marsh and read water-quality sampling gear, all
kinds of scientific gear quickly, relatively inexpensively. In case of emergency
after a hurricane, there is nothing like surveying the scene [from] a helicopter.
That and the satellite are your two most effective tools to be able to see what is
happening in the canal system in South Florida. Where is the debris? Where is
the detritus fouling up a gate? I have been down. I went with Lawton [Chiles]
following the great hurricane in South Florida. I went down with him and spent
three days down there with him. The helicopters were on constant patrol for us.
We were in the helicopters constantly. There is no substitute. You are going to
have a member of the legislature, you are going to have a newspaper, say, you
should not spend that much money on this. Yes, there will be some excesses
occasionally. On the whole, they are very well-managed. My feeling, having
watched St. Johns, Southwest and South Florida [Water Management Districts], I
think the [internal] fiscal-controls are remarkable.

P: What is going to happen when Swiftmud [colloquial acronym for the South West
Florida Water Management District] wants to get drinking water from Suwannee
River [Water Management] District. How are those issues going to be resolved?
Does the state need more authority here?

R: As water becomes a scarcer commodity, we will see pressure to export or import
water from one basin to another. One of the only major environmental issues I
differed with Claude Kirk [was when he] had proposed vast viaducts from the
major spring-fed rivers of West Florida, Central and Northwest Florida. I am
absolutely, vehemently opposed. I think you ought to live on the water that you
have and not steal from some other corner of the state. I was secretly in favor of
Pinellas County buying those ranches upstream in [Pasco County]. The county
acquired great big green areas that protected the wildlife and the flora and the
fauna while St. Petersburg got the underground water. Basically, I am opposed to
one county taking water from another county and absolutely against the
California viaduct system. If in years to come it becomes a problem, I think it
could be won by a constitutional amendment. I think the people of Florida will not
allow the great springs [in Northern Florida] to be diminished for more people,
basically a greater population. I think I can make the case that every drop of
water leaving those springs is not wasted to the sea, as my critics would say, but
has an ecological purpose. I might add that all of those springs have a
significantly lower volume of water per day than they had twenty-five years ago.
They have all been impacted by growth in Florida already. You start tampering
with those systems, you are going to cause some significant ecological
imbalance[s] in the Gulf that we do not know about. [Vast quantities] of
freshwater have been going into the Gulf for a long, long, long time, and that
water is needed in some way in the Gulf that we cannot fully understand or









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comprehend, but it is needed. The Gulf has adjusted to that water, and it wants
[and needs it].

P: How would you assess Reubin Askew=s contributions to the environment?

R: I think, in every way, Reubin=s eight years were extraordinarily thoughtful. They
were very typical of Reubin. Precise, well-considered, thoughtful, at times bold.
There is a certain messiah quality about Reubin. I am saying this with a smile on
my face, for the tape recorder. You have to know Reubin. He once said to me
[that] the happiest moments of his life were those spent in his church pew.
Reubin is such a straight arrow, and I mean this in the most complimentary way.
This is a man who overcame an incredible impediment to public life. Reubin had
a lisp and a stutter that at times made him almost dumb, and by force of
character, he learned somehow to conquer that lisp and stutter. When he
became governor, it was gone. He had done it in two and a half short years.
Reubin has not got the world=s greatest sense of humor, but he has got one of
the greatest senses of purpose. He believes that the job of governor is one of
enormous seriousness, of great privilege, and that you are beholden to the
people in ways that Claude would not understand. They were in many respects
opposites, but both of them fundamentally [fascinated me]. I have often thought
that you could not have a Reubin Askew unless you had Claude Kirk first. Reubin
put the pieces back together of the shattered temple, and he put them back in far
better order than they had been in. Claude broke the temple down. I mean, he
shook the old Democratic government of Florida to its knees. He broke up the
long-term institutions that had been operating comfortably Tuesday after
Tuesday after Tuesday. The Democrat [Cabinet members] met the day before in
secret in a hotel in Tallahassee to go over the states=] agendas and who would
make the motion, who would counteract the obvious Kirk attack? By the end of
the fourth year, Claude had exposed the secret meetings. We would begin
meeting his staff members before the cabinet meetings and going over the
agendas and agreeing and disagreeing on items and going back to our principles
and briefing our principles as to either areas of agreement or in the areas of
disagreement. In a sense, we had a more convivial fourth year, but nevertheless,
it was deadly serious. Reubin did not allow any bickering at the cabinet level
because he was the senior friar. He was the director, and, boy, I will tell you I
was there a couple of times when there was disagreement among the cabinet
members. Reubin could give a look down the cabinet table that would wither the
[offender]. [If] the subject [came] back [up, he would use the power of] his gavel
immediately. He [managed] just by force of personality, I mean, just an
extraordinary sense of personality.

P: In specific terms, other than water management, what were his greatest
achievements?









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R: He did very well. He picked very good choices following me at what became the
Department of Environmental Pollution. He picked very good people. He retired a
great many of the old men at DNR. I think the three men who followed meBJay
Landers was one; I cannot remember them allBwere all...

P: Was Gissendanner one?

R: No, Elton came much later. He was director of Natural Resources. Elton broke
my heart because Elton was very sympathetic to the environmental movement,
always returned a telephone call. He responded quickly when we had a problem
with a water management district. He really got the green-space bond issues
underway very quickly and appeared to us to be in very good form. It never
crossed our minds that we were having a problem that would lead to his
indictment and imprisonment. It was a very, very sad story because Elton really, I
think, in his heart of hearts, may have gotten overextended financially, I do not
know. But I want you to know that, in his heart of hearts, I think this man really
did a lot for the environmental. I think Charles Lee [Vice-President of the Florida
Audubon], who worked the halls of Tallahassee, will tell you that he
[Gissendanner] was a very responsive manager. It broke all of our hearts. But in
the Pollution Control Department, Reubin kept up [high standards]. This is a
wonderful story. After he was inaugurated in January of 1971Bhe [was] elected in
1970 and was inaugurated in January of 1971Bprevious to him even running, I
had put the city of Pensacola on warning that they had a sewer system [and a]
sewer treatment plant, that they had not rebuilt completely that overflowed after
rainfall. They would discharge raw [sewage] into either Pensacola Bay or
Escambia Bay, I have forgotten which, I think into Pensacola Bay. I said to the
city manager, I have had it. One more time, I am fining you $25,000. I do not
remember what [the amount exactly] was, but in those days, it was a significant
amount of money. I do not think Reubin had been inaugurated by three weeks,
and the telephone call came from my regional director over in Pensacola, by
God, they have done it again. Without mentioning a word to the governor, I
simply signed an order and sent it over to the Attorney General saying, pay the
state of Florida $25,000 or whatever it was. I will be there tomorrow, and I want
to know why it happened and I want to know what you are doing to prevent it. It
hit all the newspapers in the state, AReed Fines the City of Pensacola@ whatever
the amount was and so on and so forth. I go over there and raise absolute holy
hell with the mayor, with the utility director and tell the mayor to fire the utility
director, a stormy public meeting. I said, this is the last time, this is it. I am not
giving you warning after warning on it. You either rebuild this plant [and/or] fire
the utility manager, so on and so forth. I get back from Pensacola and walk into
the office, and I am still in the broom closet. I am about to be moved out, which is
very sad. I am being moved across the street to the offices of what was going to
become the Department of Environmental Protection, and I am going to lose my
proximity to the throne, which is very sad. Reubin calls me to his office and he









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said, I [must] have an agreement with you. I said, tell me what it is; what have I
done? He said, it is not that you have done anything terribly wrong. It is just that
Pensacola is my home city, he said, the telephone has been ringing off the hook.
I have no problem with you indicting them, bringing them to the carpet, but just let
me know ahead of time. I said, how much do you want to know ahead? I said,
Governor Kirk did not want to know a great deal. What do you want to know? He
said, I would like to know in advance of any enforcement order. I am not going to
try to change the order. I just would like to know about it. I would like to know
what your thoughts are each week as to [what your plans are]; [I need to know]
what you have [accomplished] this week and what you are going to do next
week. I said, done. So, that began the weekly report, and that was very good
training in the sense that I went off to the big league and was confirmed [by the
U.S. Senate] on May 13, I think, of 1971. I asked the three directors who worked
for me in the National Park Service, the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and the
Fish and Wildlife Service the same thing, what have you [accomplished] this
week and what are you going to do next week?

P: Tell me about that appointment. Why did Nixon appoint you, and did Kirk have
anything to do with it?


R: We never have known why Nixon appointed me. I had known Rogers Morton
over the years when he was chairman of the Republican party. My brother lived
in his congressional district in Maryland, and I saw him occasionally. There are
some photographs in [my scrapbook] of when he was head of the Republican
party. We went to some reception down at Mar A Largo then the estate of Ms.
Post (Trump Estate on Palm Beach) a million years ago. It has always been felt
that there were friends of Nixon who mentioned my name to him. We know for a
fact that when Hickel was fired, the assistant secretary was fired as well, for no
good reason, probably by error, and the head of the Fish and Wildlife Service
was fired. [The assistant Secretary] was a lovely man. His name was Leslie
Glasgow. He was the university professor from [Louisiana State University]. I was
the first non-university person ever appointed to the position, and now it will
never go back to be Aprofessional.@ It is now considered one of the top
environmental positions you can hold in government. I think Morton produced my
name. I think that there were friends of Nixon who brought my name up to him on
his weekends in Key Biscayne. The story is very simple. I was having the last of
my public air-quality hearings in Jacksonville, and as I told you earlier, the air-
quality hearings were very stormy. They were just as stormy as the water-quality
hearings. In a sense, they were worse, because they had come so quickly after
the water-quality hearings and after the beginning of the enforcement of the
water-quality laws. Here you were [are] back again. Now, you are on air. When
are you going stop? Jacksonville was particularly grim. That is where Mr.
Stoddard was produced. You can imagine Jacksonville being the filthy city that it









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was, they were horrified. My wife called me on Thursday nightBit was late, like
9:00 at night, and I was exhaustedBand said, how are the hearings going? I said,
horrible. They are just horrible. I have never seen so many horrible people in my
life. They all want to live in this dirty filth. Mr. Ball had sent people to say, that is
not dirt, that is money in the air. The stink of money reeking. You just think that
stinks, but it is the stink of money. I said, I am so discouraged, Alita, I am so
discouraged. She said, well, you have got a telephone call from the White House
from Mr. Ehrlichman=s staff who called and said they want you [to join] the
Secretary of Interior [Rogers Morton]. [You are] to be at the helicopter field in
Miami on Saturday morning at 8:00. I said, I cannot possibly be there. I am not
going to finish here until 3:00 tomorrow afternoon, and then I got to give a press
conference. I will not be home until 7:00 at night, and I am planning to sleep all
day Saturday. She said, no, you are not, you are going to get on the helicopter. I
said, no, I am not, [but of curiosity, asked,] where is the helicopter going? She
said, it is Rogers Morton and you and Mrs. Morton and some Park Service
people are going to fly over the Big Cypress, look at the jetport, and fly over the
Big Cypress and Everglades National Park so the secretary can get a good
feeling of the water problems in South Florida. Tell him I am not going to be
there. She called the White House back and said that I was going to be there.
Then she called down to the old South Florida Flood Control District and
persuaded them to send a floatplane up here to pick me up at the [Jupiter Island]
Club dock and 6:00 in the morning. I guess the plane was here at 6:30. She
somehow got me up out of bed at 6:00, I could not believe it, rammed breakfast
down me, drove me over in a golf cart. I got in the airplane and flew down and
landed in Miami Harbor, taxied over and made a big appearance. Imagine, all the
press corps was there because of the secretary. We had the presidents
helicopters. We had two of those magnificent executive helicopters, and we flew
all day together. We landed at the Big Cypress training field [commercial aircraft
training facility], and refueled over in Naples. We came back to Miami, and we
had a joint press conference at the Miami International Airport, and afterwards he
said, how would you like to have a drink? I said, I would love a drink. The
airplane was waiting to fly me back up [to Jupiter Island]. We went upstairs and
sat at the bar of the Miami International Airport, and he pulled out of his pocket
this letter. He said, it is a letter from the President of the United States asking you
to be Assistant Secretary of Interior. I was so tired, I did not know what he was
saying. I kept saying, what, what? He said, Nathaniel, the President and I want
you to become Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife and National
Parks. I said, really? I was perfectly astonished. He said, we can make a great
team. I said, well, I have got to discuss it with my wife. He said, give me a call
over the weekend. I said, fine. So, bleary-eyed, the alcohol had not done me any
good, I got in the airplane and I slept all the way back up here. It was a 180
Cessna on floats [which] flew at about eighty-eight miles an hour. [I] landed and
got off, got a shower. It had been a long, long [day]. I think we had been nine
hours in the helicopter. That is a long time. Even in an executive [soundproofed]









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helicopter, that is a long time. I [talked to] Alita that night. I had made a dumb
decision. The last two years in Tallahassee, I had sent Alita and the children [to
Jupiter Island], and I was living in two rooms at the Howard Johnson Motel
outside the capital. I would give a speech someplace or inspect something in
south Florida on Friday morning and then give a luncheon speech and then retire
[to our home], and I would go back [to Tallahassee] after a luncheon on Sunday.
There was a commercial flight, Eastern Airlines flight in an Electra, believe it or
not, that went West Palm Beach to Tallahassee. That would give me all of
Sunday afternoon to work, laying out what I wanted to accomplish the following
week. It put an enormous strain on our marriage. I was so totally dominated by
work and by the opportunities, the unbelievable opportunities that were being
offered to me by Governor Kirk and Governor Askew. It had blinded me to
everything else in our personal lives. Unknown to me, our marriage was
becoming extremely rocky, and so when I mentioned Washington, she said,
accept, accept, accept. Grab the phone, accept. She figured we would be
together far more in Washington than by the separation between Tallahassee
and Hobe Sound, back and forth. It turned out to be exactly that. No matter how
long I was in the field, you know, I talked every night wherever I was to her. The
requirements of an Assistant Secretary, certainly, you are traveling in August and
September and at Christmastime, but the rest of the time when the Congress is
[in session, you stay close to Washington D.C.]. The fact of the matter is in 1971,
1972, and 1973, I testified more than any other assistant secretary in the entire
administration. That is how much environmental legislation there was. More than
any other assistant secretary, for three consecutive years.

P: When you were in Interior, at one point, Peter Mathieson, I think it was, said that
the Fish and Wildlife Service was the center of the growing conservation
movement. Was that true then?

R: Yes. I was determined to make a very controversial decision on arriving [at
Interior] with the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Fish and Wildlife Service had
been dominated by the refuge managers and the waterfowl experts. I wanted the
Fish and Wildlife Service to become the environmental conscience of the
Department of the Interior and the ecological experts of the federal government
as it pertained to fish and wildlife. I succeeded. But in succeeding, I damaged the
hierarchy of the refuge system, [and] that still has not been repaired. I regret that.

P: Wildlife refuges?

R: Yes. I intended for them to lose clout, but I did not intend for them to lose the
amount of clout that they have lost. Among themselves they feel that they should
be a separate branch [of Interior]. I am opposed to that. The Congress will not
appropriate significant funds if they become [an agency] all to themselves. They
do not realize the difficulty of [becoming a separate agency with an annual









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struggle for funds]. I have tried to convince the last, maybe, eight directors of the
Fish and Wildlife Service of the need to give more prominence to the refuge
system inside the Fish and Wildlife Service line of command. I have not
succeeded. [The refuge managers] feel that they should be separated from the
regional directors and that they should report directly to refuge headquarters,
Washington, D.C., and that will not work. You simply cannot have a regional
director in charge of everything else, all the research and everything, and take
the refuges away from them from a management standpoint. Having said that, I
do not want to bore the interviewer with something as oblique in our conversation
as that. There was a wonderful moment. The Director of the Fish and Wildlife
Service when I was Assistant Secretary was an old leathery Texan by the name
of Spencer Smith who is still very much alive. [He suffered] a terrible, terrible
attack of melanoma. The greatest cancer experts urged me to get him properly
situated because he was going to die very, very quickly. So he took early
retirement. He is the all-time medical miracle of melanoma. He still comes down
with it once or twice a year. Enormous blotches of melanoma come over his
hands, his face, the back of his neck. Then for reasons totally unclear, they take
blood from him all the time for the National Cancer Institute, it [fades] away.
Anyway, I took an awful lot of time picking the next director, Lynn Greenwall. The
Secretary began to make pointed remarks, [saying,] I want to introduce the
Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife and National Parks who also
serves as the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. I paid absolutely no
attention. But finally the president [R.M. Nixon] one day, I was at some ceremony
and the President walked over to me and took me by the arm and said, I do hope
that you will appoint a director to the Fish and Wildlife Service sometime in the
near future? It ended with a question. I said, Mr. President, I was not aware that
you knew that there was a vacancy. He said, everybody in government is aware
of that vacancy, Nathaniel, and I wish you would fill it. I went back and said to the
staff, you know, there is a little more pressure on me than I thought. My staff all
roared with laughter and they all said, you know, boss, you are enjoying it so
much that you might be neglecting George Hartzog over at the National Park
Service and others over at the Bureau of Recreation. But I went out and found
Lynn, and he became an admirable director.

P: Did Nixon fire Hartzog?

R: Nixon fired Hartzog, yes, in 1972.

P: Why was that?

R: George was a controversial man. He and I had a love-hate relationship. We had
fights that made Washington newspapers, tremendous blow-ups. Both of us had
mercurial tempers. Both of us were sure that one or the other of us were right,
but usually ourselves. George was considered to be a holdover of the Democrats









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in Nixon=s administration and that he was the buddy-buddy of the Democratic
Congress. He ran circles around the Office of Management and Budget and the
Secretary of Interior. I was ordered to keep close rein on him. I have a note from
George over on my desk right now. I sent him a copy of the speech for Deerfield
and got a lovely note back from him. He has lost a leg to diabetes, and he is very
old and very infirm. He still lives for the National Park Service. Both of us do. Our
differences were, in the great scheme of things, rather minor. They were always
slightly blown out of proportion because you had two very strong- willed men. But
Nixon, and [Bob] Haldeman [Nixon=s chief of staff] in particular, were convinced
that George was a pawn of the Democrats. He was not a pawn. George was not
a pawn of anybody. George was one of the strongest [players]. He had an
ministerial background, probably Southern Baptist. He knew the Bible backwards
and forwards. He was a great preacher. He was a preaching man. He used
biblical anecdotes, but he spoke about the glories of the National Park Service,
the men and women of the National Park Service, and the system of which they
maintained, and what needed to be done to improve the system, with more
gems, more of the gems of America. Yes, he had fantastic contacts on the Hill.
He spoke every single night to two or three members of the senior Democratic
senators. He spoke to them every single night of his life, seven days a week. I
spoke to [Nevada Senator Allan Bible], before I went to bed at night, and he
would ask, how are things? And I would almost always say, everything is fine.
We had a death today in Yosemite or we had a grizzly bear run amok in
Yellowstone, but the situation is under control. I would get the same [reply]:
blessings, and I will hear from you tomorrow. AScoop@ Jackson was a
remarkable man. Senator Henry Jackson was from Washington [state], and he
ran the Senate Natural Resources Committee with an iron hand. He was
enormously fond of me, and I of him. He got along with Nixon fine. The things
that really were weird were the two Nixon girls [President Nixon=s daughters].
Julie and Tricia [joined] me on a number of really great trips. Julie came to Big
Cypress [Swamp], waded waist-deep through the water. I pushed moccasins
aside. The Secret Service was going bananas. She never quivered. Tricia and I
went down one of the rivers in Missouri, one of the wild scenic rivers in Missouri.
That girl came way out into the deep southwest corner of Texas to dedicate
Guadalupe Mountains [National Park]. Both of them were wonderful troupers. But
Nixon never spoke about any issue to do with the parks or the refuges or the
services without the political connotations. He showed no great interest in what
we were doing, and yet it was known around Washington that I was the pet. I did
not take it badly. I was trying to accomplish things. There was no question about
the fact that John Ehrlichman looked upon me as some marvel that he had
somewhat control over; I could do things which he dreamt about doing. John had
a tremendous environmental ethic. People just do not know that. He had been a
land-use lawyer in Seattle and was the first person who preached land-use in the
federal government. He wanted to pass a federal land-use law, and when it was
leaked by [his] enemies, the Chambers of Commerce around the country had a









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nervous breakdown. Second-home builders had a nervous breakdown. John
wanted to stop [urban-]sprawl. John Ehrlichman in the White House wanted to
stop sprawl! He almost got Nixon to sign, to send to Congress in one of the State
of the Union speeches B he had a long paragraph on the necessity of controlling
sprawl in the United States. There was such a battle in the Domestic Council
over that paragraph that Nixon finally took it out.

P: So he was the one who would have been most influential in environmental
matters?

R: Yes, he was it.

P: Because Nixon, except for EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], really was
not much of a [concerned] environmentalist. [He wanted an environmental
record, but the environment was not a personal interest.]

R: And EPA was pushed on him.

P: Yes. He was opposed to it in the beginning, I believe.

R: Yes. The funniest of all was, he was at some governors conference that was in
Jackson Hole [Wyoming]. He was at the magnificent Rockefeller Lodge. About
5:00 in the afternoon, Secretary [Morton] called me and said, you are not going to
believe this. Nixon wants to have a photographic session on the lake tomorrow
morning. I said, oh my God, not in the shiny blue suit? He said, no, no, we got to
rig him up in western [clothing]. I said, oh God, what is his size? I do not know
what the hell his size is. I will get his staff. So, the staff comes on, and I said, I
am ready to drive to Moose [Wyoming] or Jackson [Wyoming] and get him some
western attire. Furthermore, it is going to be freezing out [at the lake]. I [had
received] the weather forecast, and it is going to be twenty-eight degrees
tomorrow morning. Are you sure you do not want to do this in the afternoon? No,
we are going to do it in the morning with the sun shining against the Grand
Tetons [mountains]. They tell us that this is the most photogenic moment of the
day. Okay, so we got to have him in long underwear. We got to have a sweater
and a great big bull coat and hat. These guys said, we will call you back. They
called back and said, the president has vetoed all of this. I said, well, he is going
to freeze his goddam ass off. I am telling you, it is really going to be cold out
there. I am not going to be responsible for this. I called up the Secretary and
said, boss, this is really incredible. I am going to give you odds he is going to be
in that damn suit. The secretary said, well, he is going to freeze his ass off. He
said, get a great big duffel coat. Call up the superintendent. Gary Everhart was
the superintendent. I called up Gary and I said, I need the coat that you would
wear if you were snowmobiling. We roared with laughter. Gary said, I do not think
he will wear it. I said, get it, get me everything possible. So I put it all on the boat.









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Secret Service had to check everything. The advance man says, the only two
people who can be seen by the press are the secretary and the president. Fine, I
am sitting at the bottom of the boat. Do not worry about me. We go out about half
a mile from shore, and the Park Service boat turns around. The superintendent
points at the Grand Tetons. The President is in his blue suit, no undershirt, white
shirt, blue tie. The secretary is in his Park Service hat. He is in a parka. He has
got a woolen cape around his neck. He has got four cashmere sweaters and his
longjohns and a pair of boots with heavy socks. The press boats are on either
side of us, and I am sitting on the floor. The president says, Nathaniel, it is very,
very cold. I said, Mr. President, I told your staff it was going to be cold. Moving
his arms to one side, look at the glories, which mountain is that? The
superintendent would say, that is the Grand Teton, Mr. President. Oh, it is
beautiful; goddamn it, Nathaniel, it is cold as hell out there. Yes, Mr. President, I
know it is cold. At about the four-minute mark, he said to the Secret Service, I am
freezing my ass off, get the hell out of here. So the Secret Service says on the
microphone, the president has a very important telephone call; the photo session
is now over. He was blue with cold. I mean, it was incredible.

P: This is the man who went wading in the ocean in wingtips [dress shoes].

R: He had no facility, no understanding. Julie could roll up a blue denim shirt and a
pair of Levis and wade into Big Cypress.

P: He could not do it.

R: No. he never wrote in any of the memoirs, in none of the work that he ever
published did he ever mention anything to do with the creation of national parks
and national wildlife refuges, wild and scenic rivers, the re-establishment, full
funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Nothing. It must have been
just, make sure from an historical point of view that I leave a legacy. You know,
really, domestic politics did not interest him. Foreign affairs was his entire
obsession. Domestic policies were really left to Ehrlichman. He made deals, and
Ehrlichman was great. When I was opposing, for instance, the Teton Dam, I
opposed the dam first in Tennessee...

P: Was this the Tellico Dam?

R: [Yes.] I felt that I was quite far out in the front because one of Howard Baker=s
[U. S. Senator from Tennessee] staff members called up and said, whether you
know this or not, the president has given absolute assurance to Senator Baker
that this dam is going to be built. I thought, I had better check this, so I called him
at the White House. Ehrlichman came back and said, Howard has been a faithful
supporter. This is a ridiculous dam, Nathaniel. It is being built so that they can
have a backwater to build second family homes on it, summer homes. I had gone









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down there that spring. I [joined] a young lawyer from Knoxville, I think, named
Joe Congleton, it was probably the greatest trout river in the East. It
corresponded to anything, the Madison, the Yellowstone, any great western river.
There was a team there from Auburn University studying the benthic insects, and
they said they had never seen such a collection of mayflies in their life. Every
mayfly that ever existed in the East was in that stretch of the river. It admittedly
was between two dams, but it was very cold and very clean. It had probably one
of the greatest trout populations per running mile of river anywhere in the United
States. The worst thing that ever happened, of course, to the Endangered
Species Act is that trying to stop the dam, they found this small minnow, the snail
darter, and used it in an effort to stop the dam. The dam should have been
stopped on economic terms, or on terms of damage to the environment, but not
under the terms of the Endangered Species Act. This is the snail darter [minnow].
But I called over to Ehrlichman and Ehrlichman said, off the record, if you can
torpedo the dam, go right ahead. You never heard it from me, and you are not
going to make any friends with Senator Baker and his pals, but if you can find a
way of torpedoing the dam, go get it. The same thing happened [with the] Teton
[River Dam].

P: But the Tellico Dam was built.

R: And Teton was built, but Teton [collapsed]. Right where I said it was going to fall
down, it fell down, and it has never been rebuilt. But I got [the proposed] Auburn
[Dam], above Sacramento, and I got a bunch of others. I lost some, lost Central
Arizona. I lost parts of Central Utah. But I got Garrison, and I got Starkweather in
North Dakota. We won more than we lost. We won a big one [against] the Soil
Conservation Service. They wanted to channelize 22,000 miles of the
southeastern streams at a cost of $1,000,000,000. We won that one. We
exposed it. George Gardner from my staff exposed it. I testified in front of
Government Operations. They could not believe I was telling the truth. They
could not believe it. The administration could not believe. It was being done
silently through the Department of Agriculture without proper notification of OMB
[Office of Management and Budget] or even the Secretary of Agriculture. Heads
flew. We uncovered all the internal documentation. It was a hell of a hearing.

P: Describe how you went through the process of establishing a national trail or a
scenic river.

R: They were proposals either from the National Park Service or the Bureau of
Outdoor Recreation or from a state. They would require legislation, and that
meant clearance by OMB [and] a hearing before both the House and the Senate.
I was very lucky. Having the four and a half years in Tallahassee, I was unlike
most other assistant secretaries that had very limited experience in government
that had never gone through an appropriations process. I had. I sat before two









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committees of House and Senate in the Florida legislature and debated my
budget figures and my manpower figures, had taken all the heat and all the
nonsense that you take as an appointee. I learned to hold my temper and
learned to sit there and be gouged and scratched at and smile and think horrible
things but not say them. So that the discipline that all appointees have to go
through in preparing a project for consideration by the administration, there is the
Office of Management and Budget, and there are readers over there, highly,
highly-paid, highly-trained experts in the bureaucracy, who are supposed to ferret
out a Agood project from a bad project,A though I very honestly do not think they
would know a good project from a bad project. My battles with OMB began within
moments after I took the office and continued right through [my tenure]. My
nickname at OMB was Lone Ranger. That is because they would try to change
my testimony once it had been agreed upon. The day or two before testimony
would be a long session at OMB, fighting over every word, what manpower, how
much money, usually with the director of the service that the testimony applied
to. The testimony would be tight. Alita would knit, and I would sit on the floor of
our house in Washington. I would read the briefing book late into the evening. I
would read it two or three times, and I would go over my testimony. She would
drop a pearl, like I used to say, Madame Lafarge [a Charles Dickens character],
do you have something to say? and she would say, that is incomprehensible.
That sentence is totally incomprehensible, and I would say, what do you mean it
is incomprehensible? She would say, that sentence is totally incomprehensible.
Read it again. She said, I told you, it is totally incomprehensible. Well, goddamn
it, it is comprehensible to me. She would say, it is not comprehensible to me.
Nobody will understand it. I thought, oh, I will change it. So, I would change it and
I would read it again. It would be a battle, but nevertheless it was great fun. We
would laugh and give each other a kiss at the end of it. But sometimes, OMB
would try to change things the morning of the testimony. There would be a call
saying, we never agreed to that $32,000,000 or that 10,000 acres that you put in
last night or that somebody put in, and I would say, oh yes you did. We were
walking out the door. I said, I have got to have that [land] corridor and that piece
of land, and you agreed to it. Do not try to change it now. We are changing it
now. I said, I am calling the White House. We had these great scenes. In those
days, it was before a word processor. The people who read this interview are not
going to understand that my testimony had to be perfectly typed, and there had
to be thirty-six copies of it. Testimony began properly at 10:00, which means you
have to leave the Interior building at 9:30 to make it to [Capitol] Hill to hand out
the copies to the staff, to take your seat at the testimony table, be all set and
ready to go, stand up when the committee walks in, shake hands with all the
committee members, shake hands with the chairman, return to your seat and
ready to go at 10:00. Now, if at 9:22, OMB calls up and says, wait a minute, we
are having real problems with paragraph number four, you have got a problem.
You have to now have as many as twelve different secretaries standing by
seated in front of typewriters, because if you change anything, two or three









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sentencesBthe whole damn thing now is done in a flash of a second on a word-
processing machineBthe whole thing had to be rewritten.

P: Did you have more trouble with OMB if you were going to set up a scenic river
than you would have with, say, private developers?

R: Equal. It depended upon whether, in the great scheme of things, the project
appealed to the White House, which was basically Ehrlichman. Ehrlichman would
say to the president at the morning Domestic Council meeting, Nathaniel has got
a wild and scenic river at such and such a place. Of course, the president would
always say, is it a Democratic congressional district or a Republican
congressional district? But, you know, we would fight the issue out, that it was
the Buffalo River and it was really neat and it was really worth saving. Now, you
have got to fight as to how wide the corridor is going to be, how good are the
estimates on the land acquisition, how much manpower is it going to take, what
are the impacts going to be? By this time, the Environmental Policy Act had
passed. You would have to write up an environmental-impact statement, and
now you got to take it over to OMB and start the whole process of having readers
examine it, challenge you on manpower. [They would question the proposal; they
would state:] you have underestimated the cost of land, you are underestimating
the manpower it will take to run this, you have underestimated the cost of the
visitors center, you know damn well there needs to be two and there have to be
sixteen bathrooms rather than eight. These battles would take place over an
extended period of time. There were very, very good people over there, and
there were some miserable, miserable people over there. They are there for a
reason. They are the penny-pinchers. They are the guardians of the Treasury.

P: That is what they are supposed to do.
R: Exactly. When George Schultz was Secretary of the Treasury [also U. S.
Secretary of State], Rogers Morton and I pulled one on him. I have forgotten
what it was, but we wanted something very badly and we went around OMB
through the White House and got clearance. George was head of OMB. We were
walking out of OMB a couple of days later, and George confronted us in the
corridor. He said, your purposes may have been admirable, but you are screwing
the system. He said, I would have agreed with you, had you appealed the
readers decision to me, I would have agreed with you. But every time you go to
the president and go around me, you weaken me and you weaken the system.
Now, I went along with it until Nixon resigned and Ford came in, and the entire
decision-making process of government collapsed. I went from [Secretary]
Morton to [Secretary Stan] Hathaway to the poor last fellow who was Secretary of
Interior [Tom Kleppe]. All the decision-making broke down. Now, you could stay
in your office in the Department of Interior and not accomplish a darned thing
until the election, or you could say, this is a golden moment, I have gotten an
ineffective Secretary, why not go do a bunch of things that need to be done as [I]









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see them? By that time, I had served almost four years, so I had a pretty good
feeling of decent things that needed to be done, and so I went and did them.

P: Was the Ford White House more like the Reagan White House, in that you had
more individual responsibility?


R: Basically, because the decision-making apparatus never...[Governor of New York
Nelson] Rockefeller was brought in [as Vice President] to establish the
mechanisms, and they came with an enormous amount of promise and nothing
ever happened. Tom Kleppe was the Secretary [of Interior]. Stan Hathaway was
brutalized during his confirmation hearings. Morton moved over to [the]
Commerce [Department]. Hathaway, the former governor of Wyoming, becomes
Secretary of Interior. He announces in the west that the first thing he is going to
do is fire me. By that time, I had, you know, the eagle cases, the removal of 1080
(the coyote killer), my adamant stand on the grizzly bears in Yellowstone,
enforcement action against oil and gas producers who left sludge on the ground
and left sludge pits. Here was my grandfather, one of the world=s most famous
Western men, and here as a grandson, I was not appreciated in the Western
states. I understand; I did not speak like a Westerner, I did not dress like a
Westerner, and I did not think every dam was a great idea. I had seized 300
[dead] eagles [poisoned by an illegal chemical] in Wyoming. I had taken them out
of Wyoming to the Denver wildlife lab, and Hathaway, as governor, was
absolutely irate. I attempted to see him twice. I got in [the] door twice, but he was
screaming and yelling so hard that I said, I will come back another time. So when
he became secretary, it was a real crisis in my life. I was going to get fired. So I
wrote a letter of resignation, and my staff begged me not to deliver it. The day
that he was to be confirmed, he was to be confirmed at 6:00 at night in what was
called the Treaty Room in the Department of Interior, the huge meeting room.
[This was in] 1974. I was extraordinarily busy, and I mean that. I am not inventing
this. But at 5:50, my wonderful D.C. secretary, Nori Yuchida, came into my office
and said, Mr. Secretary, you have got to go to the swearing-in. I said, why do I
want to go to my death? She said, it would not be like you. She really struck a
nerve. It would not be a sign of courage for you to stay down here, as busy as
you are, and not go to Secretary Hathaway=s swearing-in. Okay. God, you really
know how to hurt a man. So, I took the elevator upstairs, and I walked down the
corridor. I am not kidding, believe me, it was solid TV cameras from the western
states, all the western TV. I walked right in the room, I walked right over to him, I
shook his hand, and he asked me to stand to the left of him, I think. I stood there,
took the oath of office from the Chief Justice, and all the Wyomingites and all the
Coloradans and all the Utahites, they all came by me and said, you are dead. I
stuck around and had half a drink and went back downstairs. The next afternoon,
because I am hypoglycemic, at 5:00 in the afternoon, wherever I am in the world,
I stop. I stop at 11:00 and I stop at 5:00, and I have a cup of tea or soup and a









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bowl of nuts or crackers. Otherwise, my blood sugar goes off the table, especially
if I am going to be working until 8:00 or 9:00 at night. It is just a habit. The
telephone rang at about 4:45, and it was the Secretary saying, I hear you have a
cup of tea, I really enjoy a cup of tea; may I have a cup of tea with you? I said, do
you want me to come to you? He said, no, I would like to come to you. Half [my]
staff was hanging at the door, it seemed to me, and I said, well boys, I will try to
protect your jobs. I know he is coming downstairs to fire me. Well, he came
downstairs and he sat down. I got him a cup of tea. We were sitting in two
comfortable chairs, and he said, why did you take those eagles out of Wyoming
without my permission? I said, you know, I really tried two times to come into
your office to tell you why, and both times you were screaming so hard at me, I
could not get a word in edgewise. He said, I remember that, I remember that, but
why did you take my eagles out? I said, well then, first of all, they are not your
eagles. The bald eagle is covered by the Bald Eagle Act, and they are
federalized birds. Secondly, they were found by a member of the Audubon
Society who put them in a cold, safe location, a cold locker, and called me, told
me he had them. He was sure they had been killed by a very deadly poison,
which they had been, a poison that had been banned many years called thallium
sulphate, which is used by ranchers to kill coyotes and eagles, which, they
maintain, prey on their lambs or kids. I needed those eagle carcasses to run the
analysis at the Denver wildlife laboratory, and very frankly, Mr. Secretary, I did
not trust the Wyoming Game and Fish [Department] to do the analysis properly,
to give you the proper information which would lead to the potential arrest of the
person involved. It is a very long story. The person involved, I uncovered
because I put out a nationwide [plea for information] B Walter Cronkite [television
anchorman] helped me by putting it on an evening show, CBS evening news,
and kept up hammering away at, who killed the eagles? This guy showed up in
my office, literally walked in. In those days, there was no security. He came in
and sat in a chair and began crying in my outer office. He was the pilot that had
helped these guys kill over 1,000 eagles. To make a long story short, I made the
case. The guy committed suicide before [he] could go to trial. The weekend
before [the trial], he drank a bottle of whiskey and drove his Cadillac off a cliff at
100 miles an hour. It was those kinds of things that did not endear me to the
western senators, and of course the Republican senators were to the right of
Genghis Khan. It was much easier to deal with the Democrats then. The
Democrats had a fairly good environmental ethos. The Republicans had none.
Also, I was lucky. Just think now, in Montana, I had Lee Metcalf [U.S. Senator,
Montana] and Mike Mansfield [U.S. Senator, D-Montana]. Look at Montana now.
Throughout the Rocky Mountains [existed] the last vestiges of really
distinguished Democrat senators. Many of them had gone to the Congress
during the Franklin Roosevelt era, had become United States senators and had
served in the Congress all of their lives, but they had an enormous land ethos.


P: Did Hathaway then decide to keep you on?









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R: Okay, the story concludes. He got up to leave and he said, I will be back
tomorrow [afternoon]. So he disappears. The staff all comes in and I said, well,
we are alive for twenty-four more hours. The next day he came in and he said,
tell me about these oil leases that you are opposed to. I went over backwards
and forwards why I was opposed to them: they were in the wrong place, and you
would have to build a new railroad to get to them and so forth. I said, you know,
you are going to be confronted with these [problems]. [There are] a whole series
[of proposed leases] coming through the department right now. Some of them
are good, some of them are terrible. Some of the [leases], you know as governor,
are just terrible, and you are going to have to make some really tough decisions.
You are going to have to look at the environmental consequences of each one of
these leases. He said, by God, I better get some good advice. I said, you bet
your sweet ass you better some good advice. The next night, it was all gas-
leasing in the Gulf of Mexico or whether we should lease off California, or what
about this oil-lease off southeast Alaska B [that] one that I was vehemently
opposed to and because it was a major, major [halibut] breeding ground. [The
vast majority of] halibut breed in this one particular [area]. Can you imagine
having a runaway oil well there? They put down a couple of exploratory wells,
and thank God they have not found anything. This went on, literally, for eight
days. I was ready to go back to Florida. I would have hated to lose the
opportunity and the staff, but I was ready to go. I had set very definite
parameters, when I took the job, as to what I would do and what I would not do.
Alita and I would talk about it almost every night. Finally, about the eighth night,
Hathaway said, would you serve me as my Assistant Secretary? I said, Stan, I
thought you came down to fire me. He said, I did, but I have changed my mind. I
want to work with you. We worked for a period of no more than three or four
months when he had a nervous breakdown. [Then came] Tom Kleppe.
[President] Ford wanted no confusion, no excitement, no nothing. [Richard]
Cheney [former Senator from Wyoming; at that time chief of staff to Gerald Ford;
former Secretary of Defense under George Bush] came up with Tom Kleppe.
Tom was a very decent nice man who was dedicated to doing exactly nothing.
One of my favorite cartoons was [by] Pat Oliphant. There was a wonderful door
going into the Secretary of Interior=s office that has got a pair of totem poles on
either side, a great wooden eagle over the top. There is no door in Washington
quite like it. It is bizarre, to say the least. Pat=s cartoon was the entire door,
completely encrusted in cobwebs. It was the most marvelous drawing you have
ever seen, and one little guy says to the other little guy, what is going on in
there? And the other little guy goes, zzzzzz. So we decided as a staff that there
were dragons to kill and things to be done. The tragedy for Ford was that I put on
this fantastic show at Yellowstone complete with Old Faithful [famed geyser]
going off in the background as the speech concluded, a first-class speech on
how he was going to revitalize the National Park System [and] Service and the
Fish and Wildlife System and Service by additional manpower and funds. The









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biggest press corps you have ever laid eyes on. He had a luncheon with the
{Park Service] rangers that he had served with as a young man out of college.

P: He was a firefighter.

R: At Yellowstone. We dug up the Park Service employees who had served with
him, who were still alive. They had a luncheon together. No press and no other
guests. Just them, and they had the best time that has ever been known. Gosh,
on the plane coming home, he was just all over me, he was so excited. Then, he
goes and vetoes the strip-mine bill, which we had only been working for five
years to pass. Cheney was responsible for that. Cheney was chief of staff. It was
dreadful. Russ Train and I had a chance at it before he vetoed it. We went over,
very logically, strengths and weaknesses of the bill, but [also] the terrible damage
that vetoing the bill would have [politically] on the environmental community,
which he was splitting with [Jimmy] Carter [former governor of Georgia and
Ford=s rival in the 1976 presidential election] because Carter was sort of [an]
unknown[-quantity]. [Ford] was a chain-smoker, and he leaned back in his chair
and he said, I am under terrific pressure from the oil, gas and coal companies to
veto the bill. But he said, having listened to you, I am not sure I want to do it. I
had always been very brave with Ford. I said, do not do [veto the bill]. I said, I will
give you a good response to the executives of the oil and gas and coal
companies. The response I would give them is this: this bill is a compromise. It
has taken five years for this bill to wander its way through Congress. It has been
cut down all the way around, and yet Mo Udall [U.S. Congressman, D-Utah, and
Chairman of the Interior Committee in the House] and Scoop Jackson have
brought it to life and passed it in the House and the Senate by sizable majorities.
I would tell the president or the chairman of the board who called you, if I veto
this bill and lose to Governor Carter, Mo Udall, Chairman Udall, will bring back a
strip-mine bill that is so much stronger than this compromise bill. That will scare
the hell out of them. The President laughed and laughed and said, I am not sure
that is the answer I am going to give them, Nathaniel, but it is probably God=s
truth B but I am going to win this election. I said, I think you are going to win the
election, too, but I honestly think you ought to tell them that. Anyway, he loses
the election. What is the first piece of legislation that Mo Udall brought on? The
strip-mine act, and he took all the qualifiers out. We [experienced] this recent
[environmental] disaster in West Virginia, where we found the [Army] Corps of
Engineers [had] allowed] some terrible things going on [hillsides pushed into
streams]. On the whole, especially in the West, the strip-mine bill has had an
extraordinary potential. It has avoided a national tragedy, which we were running
into. The issue mostly is restoration and slopes that are too steep to be mined.

P: Let me ask you about a series of issues you would have dealt with in Interior.


R: Do them.









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P: Number one, oil spills. Particularly, I think of Santa Barbara in 1969 and others.

R: The first thing I had on oil spills was [in] 1971. No sooner had I been sworn in,
Nixon sent me and Bill Pecora, who later became Undersecretary of Interior, one
of the single finest men I have ever served with in government, a full-time federal
employee. [He was the] head of the United States Geological Survey. We were
ordered [by Secretary Morton] to Santa Barbara to fly over the Union [Oil
Company=s offshore] rig and take a look at the fault-line and come back and tell
the president whether the Union rig should be used again, [and] should [the
wells] be started up again and whether other leases that had been sold by the
United States government should be activated. It was really interesting. Flying
over the Union rig and down the fault-line, [we could see] literally hundreds of
gallons of oil seeping from the fault-line, naturally, into the waters of the Pacific.
The pressure was so great. From an ecological standpoint, it made more sense
to pump it than to let it seep. What Bill and I uncovered for Morton was incredible.
Geological Survey and the Office of Minerals [had a] requirement that all new
wells that were finished in the Gulf of Mexico and off California [had to be]
certified] that the wells were at the proper depth on [government] charts that
were handed over to us, and that there were choke valves. If there was an
emergency, the well would be choked [shut off]. We came back and reported to
Morton that I could see no strenuous reason not to continue drilling as long as
the choke valves...and there was a new pressure valve just being developed.
The oil companies all thought I was God because they were actually convinced
that I was going to come out there and say, absolutely no, so they were very
pleased. Something came up at one of those oil meetings. There was some
statement or look between two people that I caught that really worried me. I went
and saw the secretary with Bill Pecora and I said, I think you ought to have a
flying squad check out every well in the Gulf of Mexico to find out how many of
them really do have choke valves on them. Bill said, how absurd, this is most
absurd thing I have ever heard, Nathaniel. Of course, they all have choke valves
on them, they would not take that chance. Well, no more than three or four
weeks later, one of them caught on fire and Red Adair [famed Texas firefighter]
was called into action. He was the guy you always called upon to put out a
submerged oil well. The Red Adair team put the well out, and divers went down
and guess what? No choke valve. The secretary said, Houdini [Reed], where did
you ever come up with that? I said, there was something at a meeting, Rogers,
that I just happened to hear, or I saw somebody flash a sign across the table,
and it meant they are not all there. [The oil companies] are putting the choke
valve there [on] for the inspection period and then they are pulling them [off].
[The valve] only restricts the flow by about 15 percent, but some of them are so
damn greedy that 15 percent is too much. So, we did a sweep. Gosh, it was not a
staggering number, but it was like 17, 18, 20 percent did not have a choke valve.
Believe it or not, there is a meeting-room up in the top of Interior that nobody









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knows about. There is a rather large room. Rogers had the Seven Sisters and
the Twelve Cousins [come to a meeting]. The Seven Sisters are the seven
biggest oil companies, and the Twelve Cousins [the next biggest independents].
He had nineteen oil company presidents in that room. I was there. The assistant
secretary for energy was there. There were a lot of security officers there. Rogers
said, if there is a missing choke valve on any well that you are operating
anywhere in the federal waters of the United States of America, I am telling you,
you will never get to lease another inch of bottom from the same federal
government. Gentlemen, there is no discussion. This is a statement, this is a
promise, this is an assurance. End of the meeting. It was all over in [five] and a
half minutes. These guys all filed out in their cowboy boots and got in their jets
and flew back to Houston. I was so proud of Morton. I just cannot tell you how
proud I was.

P: What about this idea of, I think it is called, absolute liability without cause, so that
if there is a spill they have to clean it up before they determine the cause.

R: Yes. I think that came about when...

P: Was that standard policy?

R: No. I am going to have to dodge that one because I do not really remember. As
you know, [the federal government] still has not settled with Exxon Valdez [oil
tanker who spilled its load in Alaskan waters]. In Delaware Bay, [there is still a
spill legal action].

P: How do you deal with the quintessential issue for the country=s need for oil and
the process of controlling these oil spills? How do you balance nature versus the
capitalistic view?

R: The basic fact of the matter is the technology is at hand. You should not have an
oil spill. Now, I can make a case where you are drilling in the fault zone off
California, where the earth moves significantly, and what happened [at the] Union
[oil rig], it breaks off the pipe and you get a major oil spill. But the fact of the
matter is, if you have an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, you really ought to have
your fingers pulled off your hand or hung by your thumbs. I mean, there are
thousands and thousands of rigs working today around the world in deep and
shallow water that have never had a spill, never will have a spill. I am talking
about the North Sea, I am talking about Alaska, I am talking about the Gulf of
Aden, Suez, you name it. There are offshore oil rigs, and they have never had [a
spill]. They are working in the Gulf of Mexico. You should not have an oil spill. I
mean, we are so far ahead in the technology in how to run a pipe down, even
12,000, 14,000, 15,000 feet with a good strong choke valve on top of it. It has
got to be a severe non-man-made natural occurrence like an earthquake or gross









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negligence [to justify a spill]. It is just not a mystery how to drill oil anymore, and
those who pollute with oil spills should pay an enormous price. Simple. Because
the basic fact of the matter is, as you well know, the world has got to get off the
petroleum kick. It is not that we are going to run out of oil in any time in the near
future B we are not. There are huge, huge finds yet to be made in seas [and in
places like] Iraq. The problem is that oil is not where we would like it, which is in
a nice safe place where we can all guzzle it without having to worry about the
price going up to $38 a barrel. During one of the great energy crises, [Henry]
Kissinger [Nixon=s National Security Advisor] nearly killed me when I said to the
press, who were all discussing the great problems, the great problem is that the
majority of the oil is in the hands of Arabs, Mexicans, and Venezuelans. This
country has got to kick the petroleum habit, because the oil is owned by
somebody else. Now, everybody laughs at Al Gore [vice president under William
Clinton] saying it is unimaginable to be off the internal- combustion engine. That
is absurd. Why should we be on the internal-combustion engine that was
invented in the 1890s? I mean, it is 110 years later.

P: Let me ask you about your relationship with the National Park Service. One issue
has been, over the years, that the federal government has not gotten as much
money from the concessionaires and perhaps has not charged high enough
entrance fees to support the continuation of these parks. How should the
government get the funds to preserve our national parks?


R: I think it is sort of a straw-horse, the thought that the concessionaires are going
to pay a major portion of the cost of managing, maintaining, the National Park
System. It is not going to happen because the money is not there. I never really
got involved in the great issue of whether the concessionaires were scalping the
national parks by having exclusive operating privileges within the national parks. I
took a different tact altogether. My interest was to eliminate the really disgraceful
amount of T-shirt type stuff that was being sold in the national parks, and the
concessionaires and I had singular disputes over this issue. At every
concessionaires meeting, this issue was taken on. They maintained that I should
not be the arbitrator of good taste. I maintained that we had the power and the
purpose of establishing standards for what would be sold in the concessionaires
facilities within the national parks. I wanted much more Native American goods
sold, especially in the western parks. In the Eastern parks, for instance, in North
Carolina Smokies [Mountains], I wanted to see examples of art forms, whether it
was baskets to toys that were made, in many instances, in mom-and-pop shops
or at home. The fees that concessionaires pay, I doubt that it is 3 percent of the
National Park Service income. Obviously, the big change has been the dramatic
increase in the entrance fee, which now is a sizable sum of money, especially in
the major parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Teton. The decision by
Congress supported by [current] Secretary [of the Interior Bruce] Babbitt to









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reserve a very high percentage of the entrance fee [for] the individual park [is
very important]. For instance, at Yellowstone the operating budget has not
increased dramatically over a 15-year period. The park is barely able to be
managed now, but the difference is that the entry fee, I think it is 80 percent of
the entrance, is returned to the park, which gives the superintendent a very, very
important slug of money for road maintenance, etc. The basic problem has been
that Congress and the [presidential] administrations have been much more eager
to expand the National Park System than to take care of employee housing and
maintenance of the national parks. Even after I left Interior, I came back six or
seven years in a row and testified in front of Chairman Sidney Yates B [we] were
very, very close [friends]Bon the need to increase the maintenance and
operational budgets of the national parks, and there would always be other
priorities. When the Republicans took control of the Congress, they set budget
limits and the appropriations chairman had to fit the budgets of the national parks
and refuges and even some of the Forest Service activities within very strict
budget guidelines. That decreased the members= ability to get additional funding
for parks in their district or near their district that were in desperate need of
funding a specific road or bridge or water systems. So, [the National Park Service
has] fallen very badly behind [in all forms of maintenance]. I am actually
astonished. I had to spend almost the entire maintenance budget of the National
Park Service from 1972 to 1976 on upgrading the sewage treatment plants within
the parks because they were all hopelessly [antiquated], all [of them] in violation
of federal water-quality standards. It is really kind of a dismal thought that your
contribution to America, to the well-being of the national park system, was five
and a half years where you upgraded the sewer systems. It is interesting, here
we are in the year 2000, twenty-four years later, and the vast majority of the
money in this years budget is going to rebuild or build new sewage treatment
plants, replacing the ones that I built in the 1970s because they are
overwhelmed. The Congress has been notoriously lax in promptly funding the
internal maintenance of the park system, you know, [when] one of our greatest
gifts to civilization is the concept of the national park.

P: How do you deal with the extraordinary crowds? I notice even in Yosemite, they
are starting to take reservations. Are they going to move to providing busses for
people to use in the state parks and the national parks? How should the crowds
be controlled?

R: The first breakthrough occurred in about 1973 when Bill Mott, then-director of the
California state park system, went to Ticketron [event ticket sales company] and
actually put 50 or 60 percent of the camping sites and the overnight sites within
the California state park system on a reservation basis. George Hartzog jumped.
He was in my office within hours after the announcement in California. We
immediately began; I think the first [experiment] was Rocky Mountain and
Yosemite [National Parks]. By making a reservation, you were guaranteed a









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campsite or a tent or a room. You could do it weeks ahead of time, and you were
actually guaranteed that site was yours. The first time I ever was in Yosemite
was in 1971 following a minor riot. The big riot had been in either 1969 or 1970,
and terrible, very traumatic. But by 1971, the park still had not settled down, and
George and I flew in, made a prompt decision, regrettably to remove the
superintendent. [We] spent four or five days together touring the park, meeting
the rangers, meeting the district rangers. I was horrified to find that all the
rangers were armed and carrying sidearms. Most of them had not had proper
training to carry a sidearm. Then I persuaded George to go to the campsites in
the evening where the young people were camped out. We went from campsite
to campsite. We even went to one of the ones that was a solid drug campsite,
which I closed promptly. It was a fantastic dialogue with young people, and we
made a lot of decisions. Basically, we went back to the Congress in Yosemite
and urged them to give us the right to close down the number of cars that could
come into the park. They would not do that, but at least they gave us the right to
make the cars be parked. [We] set up an extraordinary bus system that circled
the valley floor that is still in being. It was free. The Congress decided that, as an
experiment, it should be free, free travel, to cut down on the amount of
automobile usage in the park. I think [the day will come and] I think it is close at
Yosemite, where there are going to be X number of people allowed to arrive in
the valley by conventional means. There may be an over-flowage by
extraordinary means which is light railroad B [the visitor would leave their] car
way, way down, well outside the valley. I think any effort to limit the number of
people per day is going to be very difficult. These parks are owned by the
American people. Admittedly, at times, they are like zoos, but you have to be
there and you have to be in the crowd. I would always just go and join the crowd
just as one of them walking up to a fall or on a trail, no ranger carrying a gun next
to me. You really run into the most extraordinary people, you hear the most
extraordinary conversations, and what you come away with is the enormous
excitement of the sights and sounds and smells within a national park and how
[many] Americans [from every state] and how many foreigners are there. Last
May, I was examining a potential new building site for an interpretive building on
the edge of Yellowstone Falls. I was surrounded by Japanese [and] Europeans,
far outweighing the number of Americans. I mean, the national parks are a
mecca for the overseas people, because there is nothing like them in the rest of
the world. There is a wonderful story of Mao [Tse-Tung, former Chinese
Premier]. The president wanted very much to give Mao [a present] B I had helped
out on a couple of presents for [Leonid] Brezhnev [former Soviet Premier]. [Nick
Ruwe,] the aide to the president who was in charge of special gifts, came over to
my office on a top-secret mission, which was, what did I know about a potential
present from President Nixon to Mao Tse-Tung. I said that I thought I had read
some place that one of the things he admired most about America was the
national park system, that actually on the Long March [part of the Chinese
Revolution], Mao had carried with him some document that described the









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national park system. So, Hartzog and I applied ourselves very rapidly, and we
chose, I think, twelve or fourteen national parks where we had the finest
photographs put together in a leather-bound volume. Nelson Rockefeller had a
private binder in New York City, and we were able to find somebody within the
National Park System who knew what type of Chinese Mao Tse-tung [used] as
his personal variety. The historians were brought together, and we actually wrote,
made, a privately-printed book in something like eight weeks time. Nixon gave it
to him. [Mao] expressed absolute delight when he received it from Nixon, and we
know for a fact that it was on his bedside the day that [Mao] died.

P: One issue that will not go away is forest fires. How is the best way to try to
control that particular problem?



R: You really know how to get to some basic questions. Well, you know, I am a
burner, because I came from Florida. The first problem was in the Everglades.
George had not allowed any burning, especially on the road going down the park,
the main park road, to Flamingo. I had driven it a number of times, and the
woody vegetation adjacent to the road was out of total control. I ordered the
superintendent to [initiate a burning program], burn the marsh during a dry period
and get the woody vegetation next to the road burned down. He said, I cannot do
it, Mr. Secretary, because George Hartzog will have my ass; he does not want
any fire in the park until after the congressional delegations leave in the spring.
The delegations always came down to fish and eat shrimp and take tours. Most
congressman are totally unfamiliar with the role of fire, especially in Florida, so I
went and counteracted the order. I must admit, George came up with the perfect
solution. He hired four or five temporary employees, all very, very good-looking
young ladies who were very smartly dressed and who were interpreters. As cars
came down the road and stopped, either watching the fire or looking at the
aftermath of the fire, one of these young lady rangers would step up and describe
why fire was such an integral part of the Everglades system. In the 1970s, it is
probably in the scrapbook, we had a major fire in Grand Teton, and I refused to
put it out. First of all, it was a lightning-strike. Second of all, the Forest Service
and the Park Service were not sure it could be put out. It was in a piece of land
on the west side of Jackson Lake that had not been burned for probably 300
years. It was in lodgepole pine,[and the fire] was coming right down into valleys,
into meadows, and should have burned. It had been suppressed a number of
times since the park had been created. So I let it burn. I had a wonderful advisory
group from Jackson. They were all in business in Jackson, but they were good
people. They urged me to put the fire out. Then they demanded that I put the fire
out. The two senators demanded I put the fire out, and I said no, this is a natural
force and I am going to let it continue. It burned on and on and on and on, all of
late July, August, September. The advisory board all resigned. The senior









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senator from Wyoming wanted my head. In the federal folders that are in the
Ford Library, there is a wonderful note from Nixon saying, in his scrawl, are you
right? RN. And I wrote back, I am right! Actually, every September I had a
meeting of all the great ecologists in the country in Yellowstone. Starker Leopold
and Durwood Allen and I flew down in the helicopter, and as we were
approaching the southern end of Yellowstone, there was a meadow. Above the
meadow was solid lodgepole pine. It was at the Continental Divide. I said to the
pilot, is there any way in the world you can land this helicopter on that slope so
that Dr. Leopold and I can walk up into that lodgepole forest, because I really
would like to see what the condition is. He said, well, we are taking a chance. We
are not supposed to be landing, but if you do not mind walking 500 yards, I will
put her down and keep the engine going. Of course, it was very, very high, and it
was very steep. Nevertheless, we landed, and Leopold and I marched up the
slope. It was the biggest mess you ever laid eyes on. It was 200 years, maybe
300 years, of lodgepole pine. It looked like tumble sticks. There was so much
dead timber on the floor, covered over by more dead timber. It should have
probably burned every 50 years, and we were probably looking at 300 years. I
said, Starker, what is going to happen when lightning strikes and this catches on
fire? He said, you will never put it out. Yellowstone has been putting out fires
since its creation in the 1870s, and the fire suppression, the Smokey Bear
attitude in the Park Service, has absolutely left to some assistant secretary a
tragedy, because it is going to burn and it should burn and people are not going
to understand it. Let us hope you are not the assistant secretary. We got back in
the helicopter, and we flew down to the Grand Teton fire, which was basically
out. It had snowed, and it was just smoldering. Leopold immediately seized on
the opportunity. He said, what an opportunityBthe superintendent was Gary
EverheartBand he said, Gary, next year, this is going to be full of lupine and
grasses, and the elk and the moose are going to be all over these thousands of
acres of now open meadows. What you want to do is to set up an actual tour
from the Jackson Lodge site across the lake, put up a temporary dock, and get
people to walk where the fire was and interpret it. By God, we did it, and it was a
huge success. But of course we lost so much ground during the Yellowstone fire,
people accused the Park Service, including Matheson, of deliberately setting it. It
got to be so seriousBDan Rather [CBS anchorman] was so inaccurate, and Tom
Brokaw [NBC anchorman] was fairly inaccurateBI actually flew out there to help
the superintendent out. Two years later, I was giving a major speech in
Yellowstone, and I went out three or four days early. The Park Service had
arranged for me to fly over the entire fire, all of the burn country, with the chief
fire officer of the Forest Service. We flew two days together, about six hours a
day, and he described where the fires came from, how they were started by
lightning or, in one case, humans, and how this fire storm blew down into
Yellowstone, and how, in his opinion and the opinion of all the experts, it was
impossible to put it out. There was so much fuel available. Of course, it made a
fire storm, and so the winds were colossal from the fire. The fire raced and raced









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and raced. It was really fascinating to be there. I have been on the Yellowstone
Foundation since its inception. I go once a year in May, and my term will be up
this year. I still take a helicopterBit is a privilege that they usually have a
helicopter for meBand I fly over the park. The regeneration now is so astonishing
that it is just magical. The basic problem is drought, and of course this has been
a terrible past summer. The summer of 2000 has been a summer of enormous
fires all over the West. Of course it is in forest that traditionally burns on a much
more frequent basis than they have been allowed to in the last 200 years, so that
you build up this immense amount of fuel, and then when you get a fire, you
really cannot put them out, if the conditions are like they were this year, very,
very dry and with high winds. But fire is an important part of the management of
the national parks. I will never forget, I ordered a burn at the high grove of
Sequoia Gigantea in Yosemite. I am telling you, the Park Service had a nervous
breakdown, but there was too much fuel among the Rockefeller [Sugar Pine]
Grove. I was walking and I had two or three forest ecologists with me. I stopped
and I said, can I describe what I am seeing? And I described what I was seeing.
There was long silence, and I said, is this not a prescription for a disastrous fire?
The superintendent sort of shook all over, and finally one of the forest ecologists
said, yes. I said, what should happen? They said, what should happen is a very
carefully controlled cool burn, carefully monitored, probably with heavy
equipment up here, in case the fire gets out of control. I said, all right, write an
environmental-impact statement, and I will go handle the Sierra Club
[environmental lobby and non-profit group], which I did. I told them what we were
going to do, but I will tell you, the week that we burned up in the Rockefeller
Grove with sugar pines and the great grove of Sequoia Gigantea in Yosemite, I
hardly slept. I was on the phone day and night as they were burning around the
clock actually. We had pumpers and everything else up there. We had probably
half the Reserve Army Corps of San Francisco up there manning fire-lines, and
we got it done, and the Park Service now maintains it. I had one other burn in
Yosemite, very controversial, coming down one of the major hillsides. Sierra Club
was not sure [the burn should happen]. Dr. [Edgar] Wayburn, who was the
chairman of Sierra Club, was not certain. I went ahead anyway. I wrote an EA
[environmental assessment] and got it done. The next spring, Edgar and I were
driving up, and it was all green grass. There were 5,000,000 lupine in bloom. We
stopped the car. I did not know what Edgar was going to say, and he turned
around and said, it is absolutely magnificent, Nathaniel; I am awfully glad you did
it rather than me. You have to have a little luck. A few years later, we had a major
fire in one of the groves in Yosemite that got out of control. It was a lightning-
strike. It had not been a properly prescribed burn, and so the fire was very, very
hot. I came into the park to give a speech on the 100th anniversary of the
[establishment of the park]. That would have been 1979. I had arrived in a suit, of
all things, because I had given a luncheon speech in San Francisco. Then Bill
Lane [publisher and owner of] Sunset magazine had sent his airplane for me. He
flew me up to give the centennial speech. [I was met by] Superintendent [Michael









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Finley]. As we drove into the valley, there was a crew burning a prescribed burn.
It was in the early evening. I ordered the car to stop. I got out, and I went behind
a bush and pulled off my suit, got my duffel bag out, put on a pair of boots, a pair
of Levis and a blue shirt, and I went and joined the fire gang. I spent about two
and half hours out there having an absolutely delicious time. The superintendent
having a nervous breakdown, the thought that I might get burned or in trouble
and he would have a certain retired assistant secretary burned on his hands.
Anyway, it was a huge success. It was interesting, the head of that prescribed
burning effort was a young woman, who was a graduate of the Forest Service
who joined the Park Service. Her assignment was to teach prescribed burning in
the western parks. So, we made an incredible stride forward. Now, whether the
summer of 2000 sets us back is what I worry about. The Yellowstone fire set us
back very badly, and the summer of 2000 may set us back as well, because the
American people genuinely are terrified of fire. Smokey the Bear has lasted so
long as a symbol. They just do not understand the ecology, especially of western
fires and southeastern woods, the absolute necessity of having frequent fire.

P: Another issue is the quality of the water, and I guess the rivers and lakesBI
remember the Cuyahoga [river, outside of Cleveland, Ohio] caught on fire one
timeBdramatically improved after 1973. Was that not the Clean Water Act?


R: Yes, but Cuyahoga was one of the premier happenings that really sparked the
national awareness of the great water-quality problems we were having coast to
coast. I mean, you could not have asked for anything better than the Cuyahoga
to catch on fire. I do not remember if anybody was killed. I do not think there was.
But, you know, the cases of Giardia, the case in drinking water, the case in South
Florida, the proliferation of septic tanks with no centralized sewer systems, meant
that many home-owners in southern Palm Beach, Broward and Dade, had a
septic tank running out one side of their house and their well on the other side of
the house. They were literally drinking septic-tank quality sewage. I gave a
speech that was not well-received, and I understand now why it was not well-
received. It was in Miami, and I said, if everybody woke up one morning with red,
yellow and brown spots all over their body from drinking their own sewage, it
would make my job of constructing centralized sewage systems all over South
Florida a hell of lot easier. I do not want anybody to get sick. I just want them to
be spotted for one day. Of course, my critics leapt on that, that I wanted
everybody to die and so on and so forth. But it was true, it was very hard to
persuade people that their septic-tank effluent, going right into a canal where
children were swimming, was any kind of a potential danger. They said, well, we
have been doing it all these years and we have never gotten sick. Of course, the
reason for it was, as long as you are drinking your own sewage, you are drinking
back your own bugs. The problem is, you have somebody come in as a
houseguest who brings cholera with them, and you are all going to get very sick.









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You will read about that in the scrapbook. That was a difficult part of my life. But
it was the Cuyahoga, it was the breaking of the phosphate dams and running
phosphate waste down the Peace River, it was the extraordinary coincidence of
many [water-quality problems], the Great Lakes, the terrible problems of the
water quality in the Great Lakes, that led to a national awareness that I hit right.
The luck of my life was that my life span hit this enormous period where suddenly
America became aware, concerned and determined to do something about the
environmental degradation that had occurred during the Second World War and
through the roaring 1950s and 1960s. Suddenly there was a pause, and a
recognition by millions of Americans that something was terribly wrong, and I
arrived. My ship of state arrived at that moment. Timing in life is everything, and I
recognize that. If I had been earlier, I would have been like one of the prophets of
doom who spoke about water-quality problems, air-quality problems, pesticide.
Rachel Carson [author of Silent Spring] was a voice in the wilderness. Even
qualified environmentalists, conservationists, of that time were not quite sure
what Rachel Carson was saying. Everybody gave lip service to Aldo Leopold=s
books, but nobody really understood that everything was connected to everything
else. I mean, it was very vague. Only in a very few centers of high education was
the concept that the world was a web, an intertwined web, and the number of
students in environmental courses was tiny. The number of qualified, highly
qualified, water-pollution engineers working for the federal government was a
handful. The university system was not turning them out, and there was no
apparent need for them in the 1950s and 1960s, because America did not care. It
was a dead-end job with the state or federal government. I mean, you looked at
the pollution-control officers in the states, you fainted. They were all old doctors
who had given up. They could not practice medicine, so they practiced some
type of adventure with industry, trying to persuade them without having any kind
of tools to enforce anything. It was all voluntary. Right across the country,
everything was voluntary. Mr. Industry, would you clean up your arsenic that is
going into the nearest river? And if industry said go to hell, they went and came
back another year. All of a sudden in the 1960s and 1970s, an enormous thrust
of the problems came to the fore.

P: In this case, how do you deal with the problem of sewage, because certainly
during this time there was no tertiary treatment at all in many areas of the
country, and over a period of time...you have today, for example, the sewage
system in New York City that is old and dilapidated and needs to be replaced, but
there does not seem to be much emphasis on repairing old sewage systems.

R: I am not sure that is true. I serve on the Natural Resources Defense Council
board. We sued the City of New York about ten years ago, and since then, they
have spent about $2,000,000,000 on upgrading their treatment plants, with full
secondary, very close to tertiary discharging to the East River and to the Hudson
[River]. One of the great problems is that at the conclusion, and I cannot give you









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the date, probably under Reagan[=s first term?], the federal government pulled
its enormous grant program out and now only provides the states with sort of a
trust fund. Every state has a trust fund. It is a one-time provision by the
Congress. I think Florida=s is close to $100,000,000. You would have to check
me out on this. What you do now is, the city of X pulls from that fund and then
repays the fund when it bonds itself. It repays the fund for the money that it
pulled out. Of course, that is far, far different from the great push of the 1960s,
1970s and 1980s when 80 percent of the money was federal money and you
could sign up the cities, once you convinced them that they had to do it. Tampa
was very proud, when I came to Tallahassee, that it had a primary system that
was discharging [into Tampa Bay]. It was very, very good because it was one of
the few primary systems in the state. Dale Twachman [Director of Tampa Bay
Sewage System] lectured me on the impossibility of building the Tampa plant into
secondary, and of course, it is at tertiary now. The thought that I would require
the southeastern sewage plants to go to secondary and then discharge their
water through the Atlantic...why are we spending this money on secondary
treatment when we are putting [the sewage] 2,000 feet offshore in a Gulf Stream
that is moving at 3.4 miles per hour and you cannot find any sign of the nutrients
and the potential bacteria or viruses 150 feet away from the discharge point of
the pipe? You said, because we cannot take a chance. Furthermore, even then, I
saw the vast potential of using well-treated sewage for irrigation of golf courses,
center strips and on roads, beautification of cities. I had the second chance in life
of coming back on the Water Management District board. I think Reubin Askew
appointed me first and then Bob Graham and then Lawton Chiles. [Re-use] is
now mandatory. The golf courses must use it. So we are using reclaimed water,
but we had such battles. The [EPA] would come down and say, there are
unknown viruses potentially going onto your golf courses. It is very serious, Mr.
Reed, and I would say, nobody is dying. [I maintain that we] cannot keep putting
billions and billions of gallons of very expensive well-treated water in the ocean. It
just does not make any sense. I mean, when you stop and think about it, you
build these colossal plants. You take all the sewage through the plant. You make
it into a benign freshwater stream, and you put it in the ocean. That is nonsense.
All the counties that have huge growth problems. The water management
districts are [now] saying, when a golf course is built or when a sewage treatment
plant is built, tell me what you are going to do with your wastewater. It is not
going into the nearest canal. Where is it going to be used? Is it going to be used
in municipal greenery? Is it going to be on golf courses? St. Petersburg, as you
know, has two complete systems. It has one system at the front of the house that
has the benign name of gray water. You turn your spigot on to water the lawn, it
has got a different color stem than inside the house, your own drinking water. But
every house in St. Petersburg, the water for the lawn, for the dog, the cat and the
car is gray water, reclaimed water. Just from a standpoint of cost-effectiveness, it
makes good sense. But to encourage the good husbandry of Florida=s greatest
asset, which is bountiful waterBmaybe not this year [due to drought], but normally









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bountiful waterBit just makes incredibly good sense. I think that is probably one of
the most important contributions I made to the Water Management District
philosophy during my fourteen years serving on those boards, was the absolute
education of other members of the board to the necessity of reusing water.

P: Talk about the problem of beach erosion. For example, recently [on Jupiter
Island] they had put tons of sand on the beaches, and then you get a nor=easter
and it takes it all away again. How do you preserve these beautiful pristine
beaches in Florida?

R: We do not know. That is the basic [issue]. We all know that the coastal shoreline
is one of the most aggressively violent parts of our natural world, is supposed to
be, has been. Where we are sitting right now was an atoll, hundreds of
thousands, if not millions, years ago. Across the river, on the west side of the
river, high, high sand dunes that were created by monstrous seas, millions of
years ago, that threw that light, light sand up onto those hillsides, created those
hillsides. We are obviously facing a period of an expanding ocean from global
warming. The cost-effectiveness of replacing sand on the beach from offshore or
inshore supplies is horrendous. At the moment, I do not have any other solutions
for those people who do not want to live with a steel wall [keeping the ocean
back]. Let us face it, the real estate from Vero Beach to Miami, you are looking at
billions of dollars of real estate. People want to live adjacent to the ocean, are
willing to take the risks of living next to the ocean. If the township and the county
can afford to pump sand, and the sand is there to be pumped... We go through
long periods on Jupiter Island after a pumping where we have a spectacular
beach. As you may not know, this is one of the primary turtle-nesting beaches in
the world because of our beach system. We have one of the most intense
nesting seasons for loggerheads. We have greens and leatherback [turtles]. All
nest here. 95 or 96 percent are loggerheads, but I am talking about hundreds of
thousands of eggs are deposited on this beach per year. One of the reasons is
because it is dark. The vast majority of our community is a fall, winter, spring
community, and it is closed up, tight as a drum, in the summertime. There are no
lights, and there is no disturbance on the beach. The island is extremely well-
policed, and there is a biologist on the beach every night on a four-wheeler. We
lose almost no eggs to poaching. No beach, no turtles. Very simple. Beach at
vast expense, peace in the community, very important for tourism, and you are
protecting billions of dollars of property behind it. How long will we continue to
spend the enormous sums of money recreating beaches, only to lose them to
nor=easters and hurricanes? It depends upon the rate of global warming. I kind
of like [my home] being up at plus eight feet, with the increase in world
temperature, which must be one of the primary environmental concerns of the
21st century.

P: Should the federal government continue to issue flood insurance when private









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companies will not?

R: To the extent we face this problem on national seashores B Cape Cod
[Massachusetts] and Fire Island [New York], [Cape] Hatteras [North Carolina] B I
believe one of the wondrous things that came out of the Clinton administration
was the best management of the Federal Emergency Management Agency,
FEMA, since its inception. They have come to the conclusion that two strikes and
you are out. They will pay full insurance, federal insurance, twice, and if another
storm blows your house down, that is it. The second largest liability to Social
Security that the federal government entertains is the federal flood-control
program. The liability exposure is so many billions of dollars that I have forgotten
what it is, but it is colossal. You can see why. You get a major hurricane come
into the Keys and travel up the east coast of Florida. It would bankrupt every
single private insurer promptly. There are so many billions of dollars worth of
potential damage in South Florida or Southwest Florida or the Tampa region, it is
just incalculable. I think the lobby of the coastal states, the construction industry,
the realtors [and] the Chambers of Commerce are significantly powerful. The
majority of the congressional delegation comes from coastal states now, and the
majority of people live relatively very close to both coasts. Throw in the Great
Lakes and throw in the Gulf, and you got four coasts. I do not see any end to the
federal insurance program ever, but I do think there will have to be carefully
thought-out strategies on all the coasts. If you are living in a highly hazardous
zone and you are destroyed twice, how many times does the American taxpayer
have to come back and rebuild your house? That is a legitimate question.

P: Another issue is in terms of air pollution and the internal-combustion engine.
There has been a movement, to some degree in Florida, to provide a high-speed
passenger rail travel. What is the future of that proposal?

R: I think it is dead on arrival. The current ballot next Tuesday will have a proposal
that is an amendment to our constitution to start a major high-speed rail system
from Miami to Orlando/Tampa. First of all, the only route is in the Everglades,
and so the permitting problems of such a railroad would be incredible,
impossible. I suspect that we will go to a different form of energy in the 21st
century. Halfway through, we will look back on the gas-guzzler of today with a
sense of wry humor. We will be on hydrogen or we will be on solar batteries. We
will be on something. The era of the internal-combustion engine relying on
gasoline will be superseded by something else, just as so much of the modern
technology of the last twelve years could not possibly have been forecasted in
1900. I have often thought about a wonderful speech you could give in the year
2000 by saying, my grandfather was very much alive in 1900. Could he have
possibly forecast what happened in the 20th century? No. Heck, think of
forecasting in 1980 [and] the last twenty years of the 20th century, the
advancement of technology. At Deerfield Academy, when I was the trustee in









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charge of buildings and grounds, the central wiring system of the campus had to
be redone, and while the digging equipment was there and all these wires were
going into conduits, I said, let us put a major cable into every dormitory because I
have got a curious feeling that in the latter part of the 20th century, every room
will have a word processor and a computer on the students= desks. The trustees
all said, oh, you have gone stark raving mad. Anyway, I persuaded them to let
me go ahead and put the wire in, and now every student has a word processor
and a computer on his or her desk, just as if it were a pad in my day. So, I
honestly believe we will get a handle on the gasoline-driven car. I think we will
probably drive a wheeled-vehicle well into the 21st century, but I have significant
doubt that it will be gasoline-powered.

P: But should we move more to light-rail travel? We have the Metroliner. There are
ways to reduce the number of automobiles on the road. Will the public take
advantage of that? They do in Europe, but we have not traditionally in this
country.

R: It depends upon the price of fuel. I take the train to Miami from West Palm
Beach, and then I can get to the U.S. Attorney=s office by taking the little people-
mover in Miami. One of the problems is getting off at one of the other stations.
There are no taxicabs. There is no internal mechanism from getting to one spot
to another. The loss of the streetcar in America is one of the great tragedies. One
of the great devices of the world in Europe is to catch a streetcar. You can go
anywhere. Or subway. We are so independent. We have been part of the
automobile culture for so long. This is an interesting question. I do not know how
long it will take. The bicycle now is a premier mover and a premier sports vehicle,
athletic, of all ages. I do not think anybody could forecast twenty-five years ago
the increased number of people who bike, literally bike to work in Washington,
Philadelphia, New York City even, in all kinds of weather. But it is still a fraction
to the number of people who travel by car.
P: Let us talk about an important event, the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Who
determines the designation of an endangered species?

R: Go back a moment. When I arrived in 1971, the proposed Endangered Species
Act was winding its way through the halls of Congress, and the [Nixon]
administration had taken an interest in it. I joined a group over at the White
House. I do not remember whether the Council on Environmental Quality had
been established by then, but I took a tremendous interest in the legislation. I
became the point-man for the Nixon administration on how to respond to the
congressional interest to an Endangered Species Act. I testified repetitively at the
House and the Senate on the act and survived some pretty tough grilling.
Nobody at that time foresaw what the courts would later adjudicate the full scope
of the Act to mean. When it passed in 1973, I immediately assigned to the Fish
and Wildlife Service the major responsibilities of carrying out the act. Of course,









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as always, the Congress failed to give us adequate manpower or financial means
to really begin to enforce the act. It is done by very, very careful science. What
we learned in the 1970s, and especially during the Reagan years, is that faulty
science will be challenged successfully in court. The outside world, the enviros
[pro-environmental citizens], the non-government organizations, the NGOs, now
have such a significant ability to pull together really good scientists to challenge a
decision by federal scientists that a bird or a mammal or a plant is or is not
endangered. The federal government had to really improve the quality of its
science, which I began in 1971 but obviously accelerated with the passage of the
Endangered Species act. The act was not helped by the Tellico Dam [snail]
darter issue because most Americans felt that the darter was not truly a worthy
candidate. They were thinking about big animals, tigers, snow leopards, jaguars,
critters in America, wolverines. They were not particularly interested in the little
fish. Then on top of that, very soon thereafter on private lands in California, over-
pumping of an aquifer dried up watering holes where a strange little desert
pupfish lived. I had to issue orders to both federal and private landowners to
cease-and-desist. Well, you can imagine. What, you mean I am giving up water
for my cattle to save that bloody pupfish? It was one thing to save an eagle. It
was another thing to save a darter or a pupfish. Now, one of the most incredible
arguments was in the House. It was a hearing. David Rockefeller and the Chase
[Manhattan] Bank had a great idea of filling in major portions of the San
Francisco Bay wetlands and building a second San Francisco going toward
Oakland. You have never seen such plans, high-rise buildings. All of America=s
greatest architects had designed a building. Unfortunately for them, these
wetlands were among the most pristine left in California, and we refused to give a
dredge-and-fill permit. Furthermore, there were a number of endangered critters
that lived in these marshes. During one of the hearings, one of the really right-
wing Republican members of the California delegation began screaming at me,
saying, you mean to say we are giving up this chance to have this magnificent
new addition to the city of San Francisco because of the San Francisco salt-
marsh mouse? After his diatribe had finished, I said, my position here in the
federal government is that the salt-marsh mouse is not here to testify for himself.
I am testifying in person on behalf of the mouse, and I would turn your question
around to you and ask you: would you have asked me the same question if you
were the San Francisco salt-marsh mouse? Well, the committee broke into a
roar. I said, you know, it depends whether you really have the belief that you
have the right to extinguish a life-form anywhere on this earth, or whether when
you pass the Act and put the creation of the Act and the enforcement of the Act
in my hands, whether you did not say to me, be a wise steward. Of course, what
we learned very quickly is that you cannot save the critter unless you save the
habitat. Now strangely enough, during the hearings, the Congress was not quite
sure what that meant. I am not sure the administration understood the leaps and
bounds of saving a habitat. You suddenly have all of southern California under
[current Secretary of Interior Bruce] Babbitt=s plan to save butterflies, birds, etc.,









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in a state of near-war, because hundreds of thousands of acres are going to
either have to be lightly- built on or put into permanent green reserves. You have
the spotted owl. You have all kinds of major, major ecosystems that will have to
remain almost intact to preserve the critters that are in great trouble. This is a
very hard concept. You are changing the concept of saving some wonderful
bright little bird or some insect. People do not really do well with insects. Fish, a
little bit better. But when you get into a mammal, everybody is for that. But then
you say, I have got to put 500,000 or 600,000 acres aside or 1,000,000 or
2,000,000 acres aside, and the old interest in commerce comes back and there
is a pause. Babbitt has been an interesting steward of the Act. He felt sure with a
Republican Congress that he would lose the Act. Bruce [Babbitt] has become a
very close friend of mine. He allowed himself to be sued by a number of the
NGOs. The Natural Resources Defense Council won twenty-six consecutive
cases against him on endangered species issues in California alone. Very strong,
very strict environmentalists declare that Bruce was a coward in not defending
the law and defending larger portions of ecosystems for the critter that was
named. His defense sounds weak, which is, had I prosecuted all these cases in
California or Washington or Oregon, I would have lost the Act. Some people say,
you should have gone down in fire. What he did is he made a 50 percent
judgment. He knew [that not every decision] was significantly sufficient, allowed
himself to be sued, allowed himself to go to court and strike an signed agreement
which protected the ecosystem and therefore the critter. In other words, he was
forced to the altar, a reluctant bridegroom. But with the [Newt] Gingrich [former
Representative from Georgia; former Speaker of the House, and former leader of
the 1994 Republican Revolution] Congress and the reactionaries that came into
office during that period, I think a case can be made that Bruce=s approach was
one that [was politically smart]. Time will tell whether he should have gone down
in fire or whether the approach that he took was a more pragmatic one.

P: How do you explain to the man in California why he should give up his water to
save the pupfish?

R: It is hard. You have to believe both in evolution that the pupfish evolved over
hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years, and you have to believe in God
that this was a creature given by God to Earth, and then you have to get it on an
ethical basis: do you, Farmer Jones, have the moral right to dry up that spring
and rid the Earth of a critter that has been here that is only asking one thing from
you, to be left in peace, to co-habitate Mother Earth with you. You can get away
with that with people who are intelligent and who have a sensibility about
responsibility, and that is growing among the young people in the country.
Certainly you saw the reaction of the spotted owl cases where even though the
timber interests and the harvesting industry recognized that, at the rate that they
were cutting the Pacific Northwest Forest, it was all over by 2010 or 2020. The
reaction against mandating the cessation of cutting millions of acres of land for









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an owl produced an enormous backlash. Now, what is interesting is that all of
those states have a far greater urban constituency now and that the importance
of timbering is far lower in a high-tech world, which Washington and Oregon and
California are in. The fate of a really anti-environmental senator from
Washington, Slade Gorton, is on the ballot on Tuesday, and at the moment it is a
toss-up. [Gorton ended up losing.] The Indian Nations, the Native Americans,
have picked him as the number-one target. He is the most anti-Native American
in the United States Senate, and he is one of the most anti-environmentalists. I
might add the senator from Montana, Conrad Burns, is in a state which has been
notoriously anti-environmental and he is the chief anti-environmentalist in the
Senate, and he is in a very, very tough race. [Burns ended up winning.]

P: Let me rephrase the question. If we take a specific issue for Florida, let us say
the alligator, what would happenBif we talk about the concept of the
interrelatedness of speciesBif we got rid of all of the alligators or all of the
coyotes? Farmers see these as pests, perhaps. What would happen if they
eliminated a species?

R: Well, we almost did. Of course, at one time in the 1960s, we were removing over
1,000,000 alligators a year from Florida alone, going to Waycross, Georgia,
where they were processed and sent to Japan or Italy for being made into fine
leather. In the scrapbook, I am sure you will find pages and pages of my appeal
to stop the alligator poaching in Florida. Actually, one of the first things I did in
1971 was to double the size of the federal enforcement agency and begin to
prosecute both the poachers and the tanners. I have wonderful stories of the
raids that we made on various processors and closed up the shop in Waycross,
Georgia, one of my highlights. In Florida, of course, it is very easy. The alligator
produces the deep holes in the sloughs and in the ponds and in the Everglades
[where], during drought periods, sufficient life, all aquatic life, go to these refugia
and survive. When the rains do come again, the refugia releases this thick stew
of critters, fish, bugs of every variety, insects, and the wet glades are recharged.
Everything in Florida has a very fast turnover time, so that you will reproduce
very rapidly in times of good health, which is wetness. Although the numbers are
diminished enormously, colossally, during drought, the residual that lives in the
alligator refugia, once rainfall comes again, spreads out, and within a relatively
short period of time, the land becomes incredibly abundant again, full of critters
for the birds and for the other beasts. So the alligator is a very important part of
the ecosystems in Florida. It is tougher to make the case on the coyote because
the coyote was there for a purpose, and the purpose was to keep small
populations of animals down, such as rabbits and hares, a predator who followed
the wolf and often fed on the remains of wolf kills and bear kills. But with the
advent of sheep-farming in America, the coyote became enemy number one,
because a proportion of coyotes learned to be extremely agile killers of lambs
and ewes. If you are in the sheep business, you consider all coyotes to be









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menaces, when the fact of the matter is only a certain small percentage of
coyotes ever learn how to kill a sheep.

P: Was there a significant change when they added another category to the
Endangered Species Act that meant that animals were just threatened? How did
that affect the enforcement of that Act?

R: I do not think it does. I was at a Garden Club of America speech in Minneapolis.
It had to be 1974 or 1975. The speech is probably in the scrapbook. At the
conclusion, I was taking questions, and a little lady, a young lady, a ferocious-
looking lady, stood up and said, why had I been so derelict in protecting the
plants? I was really quite shocked. I pulled myself together and gave a pretty
good response, in the sense that I had such a limited budget that I chose to pick
the highly visible, mostly mammals, to protect first. That was a calculated
decision to get the Act underway, the mountain gorilla, the Siberian tiger, the
polar bear. As we evolved and began, got into plants certainly under [President]
Carter, then the threatened category came along, which you could use very well.
It was a warning. It was a warning that we have a critter that is slipping, for
whatever reason. Sometimes the science was not there to say why it was
slipping. Often it was not there, but it was a warning sign, a stop-look-and-listen,
[like] the old signpost we used to have by the railroads in Florida. The threatened
[category] was stop, look and listen, we have got a critter that deserves a lot of
attention now. I think it has been a very useful designation.

P: Another issue is the wetlands, and one new concept is wetlands-mitigation. How
has that worked?

R: It has worked well and poorly. It really boils down to individual instances. You got
to look at the thousands of permits that I have looked at on the Water
Management District boards. Some tiny little wetland, nevertheless wet: great
question of whether the homeowner should have to manage this tiny thing, which
is so small that it really does nothing to the productivity of the ecosystem. In turn,
if the landowner was required, if he filled it, the wetland-buyer had to buy back
three times the amount of land and put it in a very valuable ecosystem. The two
sides of that are that we ought to be buying the valuable ecosystem and
protecting it anyway, and we should be protecting even tiny eighth-of-an-acre
wetlands. I come out as sort of a moderate on this one. I believe well-done
wetlands mitigation can be a very successful arrow in the quiver, in the overall
[environmental] quiver, but you cannot generalize on this one. You are going to
have to look at the specific permit requests. You are going to have to look at the
specific areas of wetlands to be lost, and you have got to look at what you are
getting back. Then you have got to make a sound ecological judgement: are you
getting back significantly more than what you are giving up? It is very much on an
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P: But the best way to do it is to preserve the wetlands in the beginning?

R: Of course. The problem in Florida, very basically, is that the [Army] Corps [of
Engineers] office in Jacksonville sees thousands of wetland permits, tiny little
pieces per week all over the state and, on the whole, rubber-stamps them for
approval. There is a standard letter that the Fish and Wildlife Service and the
National Marine Fisheries send in of an objection that they have; they are
mimeographed, so that they have their presence [noted] saying [that they] object.
The only time the quarrel really gets serious is when there is hue-and-cry and it is
major. But the bits and pieces, the problem with losing the bits and pieces, of
course, is cumulatively...this is what has been going on in the southwest coast in
Lee and Collier County. Cumulatively, you are almost about to lose the entire
eastern side of those counties. That is why the Corps all of a sudden stopped
and said, wait a minute, and they were forced to write a complete environmental-
impact statement. It is not very good, to be honest with you. They bowed to the
wishes of many in the development industry and in the agricultural industry. That
case is going to be heard and reheard, because I do not think the environmental
community is going to allow the southwest to get in the trouble that southeast is
in. That is going to be one of the great battlegrounds of the next twenty years, is
how far east are we going to let the new Naples mega-block cities grow
eastwardly. That is going to be one of the most interesting, fundamental political
and ecological decisions that will be made.

P: Talk about your position on the Cross-Florida Barge Canal, which was de-
authorized, I guess is the right word, in 1971.


R: Well, I went to the hearing. I am one of the [few] live bodies still around who
actually went to the hearing in Tallahassee in the old House Chamber, and it was
rigged. It was shocking. Totally rigged. That is the first time that hundreds of
conservationists around the state had come to one single place. We all met each
other for the first time, and we sort of formed a band of brothers. Of course, in
fact, many of them were women. That was the beginning of my education as to
who these people were, so when I [joined] Claude Kirk=s office, I had this
astonishing knowledge of who was everywhere. I am very good on graphics. I
had a huge map on the wall with arrows and the telephone numbers of every one
of my keys agents, sort of like the military intelligence system. These were the
key agents who you could call and say, tell me about it. The Cross-State Barge
Canal, there was unanimity of opinion that it was a financial disaster [and] a
potential ecological disaster [from] cutting the state in half. From every
standpoint, it was something to be defeated. Alita and I took a break from
Tallahassee and went to South America in 1970 to fish in Ecuador. We became
very ill with Ecuadorian stomach, and the boat that I had chartered turned out not









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to be the boat that I got. It was a far, far smaller boat. I was fishing a long ways
offshore for swordfish, and it was extremely dangerous in this tiny boat. The crew
was supposed to speak perfect [English, but], they did not speak a word of
English. They were supposed to be well-trained in swordfish fishing. They did not
know what a swordfish looked like. They were marlin guys. So, day six or seven,
we were staying at a little hotel by the beach, this garbled telegramBit was in the
era of telegramsBarrived, signed by John Ehrlichman, saying the President of the
United States blank, blank, blank, wishes you to blank, blank, blank. Will you
change you change your plans and come blank, blank, blank. I sat down and
tried to reach the White House from this tiny town in Ecuador. I do not think I got
through to Quito. I remember lying on the floor screaming [in frustration] and Alita
saying, you are waking everybody up in the middle of the night. So we decided at
about 11:00 at night to go back to the United States. We were both awfully sick.
We went back, woke the captain up, got our tackle off the boat, broke it down in
the open-air lobby of this tiny little hotel, packaged everything up. That took about
four hours, I had so much gear. Got an old broken-down taxicab. We could not
even reach Pan Am[erican airlines] by phone at the city that we were flying out
of, Guayaquil. We slept for an hour, we showered and changed into clothes, and
we drove to Guayaquil. Sure enough, there was an 8:30 flight to Miami. They had
a couple of seats, and we got on it, got to Miami, got through customs. Customs
is looking at me with rod cases, reel cases, a fighting harness, duffel bags of dirty
clothes. They could not wait to get rid of us. I rushed to a telephone and called
the White House number, Ehrlichman. Ehrlichman comes on the line and says,
where the hell have you been? I said, I have been in Ecuador. He said, what the
hell are you doing in Ecuador? I said, what did the telegram read? He said,
anybody standing around you? No, there is nobody standing here. The president
has decided to can the Cross-State Barge Canal; I need you now. I said, you
cannot have me now; I am dying B I have got a stomach bug. Anyway, we had a
car pick us up and drive us back here. I showered and packed a bag for four
days and flew to Washington, made a hotel reservation. For four days, I worked
at OMB in the old office building with a great staff from Nixon, mostly lawyers, on
how to pull the plug. I had persuaded Kirk that the Cross-State Barge Canal was
the worst idea that had ever been. When was it pulled, do you remember?

P: It was 1971.

R: I had a full-time staff man, George Gardner, who had been working on the Canal,
and I took him to Washington with me. He was the first one who wrote a
genuinely good environmental-impact statement of what would happen if you
took the Rodman Dam out. He worked with the Forest Service on how the forest
could be replanted or how it would develop naturally on its own, and he gave two
different scenarios. It was challenged. The Corps challenged the environmental-
impact statement. They got others to challenge it. It was defeated. It was revised,
but by then, Nixon was in trouble and Ford had no interest in taking the Rodman









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Dam out. George is still in contact with me, and someday we will see the
Rodman Dam come out.

P: Why did Nixon decide to...?

R: Democrat[s]. It had nothing to do with ecology. It was uproarious. He came in to
one of the meetings. We all stood up, obviously. He came in sort of breathlessly.
I was going to give him, Mr. President, what a great decision this is. You know,
this is cutting the aquifer in two, and we are taking chances that are unbelievable.
He said, damnable Democratic...Jack Kennedy gave this to Florida, this is
[former Florida Senator] Claude Pepper=s canal, this [is former Florida Senator
George Smather=s] canal...we got them, guys, we got them.

P: All political?

R: I am sorry to tell you. That is how we got the Big Cypress [Swamp]. Did you ever
know that?

P: No.

R: Well, I was in charge in 1971 of writing up a vast study of the Big Cypress. I hired
[Starker] Leopold=s brother, who was one of the senior scientists of [the United
States Geologic Survey], Luna Leopold. He is still alive, is ninety-something. He
was one of the great hydrologists of the world. He hired Art Marshall on my
instructions, and Art did all the legwork. Luna hired Art. I had a full-time assistant,
George Gardner, who was looking over the Big Cypress as well as the Cross-
State Barge Canal as well as the changes in the Everglades water system and
everything. George was my full-time Florida man. The president wanted this for
his State of the Union speech. He wanted various alternatives of what should
happen with the airport shut down to the Big Cypress. We went from everything,
from full acquisition to limited development with very tight federal state land-use
controls. Remember what I told about yesterday, that the Nixon administration
was the first one to show at a presidential level, Ehrlichman, interest in federal
land-use controls, that sprawl had to be stopped and ecosystems had to be
protected short of buying them. Art was putting [this] together, and every two or
three weeks, I would get a briefing as to how the report was coming, and where
were the conclusions, where were the costs. OMB was terribly concerned about
the costs, obviously, of the full acquisition program. Lawton Chiles was
[Florida=s] junior senator, and Scoop Jackson, Henry Jackson [from] Washington
[state] decides to run for president, at the height of the airport decision and at the
height of what was going to happen to the Everglades. 1972, Lawton arranges
for Scoop to come to Miami and have an overflight of the Everglades, overflight
of the Big Cypress, and then a official hearing and huge press conference that is
intended to start Henry off on his presidential run. I am sitting at my desk in









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Washington reading the press of Henry=s speech in Miami in which he said, I am
going to protect the Everglades system; I am going to go for an acquisition of the
Big Cypress. The telephone rings. Ehrlichman is on the line, and Ehrlichman
says, what is the status of the report for the president on the alternatives in the
Big Cypress? I said, as a matter of fact, I signed off on it yesterday. It is ready for
presidential review by the Domestic [Council]. Where is it? I said, it is in one of
my ante offices. He said, get a hold of it fast. Hide it. Put it under cover. I said,
why? We just spent seven months on it. It is dead on arrival. We are buying the
Big Cypress. We know how to wipe Henry out in Florida. The president has made
a decision. We are buying the Big Cypress. That is the only alternative we are
interested in. Pull the buy-out [alternative]. We are putting it in the State of the
Union speech. Get rid of all the other chapters. So I turned around to the staff. I
called Art Marshall up. I said, what is the preferred alternative? It was a long
silence and he said, you know very well what the preferred alternative is. You
know how serious Art was. The preferred alternative is to acquire the Big
Cypress, he said, but I know that is beyond any realm of reason. I said, are you
in a quiet room in a quiet place? He said, yes. I said, that is the preferred
alternative. I could hear the phone drop. He picked it up and said, what, what? I
said, the preferred alternative, Arthur, is to acquire the Big Cypress. I said, not for
the reasons that you would think. I lived in this realm of madness for six years,
but, you know, it was very important. What happened during those six years is
that politics and the environment finally met.

P: Let me go back. Why was the Cross-Florida Barge Canal built in the first place?
What was the justification?

R: You do not know that story?

P: I do, but I want you to tell me for the record.
R: Well, the great story, of course, is that President Kennedy said, if I carry Florida, I
will give George Smathers anything that he wants, Senator Smathers, a great
beneficiary to the University of Florida, a great character, who had beat Claude
Pepper in that god-awful campaign of Claude Was Pink [a reference to the red-
baiting of Pepper by Smathers]. Nixon carried Florida, but he [Kennedy] ran well.
George ran such a very vigorous campaign for the president. President Kennedy
said, George, what do you want? Just think of the things that George could have
asked for. I have often kidded George. He asked for the Cross-State Barge
Canal. It had been a dream in the nineteenth century, and it stayed alive into the
twentieth century, and it got revived during the Second World War when we lost
so many ships on the east coast of Florida. Claude Pepper was a very close
friend of mine. I always called him Senator. Claude Pepper looked me squarely
in the eye and told me that Russian submarines could cut off all boat traffic,
shipping traffic, from the Caribbean up the Florida coastline if we did not have the
Cross-State Barge Canal. I would hold that little man by the shoulders and I









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would say, Senator, if we go to war with the Russians, you do not have to worry
about submarines and shipping on the east coast of Florida. I had been a nuclear
weapons officer. That is so far beyond [the realm of reason]. He said, Nathaniel,
we need to get that coal from Alabama up to the east coast, and through the
Cross-State Barge Canal, we can just... I would say, Senator, the barges coming
down from Alabama are ocean-going barges. The coal has to be off-loaded onto
small barges, transported across Florida, then replaced on larger barges to go up
the coastline to Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. I said, you know, a
railroad does that without changing the cargo. That is all right, Nathaniel.
Nathaniel, you were just a lad in the Second World War. I said, Senator, I
remember ships blowing up off Jupiter Island. This is not a question. Oh, this is a
wartime necessity, Nathaniel. This is a matter of national defense. I am telling
you, the vast majority of the Democrat members of Congress were all involved
with the construction industry, the caterpillar owners, the drag-line owners. This
was a boondoggle that offered $1,000,000,000 worth of work in Central Florida,
and that is why it stayed alive. That is why it stayed alive, and that is why the
[Army] Corps [of Engineers] stayed with it so long. You know, in the last hours of
the [Ford] administration, the Corps still had not pulled the final plug, which was
to reach agreement with the administration on the Rodman Dam and de-watering
the reservoir. I met with the Chief of the Corps of Engineers, General Morris, at
the Pentagon and I said, you are acting in defiance of your commander-in-chief.
Jack [Morris] and I had a good relationship, but we fought. We were on 60
Minutes together a couple of different times. You are acting in defiance of the
commander-in-chief. He had a lot of generals and colonels around him and I
said, you know, Jack, I think this has become a personal problem. You are not
going to pull the plug, because it is me. He smiled and he said, you might have
something there. I said, you have not got a chance of resurrecting this project
under Carter, not a chance. It is dead, dead, dead, and the only thing is you do
not want to give me the feather.
P: In environmental terms, is the Corps of Engineers part of the problem?

R: Yes, to be honest. It is. I suppose on my desk right now, I have a minimum of
twelve letters congratulating the environmental coalition for coming up with the
Everglades Restoration bill, and all of them mention, the only thing is restoration
and the Corps of Engineers seem to be...a bizarre way of restoring the
Everglades is through the Corps of Engineers, who destroyed it in the first place.
It is going to be a battle, but in Jacksonville, there is a whole group of young men
and women who are a new breed, who are deeply concerned. You still got the
canal diggers. You still got water going to the [Everglades] as wastewater that
belongs to the Fanjuls and U.S. Sugar. You still have that mentality in
Jacksonville. That Lake [Okeechobee] should be managed as a regional
reservoir, and if the lake dies from pollution loads coming in the from the dairies
and the cattle farms and back-pumping from the EAA, well, that is just too bad.
Water is wet. [They] do not care whether the water is green. [They] do not give a









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damn whether there are any fish in the lake. [They] still have that mentality. You
certainly have that mentality among some of the users of [Lake] Okeechobee=s
water. This year has been the best year in my life, in the sense that suddenly we
have the five counties around the lake [really concerned about Lake
Okeechobee=s ecological health]. I have been working on a proposition all
summer to put together a major Lake Okeechobee program, because I look upon
the near-death of Lake Okeechobee as the single greatest environmental defeat I
have ever had. The number of years I worked on the health of Okeechobee and
have gotten nothing for itBin fact, the lake is sicker now than when I began, by
far. It is my personal single greatest environmental defeat. All my critics are
welcome to point out that I served on important positions on the Water
Management District board and repetitively brought the subject of the near-death
of Okeechobee and the increasing pollution going into Okeechobee, meeting
after meeting after meeting, received promises and promises. I was able to hire
the brilliant staff [of the South Florida Water Management District] that is there
now. That is the only contribution, is that I have put in place monitoring
equipment just so that we know what the levels of the pollution are, and secondly
was to make sure that the budget was expanded to the extent that we were able
to open an Okeechobee office. We were able to attract some of the world=s
greatest young people to work on the problems of the lake.

P: Are these Corps of Engineers?

R: No. They are members of the Water Management District. The Corps remains
very disappointing.

P: They do not pay much attention to scientific evidence and they mainly take on
these projects for self-enhancement.

R: In the case of the Everglades Restoration, they are not going to be able to get
away with that. There is such a competent group of federal and state employees
who are assigned to the Everglades Restoration effort if we continue them in
service. Of course, if we cut the budget and lower the manpower so that we lose
these marvelous people, we will lose that [edge]. That is a possibility, not a
probability, but it is a possibility. We will give the Everglades Restoration back to
the nincompoops of the straight-line division at the Corps of Engineers in
Jacksonville. But I honestly believe that in the act, the flexibility in the act for the
environmental community to sue both the state and the federal government is
clearly spelled out. So, it would be unwise for the Corps, politically and
economically, for them to be tied up in massive lawsuits over a series of dumb
decisions, dumb ecological decisions. The only way they can get this project
funded consistently by the state and the federal government over the next twenty
years is to come up with a plan that actually does restore a part of the
Everglades system. The vast majority of it is gone, but there are all kinds of









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things that you can do that are smart things, ecologically smart things, that will
enormously enhance the system.

P: But it is ironic that you would ask the Corps of Engineers, who were essentially
the cause of the problem, to fix the problem.

18: Well, the cause of the problem were Floridians who did not know what they had and did
not care what they had. They wanted the Everglades drained. They wanted a vast
agricultural area that was protected by a high deck with a constant source of water. The
east coast developers and the cities wanted flood-control protection and they wanted to
be able to expand into the Everglades. So, the Corps was the friendly handmaiden that
said, we are your team. We will give you what you want. The Corps does propose
[projects] by going to Chambers of Commerce, but the vast majority of Corps projects
that have mined the environment of America were strongly supported locally: the old
avarice and greed. I mean, everybody screams at the St. Lucie River hearings. I get great
amusement sitting and looking over those who come in a protest, how could this dirty
water be allowed to come into the St. Lucie River, or into the Indian River Lagoon? It
was their fathers at the meetings in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, who begged the Corps to put
those canals in. I look across those rooms, and I can remember their fathers perfectly.

P: There was a proposal to add the kangaroo to the Endangered Species Act, and obviously,
you were lobbied on both sides of that issue. Apparently, a man named Max Edwards, a
lobbyist for the importer of kangaroo hides, urged you and Interior not to list the
kangaroos, and eventually, Interior decided against that. Explain the decision-making
process here.

R: I do not remember Max. I do remember Joe Califano (aide to Kennedy and former
Secretary of HEW). I had known Joe during the Kennedy administration, liked him
enormously. He was actually the lobbyist for the kangaroo-tanning industry. I could not
believe it. He [sent me] an invitation to go to a very fancy French restaurant in
Washington. I made it abundantly clear from day one that I was not lunching with any
lobbyists. I was asked to go to Jean Pierre (restaurant in D.C.) with Califano. I called
Califano back and said, what do you want to take me to lunch for? He said, I want to talk
to you about a subject dear to my heart. I said, it is dear to your pocket, but what is it,
Joe? He said, kangaroos. I said, in the office, pal, in the office. No luncheon. So, he came
in, and, you know, he is a very amusing and entertaining man. I said, Joe, how in the
world are you here speaking about kangaroos? He said, just as you said on the telephone,
Nathaniel, I am being extremely well-paid for my services. I said, I will tell you what, I
personally am absolutely outraged by what appears to be excessive killing of all forms of
wallaby, making them into dog food and selling their hides in America, and I do not trust
the Australia wildlife agency a wit. I recognize this is an animal that goes up and down
depending upon drought. [It is a] water-related species. Where there is water, there are
millions of kangaroos of all sizes and shapes. When there is drought, they die by the









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millions. Marsupials have this incredible power of reproduction. Anyway, I decided to
put the team together, and I reached out to Spencer Smith, the former director of the Fish
and Wildlife Service, the one I told you about who is the longest survivor of melanoma. I
said, Spence, how would you like to go to Australia? He said, I would love to go to
Australia. I said, would you be my personal envoy? Would you fly back to Washington?
He was living in Arizona. His wife had a sinus condition, and the dry air was a wonderful
place for her. So, he flew back in. I said, take your time, name a group, and I will pay for
it. Interior will pay for it. I want you to go and be my personal envoy, and he did. He
named, I think, three [well-known mammal experts]. They went to Australia, and they
spent a lot of time. I think they spent three weeks. I went to the ambassador. I told him
exactly what the team was going to do, what they needed in the way of resources in
Australia, airplanes, transportation. Visiting ranches, those huge ranches of Australia,
they needed to meet with the best of the kangaroo biologists, of which there were not
very many. They needed to hear from the environmental side, and they needed to hear
from the meat and hide side. They wrote an extraordinary report, and they came to the
conclusion that the animal was in no way threatened, but mismanaged, but in no way
threatened or endangered, and that they were making a recommendation to the Australian
government for much better management terms but in no way, in their scientific and
sound judgmental opinion, was the animal destined to go on the [Endangered Species
List].

P: It was put on the threatened list.

R: I just could not let the opportunity to go by to stick my thumb out at that, at the industry.
P: Now, some people like Marion Newman, whom I think was with the Fund for Animals,
they were protesting that it should have been on the Endangered Species List.

R: Sure. But, you know, I was not hired to represent to the Fund. I always got along very
well with most people, but the Fund gave me a hard time because they did not believe in
deer hunting or [bird hunting]. By that time, I knew that the Endangered Species Act had
to be on sound scientific footing or we were going to fail. Pure and simple, and the Fund
works on emotion.

P: Talk a little bit about what was referred to as the Sagebrush Rebellion.

R: It is the reaction of living out in the wonderful west, the Rocky Mountain Far West,
Northwest, and having lived on the land, leased property from the federal government, all
of a sudden being told that your land is overgrazed, it is improperly stocked with the
number of animals, that a number of federal restrictions go with the land which have
never been enforced and suddenly are going to be enforced. You are living out in the
boondocks, living on a very, very limited cash-flow, and you suddenly say, my God, the
heavy weight of the federal government is on me and I resent it. The Republicans were
able to pick up on this urge to say, to hell with the environment. We come first. Our cows









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and sheep come first, we come first. It was a very difficult period because federal officers
were assaulted. It did not help to have President Reagan diminish the value of a federal
government[=s employees]. I have said this many times, having worked in the military,
state government, the federal government, the vast majority of people who work for
government are the most exceptional people. We should be very proud of our
bureaucracy and not demeaning. We should have supported the federal officers across the
Rocky Mountain West and said, cool it. Instead of that, the congressional delegations of
the Rocky Mountain states and those in management in the White House often
encouraged the flames. Jim Watt certainly did. He was a disastrous choice of Secretary of
the Interior, and he joined the Sagebrush Rebellion with open arms. He wanted revenge
against all of the eastern influence that he thought predominated decision-making in the
Congress and in the Ford administration. When he got his opportunity, he did not last
long. His reactionary viewpoints really triggered the ascension of the environmental
movement through the Reagan years. Watt was probably one of the most important anti-
environmentalists in the history of the movement and did more to mobilize Americans
across all economic, racial boundaries to understand what was at risk.

P: When he took office, he said he was going to undo fifty years of bad management.

R: Right. I gave the speech in San Francisco at the Sierra Club convention where, for the
first time, somebody with some [prominence] publicly asked Jim Watt to resign. I went
right on 60 Minutes within a month and repeated it with Morley Safer [TV news
journalist]. Earl Butts, Secretary of Agriculture, was on the airplane going to San
Francisco, and as we were getting off the airplane, he asked me what I was going to San
Francisco for. I said, I am giving a speech tonight asking for Jim Watt to resign. He
looked at me as if I had come from Mars. He said, you cannot do that to a fellow
Republican. I said, I can do it to somebody who is out of step with the mainstream of the
American people and who is taking us backward, Earl, not forward. We turned and
walked away from each other, never to speak again.

P: He did not tell you a dirty joke, did he?

R: I was on an airplane once with him going to Chicago, and I had a canned speech. A
speech writer had written a speech, and I was reading it on the way to the airport.
Garfield Lawrence, my marvelous driver, was driving me to the airport and I was reading
this speech. It was so bad. It was so long and so bad, I panicked. I grabbed a yellow pad
out of my briefcase and began writing notes about what I was going to speak about in
Chicago. It was on Great Lakes issues. I was Great Lakes Fisheries Commissioner and I
was going to speak about water quality in the fisheries of the Great Lakes at some huge
meeting, and I realized this was a throwaway speech. I mean, it was just so boring that
you could not believe it. I was standing in lineBit was an early morning plane, and Earl
Butts and his security officer were in front of me. I sat down in the tourist section of the
airplane. Earl was in first class. No sooner than take-off than they started serving









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breakfast. I was not going to eat. All I needed was a cup of coffee and that pad and pen. I
had to rethink exactly what I was going to say. The security officer came back and asked
me to come up and have breakfast with the secretary. Earl was Secretary of Agriculture.
Very reluctantly, I gave my seat to the security officer and went up in the front. The first
class section had a very distinguished African-American and several ethnic groups=
lawyers from Washington going to Chicago for the day, and Earl starts in. The man had a
disease. He tells a Polish joke, and then he tells a Jewish [joke], and then he tells a very,
very bad black joke which is audible. I had not gotten through my scrambled eggs. I said,
Earl, I got a problem. I got a clunker of a speech, and I am not much on jokes; you got to
forgive me. With that, I got up, walked back to my seat and told the security officer to
take my place. We got off the airplane, and Earl was waiting for me. He said, you know,
my jokes mean no harm. I said, yes, I know they mean no harm, Earl, but you would be
surprised; I just do not come from a family that enjoys racial or ethnic jokes. We just do
not. He said, well, you are missing a great deal in life, and we let it go at that. Of course,
it was what broke him, brought him down. It was his racist, ethnic jokes.

P: Is the fact that Reagan would appoint Watt and Anne Gorsuch to EPA, was that a sign
that he was a strong anti-environmentalist?

R: Watt was a gift from the Coors brothers. They found him in Rocky Mountain water,
swimming downstream, I am sure. They had been major donors, and so they said he was
to be Secretary of Interior. Of course, by then, he had built up a pretty good resume. In
the first years of the Nixon administration, he had been in something to do with natural
resources, and then he came under me as the head of BOR [Bureau of Outdoor
Recreation]. Our chemistry was so terrible that I refused to have my normal Wednesday
Director meetings. I had him assigned to my chief deputy because he gave me creeps.
One of the worst moments with him was, I had a petition delivered to me by the senior
employees of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation saying that they were being instructed to
go to prayer breakfast when many of them were of Jewish faith. They had said no, that
they were not going to go to the prayer breakfast, and he told them if they did not go to
the prayer breakfast, they would be fired. So, I said to this entourage bringing this
petition, for God=s sake, take the petition back with you. Do not mention this again. For
God=s sake, do not get this out into the public. Just disappear. Let me see Mr. Watt. I had
Director Watt come to my office, and I said to my secretary, dear God, Nora, I want to be
so calm, I want to be so precise on this, I want to be so accurate and I want to do it
quickly. I got him to sit down, and I leaned over from my comfortable chair to his
comfortable chair, practically nose-to-nose, and I said, Jim, the clear separation of church
and state is a major part of our Constitution. When you sent out notices to the hierarchy
at the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation that they were to attend prayer breakfast with you
and that they were mandatory, you have violated the basic statute of the American
democratic movement. It cannot be done. We have got to find the memorandums and
destroy them, and you have got to have a meeting with your senior officers and tell them
that you apologize. He said, I have no intention. This is a Christian country. I have every









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right to have prayer breakfast. I blew. I practically grabbed him by the throat. I began
screaming. I said, no, you do not. Listen to me very clearly. I will fire you. He said, you
cannot fire me. I am Nixon=s appointee. I said, I will fire you. I will kick your ass out of
this building if I hear another word about a prayer breakfast. You will have a staff
meeting tomorrow morning at 9:00. I will be there. You will stand up, you will apologize
to your senior staff, and you will say, there is obviously no requirement to come to any
prayer breakfast that I may wish to have. And now get the hell out of my office!
Everybody in the corridor was standing outside the door. I guess I could be heard all the
way down the doggone department. That was the end of that nonsense, but he came to me
about a year and a half later and said, I have this marvelous opportunity to go over to the
Federal [Power Agency] because it will do my resume so much good. I said, why, Jim,
what a marvelous opportunity. Out the door he went.

P: Was Reagan basically against the environment?
R: He had a marvelous Secretary of Natural Resources in California whom I dealt with all
the time, because of my problems in California. Between redwoods and wetlands in the
southern part of the state, I had massive problems. Ike Livermore was his Secretary of
Natural Resources. He came from one of the great land-holding families in California,
had been a lifelong friend of [the President], and was able to give me almost anything I
wanted, except Redwoods [National Park protection]. Reagan was convinced that
[Califomia=s] Forest Practice Act was a strong one and the cutting of the coastal
redwoods was being done properly. He refused to go with me [for an inspection]. He
refused to see the scene, which looked like the Battle of the Marne [battle in World War
I]. The clear cutting of Redwoods Creek was [a disgrace]. 100 percent of the trees were
taken, and whole sides of the hills were [sliding] into the creek, down into the federal
stand [of the] great trees which the American public had paid such a fortune for. Nixon
told me that I had to prove [that the damage came from logging for him to] stop the
logging on the upper Redwoods Creek and would even consider buying it. I hired the
brightest young man in Luna Leopold=s staff, a man named Richard Janda, from the
USGS [United States Geological Survey] San Francisco area office. He did the baseline
work that proved that it was the upstream cutting that was putting all the debris and all
the sediment load in Redwoods Creek that led to [President] Carter urging the Congress
for a [declaration of taking], and the Congress [passed] the most expensive eminent-
domain process ever in America=s history. [California] Governor Jerry Brown set up a
task force of young people, first-time offenders, and re-vegetated the entire slopes of that
clear-cut creek, upper creek, one of the most extraordinary things you have ever laid eyes
on.

P: Let me get back to Reagan then.

R: Reagan? Reagan asked me to be on his [pre-Inaugural] environmental task force, which I
was. I was on Nixon=s and Reagan=s. There were some spooky people on that task force,
but there was Russ Train and there was Lawrence Rockefeller, Sr., and myself, the same









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old guard, [like] Pat Noonan [former President of the Nature Conservancy]. When the
announcement was made that Watt was going to be the designated Secretary of the
Interior, I just quietly got up B it was a long table in a hotel in Washington. I just quietly
got up, got my coat and walked out. I knew it was going to be a disaster then. Ronald
Reagan really would not have known one tree from another, a plant from another, an
animal from another. He lived in a different world, a world of three-by-five cards. I used
to go into his office in Sacramento. It was always the same. I would petition him to help
me on an issue with California. He would turn to Ike and say, Ike, help Nathaniel out, but
not on redwoods. The timber companies that own redwoods had been supportive of [him]
from day one. He was blind. At the minute-and-a-half mark, [he would say,] Nathaniel, I
want to tell you a wonderful story. Then the stories would begin, and they were all
Hollywood. He remembered them in detail, most of them inaccurately, it turned out later.
He was a storyteller. He was a wonderful words-maker. When he ran against Ford, I was
on the Ford team in Orlando. [This is] 1976, the Republican nomination. I was sitting at
the back of a little room off the main conference floor with a reporter, talking about what
I hoped Ford=s environmental record could be if he was elected. And Ronny came in. He
said, hi, Nathaniel. Hi, Governor. I said, I am sorry you are running against our president.
He said, oh, Nathaniel, the country is down, dispirited, and I am going to lift them. He sat
down, and he laid out a vast assemblage of three-by-five cards, or five-by-seven cards,
and like he was playing poker, he rearranged them, went out and gave one of the most
brilliant speeches you have ever heard in your life. It is a great trick. You save certain
quotes, you save certain lines, and you intermix them wherever. I did it just the other
night in New York. I used a canned speech and then turned it all around, and now I have
got three requests on my desk asking for copies of this memorable speech. I have not a
clue what I said.

P: So, do you see him as really anti-environment or just inattentive?

R: Inattentive. I do not think he knew what the word environment meant, and of course, it
created a firestorm. It damaged his presidency enormously. But on the other hand, as
always with disaster, there is opportunity, it gave the environmental movement a real
shot in the arm, which it needed. It needed to get tough again. With Watt and Gorsuch
and the scandals at EPA, the President had to reach out and pull William Ruckelshaus
(Assistant Attorney General and Head of EPA) back in, he had to find a new Secretary of
Interior. Bill Clark, who had been one of [Reagan=s] close riding friends in California,
was [on the White House staff], asked to be Secretary of Interior. He came over, and he
stabilized the place. Immediately, I was invited to Interior. I would not go to Interior for
any of Watt= s invitations. I immediately arrived in Interior, sat down and talked about
the Garrison Diversion in North Dakota. Watt had proposed to go back and rebuild the
Garrison Diversion, the most monstrous environmental insult to North Dakota. It was
going to drain thousands and thousands of acres of wetlands. It was going to take water
from western North Dakota to eastern North Dakota for less than 150 farms. It was an
environmental/fiscal nightmare. [It was a budget-buster.] The reason that Watt picked it









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was to revenge against the Audubon Society and Natural Resources Defenses Council for
having joined me in defeating Starkweather and other massive drainage programs in
North Dakota. It was really a thumb up to me, to me and the environmental community.

[End of Interview.]

[Editor=s note: Mr. Reed later added the following to his interview transcript. He wrote:
Bill Clark gave distinguished service but wanted to return to California. He was succeeded by
Donald Hodel, who was a quieter Adisaster@ as Secretary. The situation at Interior stayed in
limbo through the first Bush presidency. [Hodel was going to be] replaced a quiet, not very
bright congressman from New Mexico. The Republican Party thought his nomination would
Abring in@ the Mexican-American vote. It didn't. Bruce Babbitt was President Clinton=s
Secretary of Interior for eight years. We enjoyed a close relationship. The Interior Department
rebuilt and rebounded. Regrettably, Secretary Gale Norton appears to be a Aclassic Western
conservative.@ I am concerned that the Clinton-Babbitt environmental gains will be sidetracked.
Interior, more than any other federal department except the State Department, is driven back and
forth by the political winds. The Western congressional clique has far too much power. I am so
fortunate to have been able to serve B among the best, most fascinating years of my life. I wish I
could have accomplished more!]


P: This is December 18, 2000, the second interview with Nat Reed.

R: My mother would kill you if you said that. She would say, it is Nathaniel Reed.

P: Would you comment on the Everglades Restoration project, in particular your
testimony before the United States Senate Environmental and Public Works
Committee on January 7?

R: It is very vivid. The reason that it is vivid is during November and December,
1999, we negotiated with the White House what the celebration of the fiftieth
anniversary of the establishment of Everglades National Park should be. It was
the consensus of the environmental community that the most important thing we
could do would be to acquire the Talisman Sugar Plantation that was on the
market. [Talisman] is in the southernmost part of the Everglades agricultural
area. The land is basically worn out. There is production, and the production is
meaningful to Flo-Sun, in the sense that it is tons of sugarcane, but the yield per
acre is nothing like the [northern] Everglades agricultural area. I spent weeks
discussing the project with Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt and with the
White House staff at Council of Environmental Quality as they came to terms with
what it would be for the vice- president to announce at the fiftieth anniversary.
When Big Sugar found out that Talisman was our priority, they did everything in
their power to prevent Talisman from being acquired by the federal government.
[It is] being scheduled for a reservoir, a massive reservoir, 60,000 plus acres, in









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the first phase of the Everglades Restoration program. Malcolm Wade, better
known as ABubba,@ and I were testifying in front of the committee as they held
their hearings in Naples. After I finished my statement, which was quite fierce but
nevertheless very honest as to the [major obstacles we faced in supporting the
proposed] Everglades Restoration bill. The [Miccosukee] Indians were not happy
about some parts of [the proposed bill]. [ABig] Sugar@ hired a very well-known
former assistant secretary of the Army to lobby for them, who is a very gifted
lobbyist. When Bubba Wade pronounced all kinds of generalities, I interjected
and said, Mr. Chairman, I hate to interject on this distinguished gentleman, but let
me tell you what really is at the basis of our problem, and I went right into it. I
said, the basic fact is that the sugar combine is opposing the acquisition of
Talisman, and if we are successful in acquiring Talisman, they will do everything
in their power to prevent Talisman from being changed from a sugar plantation
into a major reservoir. I said, you are going to hear, in the quiet of the cloakrooms
and in the quiet of the corridors in the Senate, every reason in the world why the
Talisman property should not be turned into a reservoir. I think it is better to get it
out right here, in full public view, in front of everybody in this room. There was
silence and then an enormous amount of applause. Everybody on the committee
looked absolutely thunderstruck, but the most thunderstruck was poor Mr. Wade,
who just sort of blurted out, well, we do have our differences, and let it go at that.
It was a very good preemptive strike because Chairman Bob Smith [R-Senator
from New Hampshire] said to me a number of times afterwards, it was so much
better to bring this point out right then and there, so that the committee and all
the staff could hear it and understand what a really bitter point this was in the
negotiations with Sugar. Of course, as you know, as history relates, we were able
to persuade the vice-president to come to the Everglades and make the
announcement of [the acquisition of] Talisman [Plantation]. Now, here we are
eleven months later and we still have Talisman Reservoir in the first stage of the
Everglades Restoration effort, but Sugar has not changed its mind at all. [They]
would like a ten-year delay in transforming the plantation into a reservoir and will
do everything in its power quietlyBit does not want to get caught overtlyBto try to
prevent Talisman from becoming a reservoir.

P: In your testimony, you mention the tremendous complexity of the process and all
of the multiple agencies involved. How is all that going to be worked out?
R: The point that I was making: Sugar wanted every year for the Everglades
Restoration work group to produce a line-item authorized one-year project. What
the environmental community has stressed from day one is, we ought to be
working on a three-, five-, ten-year schedule, because we do not know what the
reaction of the Everglades system is going to be, to filling in canals, taking down
dikes, building the tremendous underpass underneath Tamiami Trail so that the
water can go down into Shark Valley Slough instead of way off to the west where
it goes now. There are going to be an enormous number of [environmental]
responses that we cannot possibly predict. The sugar barons want to be able to









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throttle any project. So the first part of my answer is that we wanted the flexibility
to come up with multiple-year programs. The coordination between the federal
and the state side could be the most difficult part of the process. Within the last
few days, we have been notified that the outgoing Clinton administration, which
has been so deeply involved in so many of the Everglades decisions, has
appointed deputy assistant secretary Michael Davis of the Army, who has been
an absolute superstar throughout this entire process, to take a permanent
position in the Department of Interior as the director of Everglades Restoration.
He will report directly to the new Secretary of Interior, and he will be given the job
of supervising the federal response to how we proceed. [This is a brilliant
appointment.] We are already off to a difficult start with the [Army] Corps [of
Engineers]. One of the Corps project managers has come up with a canal in
western Martin County to connect a number of drainage canals. It is a restoration
program, or project, underneath the broader outlines of the Everglades
Restoration project called the St. Lucie-lndian River component. We are already
having difficulty with a typical straight-line canal connecting a canal to another
canal to another canal, when many of us think there are better ways of handling
and treating dirty water. So, right off the bat, the warning is there, and it is going
to require some very strong stands by the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Park
Service, EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], to handle the traditionalists in
the Corps of Engineers in Jacksonville, who are still [fixated on] canals and
pumps, which we think are out of fashion with high energy costs [and] with
tremendous costs of maintenance over a 50-, 100-year period. We think we
ought to design more with nature and less by the heavy hand of man. So, we are
going to see conflicts, but the great thing about the passage of the bill is we are
underway. We [have] a new colonel in Jacksonville. We got a lot of brand-new
staff at the Corps= [Jacksonville] office. I attended a conference last week in
Naples, Florida. 475 scientists came together from all agencies, state, federal,
international, all with an abiding interest in the restoration of the Everglades. It
was the most extraordinary conference imaginable, and the enthusiasm of the
scientists was infectious. The feeling that it can be done, and how much benefit
can come from the first ten years of activity, was truly remarkable. My glass is
more than half-full. I recognize all kinds of problems: funding problems, problems
with the traditionalists at the Corps, problems with financing both the state side
and the federal side on a sustained effort. I worry about confusion in front of the
Congress as we get into heated debate in Florida about parts of the project,
which is inevitable. But I look back at where I was in 1960 when I began this
odyssey and where [we are] in December of the year 2000, and [we are] miles
and miles ahead, about to begin a second part of an epic adventure. The first
adventure was to call attention to the plight of the Everglades and try to get
somebody to do something about it. Fourteen years on the Water Management
District Board, the best I can say that I did was to at least help assemble one of
the finest groups of scientists ever put together in an agency of the state, and to
prove conclusively that not only was the Everglades dying, but that there were









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things that could be done if we really got behind a program of major cost. This is
the most expensive renovation program in the world[>s] history. It is the largest
restoration program ever attempted by man, and now I hope I have time to see
this epic adventure [succeed]. The second part of this epic adventure [will] begin
to break ground and we begin to do things in a very talented way, scientifically
sound. [We] will begin the process of resurrecting a very sick system.

P: What should be the initial priorities?



R: Among [the most pressing concerns] is cleaning up the headwaters of Lake
Okeechobee. The present plans by the Water Management District and the state
call for a storm water treatment area that will remove eighty tons of phosphorus
per year. The fact of the matter is that 400 tons [of phosphorus] in excess of what
the lake can stand is [flowing] into the lake, so the initial step there is very, very
disappointing. A bill passed in this past years session [which eliminates] the
state regulatory agencies [from all] regulatory authority. That includes DEP
[Florida=s Department of Environmental Protection] and the South Florida Water
Management District. [The clean-up is supposed to be accomplished] by best
management practices. I am going to be very honest with you: I do not believe
that the cattlemen and the huge dairy operators will maximize their effort without
[a sound] regulatory program overseeing their operations. I foresee grave
difficulty in years to come, probably leading to major litigation, similar to the
Everglades litigation, for failure of the state of Florida to enforce its own water-
quality standards in the Okeechobee watershed. We simply cannot allow Lake
Okeechobee to be continually polluted year after year. Actually, the amount of
phosphorus [flowing into the lake] is going up, not going down, and the lake is
showing every sign of becoming hypereutrophic. What is saving [the lake] right
now is this long drought has restricted the amount of phosphorus coming in
through the principle tributaries, which are Taylor Creek, Nubbin Slough, the
Kissimmee River, and Fisheating Creek. All [of the lakes=] tributaries are
delivering far more phosphorus than the most conservative water-quality expert
deems the lake can stand. So that would be high on my list. Then secondly, I
would obviously get the storm water treatment areas underway, they are almost
all [constructed], to control the run-off from the sugar plantations before that
[drainage flows] into the Everglades marsh. I certainly would set the water-quality
standards at ten parts per billion over the entire Everglades marsh, and if the
sugar plantations have to reduce the level of phosphorus from their drainage
before their drainage goes into the states created storm water treatment areas,
so be it. Frankly, agriculture Aowns@ their own waste stream. The public of
Florida do not Aown@ Sugar=s phosphorus. Somehow, we have got this thing all
mixed up. If it was a lethal discharge coming out of a steel plant or a copper
plant, the plant owners would be required to clean up their waste stream. It is a









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little bit bizarre that the people of Florida, especially the people of the sixteen
counties of South Florida, are spending hundreds of millions of dollars of public
funds to clean up the [polluted] wastes coming off privately-owned agricultural
lands. In time, that fact is going to become clearer to the people of South Florida.
When the [public] voted 68 percent for Amendment Five [of the Florida
Constitution], Amendment Five said very clearly that those who were polluting
the Everglades should bear the full cost of the clean-up. The fact of the matter is
the EAA [Everglades Agricultural Area], 475,000 acres of the EAA, are paying
approximately $12,700,000 in taxes toward a project that is costing about
$80,000,000 a year. The taxpayers of South Florida are subsidizing the EAA
ownership for $67,000,000 a year. At the moment, the vast majority of the public
are unaware of that [fact]. When they become aware of it, I think they are going
to ask their members of the legislature why no bill has been put in through a
legislative session to implement Amendment Five of our constitution.

P: Explain how Big Sugar defeated Amendment Four, which was a-penny-a-pound
tax to pay for the cleanup.

R: The initial poll showed that those of us who were proponents of the penny-a-
pound would win by 70 percentile. Sugar hired a number of the top advertising
companies and strategists that money can buy, and we lost some ardent
supporters right off the bat, including Steve Spurrier, the famous [football] coach
of the University of Florida, who was going to sign up with us and was warned
that if he did his contract was in doubt. That was hardball. Hardball was
threatening people across the state who had high visibility who might join our
campaign. Softball was to go down and take a hard look at the condominium
communities of South Florida, arrange for busloads of them to be taken for a
luncheon at Clewiston, given a short tour, given five pounds of cane sugar, a
very good luncheon, and be absolutely charmed out of their shoes by a very
attractive group of young people that the sugar companies hired. As the months
went by, we began to see slippage. Unwisely on our behalf, a public relations
advertising company published a photograph in one of our full-page
advertisements in the newspapers of South Florida that showed a dead deer [in
the Everglades marsh. We know that mismanagement of water caused deer to
die by the hundreds, but not phosphorus]. Phosphorus never killed a deer in the
Everglades, and anybody who was knowledgeable would have seen [that] the
dead deer picture was not going to escape criticism. Of course, the sugar
industry went absolutely wild, brilliantly wild. Their paid agents, their agents
provocateurs went absolutely wild, saying, look, they are absolutely defaming us,
maintaining that our tiny little bit of phosphorus in the [drainage] is killing deer
when, in fact, our water is cleaner than Perrier, of which there is some truth.
Perrier has quite a bit of phosphorus. Their argument that their [drainage] is
cleaner than rainfall is also accurate, because rainfall has many more parts per
billion of phosphorus in it because it picks it up from their land. Their land and the









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cattle country north of Lake Okeechobee and the citrus lands on the east and
west sides of the lake all use massive quantities of phosphorus. In the dairy land,
[phosphorus] is in the feed. In the ranching land, it is in their fertilizer, as it is in
the citrus groves. Tons and tons of phosphorus are used, because phosphorus is
basically a very inexpensive part of fertilizer. Farmers are notorious: if five
pounds per acre is the right amount, well, it is so cheap, let us put down fifteen
pounds per acre and make sure that we get enough phosphorus down. South
Florida is so loaded with phosphorus that it is hard to believe. One of the
curiosities of the great Everglades marsh is [that it began as a forrested marsh].
We all know that the sawgrass was there. We all know that the aquatic plant
material was there that made the muck soil. There was also an enormous forest
of cypress trees and pond apples and all kinds of deciduous trees. The
combination of them sucked [out] what little phosphorus was in Lake
Okeechobee. Lake Okeechobee was basically nutrient-starved until man arrived
around its edges. So, the great sawgrass marsh of the Everglades, the 800,000
acres of sawgrass marsh evolved over thousands of years in a water column that
basically had no phosphorus. Ten parts per billion is the speck of what reputable
water-quality scientists believe the water-quality [standards should be]. Beginning
at twenty parts per billion, you have a shift, and it is not a slight shift. You have a
major shift in a plant-dominated community from sawgrass to cattails. Sawgrass
is intolerant to phosphorus. Cattails grow like cancer with phosphorus. Once
cattails [take over], it is extremely difficult to reconvert to sawgrass, the historic
[Everglades] marsh. In Florida=s water-quality rules, which I helped establish
many years ago, we could not agree on various standards, numerical standards,
throughout Florida. I wrote, with the aid of very good attorneys, a biological
botanical standard saying that discharge from [an industrial] plant or from
agriculture, from [any] industry, may not change the botanical biological makeup
of the receiving water. That is the handle that led the federal government to sue
the state and the Water Management District when thousands of acres of
sawgrass were converted into cattails by the stream of phosphorus coming out of
the EAA. That [legal approach] is probably what we will be forced to [achieve]
upstream in Okeechobee [watershed]. Give it a year. If the state is not able to
galvanize itself, to really make meaningful progress in controlling the amount of
phosphorus going into Lake Okeechobee, then they are opening themselves to
an identical lawsuit, which says you are not enforcing your own water-quality law.

P: What agency would enforce that?

R: At the moment, we do not have one because of Pruitt=s bill last year. Senator
Pruitt=s billBhe was Representative Pruitt last yearBpassed a bill that removed all
[regulatory] authority from DEP in the South Florida Water Management District,
gave it to the state of Florida=s Department of Agriculture and encouraged best
management practices, which are entirely voluntary. There is nobody up there
saying, Farmer Jones, you will do the following things: you will stop draining your









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wetlands and putting your water into the waters of the state. You will control the
phosphorus on your land. You will not put septic tank wastes [on your land].
Hundreds of millions of gallons of [sewage], high in phosphorus, are dumped on
the rangelands in Okeechobee County. Where does the phosphorus go? It goes
out [from the ranch] drainage ditches, many of them illegally constructed, into the
waters of the state and then to [Lake] Okeechobee. Now, when you have got to
remove a minimum of 400 tons of phosphorus per year out of this system, you
can imagine how much phosphorus is being dumped by cattle, by fertilizer, by
septic tank waste, [by sewage sludge] on this one watershed.

P: So no federal agency has jurisdiction?

R: EPA has kept an eagle eye on the situation. Carol Browner [head of EPA under
President Clinton], came down and spoke to the dairy operators and the cattle
operators last spring. That would be in June of 2000. She told them that they had
limited time to get their act together and begin to work together to reduce the
phosphorus loadings to the tributaries. Since then, we have seen absolutely no
progress at all. There is a new dean at the Institute for Food and Agricultur[al
Studies, IFAS] at the University of Florida. Last spring, I made a desperate effort
through Dr. [E. T.] York, a former [interim] president of the University of Florida
[1973-1974], to get IFAS [involved, although it] has been a handmaiden of
agriculture in Florida since its creation. IFAS has been such a broad supporter of
all agriculture in Florida that it has never taken a strong stand on the problems of
agricultural pollution. It is my great hope that IFAS will take a very strong position
as one of the coordinators of a program in the Okeechobee basin to correct this
incredible wave of pollution that is coming into Lake Okeechobee. It is a great
opportunity for IFAS to show its [bright] side.

P: Let me get back to the defeat of Amendment Four.

R: Well, we lost it because we lost our credibility with the deer ad. We did not think
that we were going to have to raise as much money as we did, or spend as much
money as we did. I think we raised and spent close to $11,000,000, and very
quietly, agriculture raised and spent $22,500,000. It was not until the last polls,
which [came in] about eight or nine days before the election, that we recognized
that there had been a significant shift in the public=s view. It had not been helped
by the newspapers discrediting our effort because of the deer advertisement. The
deer advertisement had a very damaging impact on our campaign. Further, I
traveled for three weeks across the state doing morning, lunch and dinner
speeches, at Kiwanis, [Chamber s of Commerce,] you name it, anybody that had
a speaking date. I went to breakfast radio in Fort Pierce, breakfast radio and TV
in Vero Beach. I mean, we took up various parts of Florida. I was so tired during
that period, I actually drove off the road three times, asleep at the wheel. The
night of the election, I still felt quite confident. I had been engaged for a couple of









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thousand dollars in contributions to 1,000 Friends of Florida to call the election at
a radio station in West Palm Beach. That election, as you know, was over rather
early, so I left the radio station and drove down to Miami, where Mary Barley and
Paul Tudor Jones and the rest of our gang were sitting and waiting for the final
results. Of course, about two o=clock in the morning it became apparent that
[Amendment Four had been rejected]. We were terribly disheartened, but Thom
Rumberger [law firm of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, Tallahassee], our lead
counsel, one of the best lawyers in the state of Florida, said, I think we may gain
more from Amendment Five than we would have from a-penny-a-pound. I think
Amendment Five is going to force them to spend between $70,000,000 and
$90,000,000 a year. But, what nobody recognized that evening and for several
weeks thereafter, there was not a member of the legislature who was willing to
put in a bill to implement Amendment Five. Attorney General [Bob] Butterworth
said, it is self-enforcing, it is law. Water Management Districts immediately began
assessing the owners of land in the Everglades agricultural area full costs per
acre [for] cleaning up their wastes, [and asked them to] identify what wastes were
coming off what plantations immediately [so the District could calculate their
share of tax]. The sugar industry immediately appealed the attorney generals
decision to the Supreme Court of Florida, and the Supreme Court said
amendments to the constitution require implementation [by the legislature]. So
we are back knocking at the door of the Supreme Court. A group of us filed suit,
Mary Barley and myself and a couple of others, saying to the Supreme Court,
yes, we understand your verdict, but what happens in a state when an
overwhelming majority votes for an amendment to the constitution (it is now part
of Florida=s constitution) and yet we cannot get it implemented, because no
member of the legislature, all well-paid by Sugar, will enter the bill. There is
judicial reference in a number of different places. A number of historical decisions
have been made where the court has either imposed its will or sent a clear
message to the legislature, saying, you will have hearings and you will
implement. That does not mean we will gain the full level of taxation, but we
believe the Supreme Court will send a message to the legislature saying, hey
guys, implement.

P: I wanted you to comment on their very effective television advertising.

R: No question about it.

P: A tremendous amount of distortion, but it seemed to have worked.

R: Right, it worked. As I said, they hired the very best of the very best. You get what
you pay for. It was a great lesson. We did not realize that we were being
outspent by that much. The $10,000,000 or $11,000,000 differential was
colossal. They held their money back for the last three weeks, except for the
extensive tours where they literally bussed thousands and thousands of voters









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from the condominiums in southeastern Florida who we counted on, were sure
of. We lost condominium after condominium, and it was the bus [trips that led to
the negative reaction]. After the fact, we went back to find out why we lost at
certain places, and the big reasons in Dade, Broward, southern Palm Beach
[was], how could we put those dear farmers out of business, those little farmers,
those such attractive young people, those nice ladies, nice young black people
who all are working so hard out there? We just could not put them out of
business. The thought that these were huge corporate farmers apparently never
dawned on them. One of the great stories, and I do not remember whether I told
it in the first interview, was testifying in front of a Committee of Natural Resources
of the Florida legislature in the House. One Republican who is nameless, and he
should be nameless because he was defeated in the next election, asked me
what I had against small farmers in the Everglades. I looked at him and I said,
name one. I mean, come on, 90 percent of the EAA is owned by two
corporations. 97 percent is owned by three.

P: Who is the power then, the Fanjul brothers and Flo-Sun?

R: They are very, very powerful. U. S. Sugar is very powerful. George
Wedgeworth used to be powerful. He is less powerful now because he has
trouble with voracity and because he has a temper that is not his best ally. The
Fanjuls are very, very clever. One brother is a Republican and is an enormous
donor to the Republican party and serves on the most prestigious of all the large
donor groups of the Republican party. The other brother, the eldest brother, is a
Democrat and is a close friend of the president.

P: That is Alfie?

R: Alfonso. When Al Gore was championing the penny-per-pound issue for us,
Amendment Four, one telephone call from Fanjul to Clinton stopped all of the
activity in Washington in our behalf.

P: Is that because they make so many contributions to so many legislators?

R: Yes. They are the most generous of the donors, and more generous than
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler put together. There is hardly a member of the
legislature that does not get some financial support, and the vast majority of the
[Congressional] leadership receives tremendous support, not only from Florida
Sugar, but from the sugar beet states as well. [We face] great problems [in
attempting to] reform the sugar act, which is totally out of control. This year, a
minimum of $84,000,000 worth of excess sugar [has] already dumped on the
American taxpayer and in the next two weeks we will probably see another
$15,000,000 [dumped]. The Congress has to rewrite the sugar bill within two
years. The problems of [the Sugar Act are:] you have sections of this country









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where the sugar beets are grown, the Dakotas, Montana, eastern Oregon,
eastern Washington, parts of Idaho, [even California and Arizona] where there
are no significant cash crops, and [sugar] beets give a very steady source of
income to the individual farmers because of the American subsidy system. You
have [obvious] imbalances, because Hawaii sugar costs more to produce
because they have to use manual labor to cut the cane. The [Hawaiian]
processing plants are very old. They have had no capital investment in them for
many years. Then the price of bringing the raw sugar to the United States by ship
to refine it adds enormously to the cost per pound of raw versus cane sugar
grown in Florida or beet sugar grown in [the Midwest]. The combine is held
together, beet and cane are held together, by intensive negotiations at their
offices in Washington. Sugar has one of the largest lobbies of any industry in
America, the reason being that it is a product that is so heavily subsidized that
the producers of sugar, cane and beet, are willing to spend anything on lobbying,
campaign donations and legal efforts to keep this incredible largesse flowing.

P: They really have it good because the state of Florida gives them all the fresh
water they want and the federal government subsidizes their crop.

R: And it gets worst, because not only is the water free in Florida, but the total cost
of operating the system in the EAA [is subsidized]. Remember there is an
agricultural [tax] exemption on all of those lands, so the total income from those
lands to support the operation of the pumping system, to take their excess water
from their land and bring irrigation water from the lake to their land, is entirely
subsidized by the taxpayers of South Florida. The taxpayer of South Florida is
paying to give them Afree@ water, to take Afree@ water to their plantations, to
take [the polluted drainage] from their plantations, and to clean up their load of
pollution coming off their plantations. Never in the history of agriculture has
anybody ever had it so good, on top of a guarantee of $0.21 a pound [when the
world price for sugar is eight-plus cents!]. It is coming to an end, because Mexico
in the North American Treaty is able to sell in the United States a great many
tons of sugar per year. The [sugar] surplus now has grown at such a rate that the
American taxpayer is finally going to wake up and say, we are not going to dump
$100,000,000 into excess sugar again. It is just not going to happen. It is going to
be a tremendous battle. We have won it in the House many times before
because of the urban bloc, but we lose it in the Senate because of the number of
states that cane and, most importantly, sugar beets are grown in. If you add up
the number of states where sugar beets [and] cane sugar is grown, and where
the refineries are, you find out that you have a very tough time cleaning up the
sugar racket. How is that? It has been going on since the 1880s.

P: The sugar industry has attacked you. I think they compared you to Fidel Castro.

R: I love it. The children, each one of them, have mounted in their house this









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incredible full-page advertisement that [U.S. Sugar] took in the Miami Herald. [It]
is absolutely glorious. I thanked both presidents of both sugar companies for the
great honor they have bestowed on me. [They compared me with Fidel Castro!]

P: Let me get back to a question on Everglades Restoration. A key part of the whole
process is going to be the aquifer storage and recovery. That has never been
done on a large scale. How do we know that is going to work?

R: We do not, and [that is a Asearching@ question]. I would [admit that] the weakest
part of the restoration plan is aquifer storage. It may not even be legal. EPA may
have grave difficulty in allowing [untreated] water to [be pumped] into the aquifer.
It certainly poses some extraordinary legal challenges and hurdles.

P: Isn=t it polluted water?

R: It will be polluted water. The answer to that, of course, is that it is going into an
impermeable zone where it [supposedly] cannot move [upward]. [The agricultural
industry will be] using it for irrigation water so [when] it comes out with a lot of
phosphorus and nitrogen and then even if it has a little bit of herbicides, it is not
doing any damage; it is probably doing the crop good. That is the toughie. I think
we will see that [experiment proceed] because there are times, like last winter,
where we had a bountiful supply of water for a very short period of time. If we
had some way of storing it without losing it to the atmosphere, through
evaporation or through plants or through seepage, it would have been very
valuable to put that amount of water into storage. But for every enthusiastic
supporter of ASR, you have got ten people who say, beware, beware, beware.
This is an interesting concept. Go ahead and study it, go ahead and do some
trial, but to count on it is going too far.

P: Talk about the function of the South Florida Water Management District in the
restoration process. There has been some criticism in the past that they did not
heed scientific evidence as much as they should have.

R: I think that is a fair criticism. When I came on the board initially, environment was
probably the least-considered function. I stayed on the board long enough to see
that environment actually for a short period of time become [one of] the primary
objectives of the Water Management District. Then we had a hurricane, [South
Florida] got wet, and then drainage became more important than [the
environment]. Agriculture, of course, rear-guarded [environmental reforms] to
make sure that their needs were kept as a priority. [The District] now has multiple
priorit[ies]. Obviously [they] have the environment, the public utilities of South
Florida that rely far too heavily on Everglades water, and agriculture, who cannot
subsist without water. So, you have got at least two of the three users that cannot
survive without [an] adequate amount of water, which is agriculture and the









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environment. You have to look very hard at the utility system in South Florida,
still connected by umbilical cords to the Everglades, where they remove
hundreds of millions of gallons of Apotable@ water a day. I would say Apotable@
with quotes around it because Everglades water has to be treated because it
carries all kinds of interesting [chemicals in it]. [One of] the toughest decisions
that must be made during the Everglades restoration process, is the little-
discussed fact, and I am [stating] fact, [is] that the utilities of South Florida are
going to have to find other sources of water. By that I mean, they are going to
have to go to RO [reverse osmosis] water or some other form similar to RO,
because the Everglades [system is] simply not going to be able to provide the
amount of drinking water per day that [the utilities] have gotten used to [taking]. It
is so cheap to pump the water out from underneath the Everglades that the
thought of going to reverse osmosis is tough, but massive reverse osmosis
plants are effective all over the Middle East. Yes, they are energy-expensive.
yes, the water per gallon, or per thousand gallons, or per hundred thousand
gallons, is substantially higher than expertly-treated water taken from the
Everglades aquifer. But the fact of the matter is, with the rate of growth that
South Florida is going through, it is not possible to have a successful agriculture
community and utilities and protect the Everglades simultaneously. Agriculture]
has no other possible way of producing the kind of water needs that they have.
The Everglades [ecosystem] cannot be shorted again. You will see a legal effort
and you will see congressional effort to remove the power of the state if the [state
dries] up Everglades National Park and Florida Bay again for the sake of more
people living in South Florida. Congress made that very, very clear in passing the
Everglades Restoration bill this year, that this additional water [acquired at] vast
expense of the American taxpayer was not going to be used to subsidize
additional housing units in South Florida. That [scenario] will play out. That crisis
is down the road, because the utility directors, who have a very strong hand in
the Water Supply Department of the South Florida Water Management District,
have no intention at the moment of voluntarily giving up cheap Everglades water.
The fact of the matter is if you spread RO over the enormous base of the
3,000,000[-plus] people who live in South Florida, it is not staggering. Water is
bound to be far more expensive. I used to think that water was going to one of
the key elements in restraining growth in South Florida. Now, with the
tremendous advent of high-speed RO systems, I no longer believe that. I believe
that people will live here versus Chicago on December 18. I mean, let us face it,
looking down the Indian River as we are right now, where would you rather be?
Would you rather be in Detroit or Minneapolis or Chicago or Boston? No. The
fact of the matter is when you can afford it or whether it is by luck or volition, you
are going to get out of that miserable [four]-month, [five]-month winter and move
to a place where you could be in a polo shirt today. That is our problem. We still
are such an attractive place to live, despite the fact that there almost too many of
us, especially here in southeast Florida. It is approaching that in southwest
Florida.









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P: When you get to making decisions, what impact will the South Florida Water
Management District have vis-a-vis the Corps of Engineers or these other
agencies? How are they going to reconcile their interests?

R: They are equal partners, and it will require the selection of very good board
members and a very good executive director. I think the big problem right now is
two-fold at the water management district. First, we have a serious morale
problem, because we have members of the board who are trying to micro-
manage the staff. Secondly, we do not have a clear formula of how South Florida
is going to pay what the governor says is our percentage of the annual cost [of
the Restoration effort], which is $200,000,000 a year. He says that the state will
be responsible for $100,000,000 and South Florida will be responsible for
$100,000,000, but that money must come out of the South Florida Water
Management District budget and the South Florida Water Management District
may not raise taxes to come up with that $100,000,000. If you take $100,000,000
out of the South Florida Water Management District budget, you will lose the
great scientific staff that has been assembled, and you will lose project after
project that are vital beyond Everglades Restoration. Drainage alone for the
urban area will be lost. Cooperation between the cities and counties in South
Florida to clean up their urban pollution problems will all be lost, because that is
[paid for] on a matching basis, and the land-acquisition programs in South Florida
will be crippled as well. I am preparing right now a series of questions, and
hopefully some answers, to be presented at the Everglades Coalition meeting in
January where I chair one of the committees of the conference in producing, I
hope, an exciting forum on how South Florida should tax itself to meet its
responsibilities, rather than to [fiscally] destroy the South Florida Water
Management District. I hope it is going to be a very exciting forum.

P: Are there any procedures that have been worked out to facilitate the restoration
process? If you think about the Native Americans, the federal government, the
state government, the sugar farmers, dairy, all these different agencies, how are
they going to reconcile their different goals?

R: As I said, Michael Davis is a magnificent choice [for Everglades Coordinator]. In
the [Everglades Restoration] Act, there is some very strong direction given to the
Interior Department [and] the Secretary of the Army who supposedly controls the
Corps. I do not believe that the differences between the federal and the state
local interests are going to be that great. I do believe that, without a change in
the sugar bill, there will be continued friction between the restoration effort, the
environmental interests and the interests of the EAA. I think it is highly possible,
however, that the Congress will order a certain amount of land to be taken out of
[sugar] production. That will promote a crisis in the sense of whether we are
going to allow golf-course communities in the Everglades Agriculture Area or
whether the land must be acquired by the federal government and the state









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acting in concert. The second alternative not only is preferable, but I think it is
highly possible.

P: Did you not propose one time a two-cent tax to buy land and take it out of
circulation?

R: Yes.

P: What happened to that proposal?

R: It did not get very far. I have a paper process now for consideration for future
amendments to the Florida Constitution to protect the EAA as an agricultural
area, or as an environmentally sensitive area to be acquired with a potential
funding source. We are probably, two, three, four, maybe five years away from
producing such a huge effort in the state of Florida, which would be a green tax
that would supplant the present Florida Forever and other land-acquisition
programs that are presently paid for by a small percentage on the [state land]
transfer tax.

P: Like Preservation 2000?

R: Yes. I think there is a cleaner way of doing it, and I think the people of Florida
might rally to the cause.

P: Talk a little bit about a new concept that I am not very familiar with. There is
going to be an adaptive-assessment team. What is that, and what is their
function?

R: That goes back to my opening quite a ways back, just as we began this process,
when we were talking about my testimony in front of the committee. That is the
one that Sugar decided to fight against as hard as anything and then gave in as
very extremely well-known scientists joined with the environmental community in
supporting this concept. The concept is pure and simple. As we proceed with this
Restoration project, we are going to have modifications and changes that we
cannot possibly foresee at this time. We cannot give a plan every spring to the
Congress that says we are going to do the following things in the following order
forever because there will be unforeseen changes. Dramatic things will happen.
The marsh will either dry out or it will get flooded or the water will go in the wrong
[direction]. No matter how good the computer models are, and they are very, very
good, adaptive management is that you adapt your plans to fit the situation. Pure
and simple as that. Now, we have got multiple millions of acres of land and
water, and it would be foolhardy for us to stick with Plan A and not be willing to
be flexible; if Plan A is not producing the results anticipated, that we [should be
able to] shift by adaptive management and say, hey, let us try a correction
course. And do it rapidly and not have to go back to the Congress every single




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