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Anne Gorsuch Burford
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    (April 21, 1942-July 18, 2004)
    Born in Casper, Wyoming
    Birth name was Anne McGill
    Member of the Colorado House of Representatives (1976-80)
    Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; 1981-83)
    Mother of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch
    She smoked two packs of cigarettes a day.
    She staffed the EPA with members of the industries they were supposed to be regulating.
    William Ruckelshaus, her successor at the EPA, commented, ‘She treated a lot of people in the agency as the enemy, and they weren’t. But within a week, they were.’
    She became the first head of a federal agency to be charged with contempt of Congress (December 16, 1982), after refusing to turn over documents subpoenaed for an investigation into possible mishandling of the $1.6 billion ‘Superfund’ for cleaning up toxic waste sites.
    When Ronald Reagan tried to reward her loyalty by appointing her chair of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and the Atmosphere (1984), she dismissed the job as ‘a joke’ and ‘a nothingburger,’ resulting in her withdrawal.
    The Washington Post described her as having ‘television-star looks and perfect manicures.’
    In the Colorado House of Representatives, she was named Outstanding Freshman Legislator.
    She was the first female head of the EPA.
    She tried to streamline the EPA bureaucracy and boasted that she reduced the thickness of the book of clean water regulations from six inches to half an inch.
    After leaving the EPA, she returned to private practice as an attorney specializing in child advocacy issues.

Credit: C. Fishel

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