Burford, Anne M(cGill) 1942-2004

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BURFORD, Anne M(cGill) 1942-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born April 21, 1942, in Casper, WY; died of cancer July 18, 2004, in Aurora, CO. Attorney, politician, civil servant, and author. Burford was best known for her controversial tenure as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Ronald Reagan. She was a 1961 graduate of the University of Colorado, and earned her law degree in 1964 from Regis College in Denver. During the late 1960s, she worked for the First National Bank in Denver and then as assistant district attorney in Jefferson County, Colorado. In the early 1970s, she was deputy district attorney in Denver before being elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1976. While a lawmaker in the state House, she also worked as an attorney for Mountain Bell Corp. Burford's experience as chair of the House State Affairs and Interim Committee on Hazardous Waste while in Colorado helped in her selection as head of the EPA in 1981. But her subsequent efforts to cut back on her department's budget and streamline its regulatory powers over business drew strong criticism from environmentalists and Congressional leaders from both major parties. She tried to weaken the Clean Air Act, relaxed restrictions on pesticides, and even proposed the creation of a twelve-hundred-square-mile zone off the East Coast where toxic wastes could be burned. The last straw came when she refused to give Congress copies of the EPA's Superfund records; she was cited for contempt, and, under pressure from the White House, resigned in 1983. Ever afterwards, Burford would protest that she was made the scapegoat for following Reagan's desired environmental policies, writing about her feelings in her 1985 book, Are You Tough Enough? After leaving Washington, she returned to private practice, focusing on child advocacy law.



Chicago Tribune, July 21, 2004, section 1, p. 11.

Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2004, p. B10.

New York Times, July 22, 2004, p. C13.

Washington Post, July 22, 2004, p. B6.