Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, spent 22 controversial months as head of the EPA under President Ronald Reagan.
Burford, who died of cancer in 2004 at age 62, led the agency from May 1981 until March 1983. It was a contentious period. In the Oct. 12, 1981, issue of Automotive News, Washington reporter Jake Kelderman wrote: "In the 10-year history of EPA, there have been periods of turmoil, but none rivals what is happening under the reign of Anne Gorsuch."
Kelderman continued: "Within the past month her No. One and No. Two assistants have resigned or been fired, and scores of knowledgeable senior executives have left the agency."
And he added: "White House officials are known to be less than pleased with her inability to convince key political and industrial supporters of the administration that she has their interests in mind. Meanwhile, industry -- or at least the auto industry -- has begun to criticize her for her lack of effort in getting deregulation off the ground."
Burford was forced to resign after being cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over federal toxic waste Superfund records. She had been accused of mishandling the fund.
Born Anne McGill, she married David Gorsuch after law school and divorced him in 1979. She was known as a charmer and a determined political combatant. Denver's Rocky Mountain News once said, "She could kick a bear to death with her bare feet."