John C. Whitaker
Served on the Nixon White House staff (1969-1972) and as Under Secretary of the Interior (1973-1975) • November 19, 2003

John Whitaker served on the Nixon White House staff from 1969 to 1972, coordinating environment and natural resources policy, and from 1973 to 1975 as Under Secretary of the Interior, reporting to Secretary Rogers C. B. Morton, who died in 1979. At the White House, Whitaker, a Ph.D. in geology, dealt with issues like the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency; tightening pesticide and toxic waste regulations; new clean water and air legislation; and modernizing leasing policies on the public lands for two new potential energy sources: oil extracted from shale and electricity produced from geothermal steam. Together, Morton and Whitaker prided themselves on their ability to walk the fine line between Interior’s competing natural resources development and preservationist constituencies.

Read a transcript of John Whitaker’s interview