Maybe I’m showing my age here.
James Watt is an iconic inventor whose improvements to the steam engine brought about a major changes during the industrial revolution. He is still remembered in the history books much like many other inventors and thinkers of the past but has relinquished the status of being in regular conversations since the passing of the industrial revolution and the arrival of the technological and scientific revolutions.
Thanks, but I was referring to the James Watt who held some sort of environmental position in the Reagan administration.
I thought you meant Mr. Steam Engine, James “Power” Watt, too. But I went looking for the James Watt of the Reagan Administration, and he sounds like a pretty scary guy. He served as Secretary of the Interior from 1981-83, during which time he quintupled the area of land leased to coal mining companies, proposed that all 80 million acres of undeveloped land in the United States be opened for drilling and mining in the year 2000, and was quoted as saying, “We will mine more, drill more, cut more timber!”
Turns out, in 1995, Watt was charged with 25 counts of felony perjury and obstruction of justice for his time lobbying for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He entered a plea bargain, in which he admitting his guilt to one misdemeanor count of withholding evidence from a grand jury. He was sentenced with a $5,000 fine, 500 hours of community service, and five years’ probation. I guess that’s what “happened” to James G. Watt. Probably a good thing, too, as in 1991, he said,
“If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box, perhaps the cartridge box should be used.”
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