An eye-opening memoir for those interested in government service, politics, academia, environmental history, and environmental engineering.

Eric Eidsness, an environmental engineer and former EPA Assistant Administrator for Water appointed by President Ronald Reagan, diagnoses the EPA’s missteps over the decades leading up to today’s crisis of confidence. He proposes a solution that will reconfigure the EPA into the agency it was meant to be.

The Gorilla

“The movers and shakers leave their own legacies, for better or worse, just as I attempt to document my own legacy in this book under the name of “regulatory and management reforms.” ~ Eric Eidsness

The Way Forward

Part V of Gorilla in the Closet zeroes in on the Biden Administration’s opportunity to create a functioning EPA — a “bottom-up” approach that serves its original intent and boldly partners with local governments and states.

Speaking Engagements

Eric is available for interviews and to speak at your next event. He’s a subject-matter expert on environmental issues, engineering and entrepreneurialism — a highly experienced public speaker.


Environmentalist, Engineer, Public Servant, Entrepreneur

Over the past 10 years, author Eric Eidsness has compiled Gorilla in the Closet, a raw and unflinching historical account of the politically charged Environmental Protection Agency under the Reagan Administration. If you want to know why the EPA remains so polarized today, this is a must-read.

Advance Praise

Gorilla In The Closet is a page-turner with searing intensity in the terse descriptions of EPA Administrators William D. Ruckelshaus and Anne Gorsuch, each trying in their own way to establish and develop a major new federal agency through trial and error, learning through success and failure while navigating the tricky political shoals, and serving their own political ambitions.

There is no absence of drama in its telling — in part it’s a whodunit, carefully telling of steps and missteps and motives of his colleagues and the witch hunt that forced all of them out of office, including Eric, the last to go. In other respects, the book is a tutorial on environmental law, particularly the sweeping Clean Water Act, its main regulatory features, the ambiguities, impossible deadlines and unfamiliar mandates that upended industry, states, municipalities and the engineering profession for over a decade and a half before alignment of interests began to take root and enforcement became more effective.”

~ Claude E. Terry, Ph.D., microbiologist, molecular biologist, biophysicist, conservationist, environmentalist, board-certified toxicologist, founder of American Rivers, co-founder of Friends of the River


The Gorilla in the Closet is an extensive primer on governance, oversight, and “the way things work” in Washington, D.C. — an excellent resource for students and faculty who wish to study the EPA’s backstory.

Eric Eidsness Media


Enjoy interviews and articles about Eric’s long career on C-SPAN, the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, his papers at the Colorado State University Water Resources Archive, and more. 


Eric shares observations, anecdotes and lively backstories about his own journey, the lessons learned, the environment, the EPA, colleagues, and other notable topics — interesting reading based on an interesting life.

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