Environment: The Burns Case

When John M. Burns III left his job in a Wall Street law firm last summer, his future gleamed. At 37, he was the hand-picked executive assistant to a close friend, Whitney North Seymour Jr., the Nixon Administration's U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In the six months that followed, Lawyer Burns became the Government's most successful prosecutor of water polluters. This should have delighted both Seymour and the White House, which crusades for a cleaner environment. Yet a fortnight ago, Seymour fired Burns.

Why? According to Seymour's official statement, "a...

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