In a recent speech that I made on religion and the environment, I made a mistake in quoting remarks attributed to James Watt, former Secretary of Interior, by the online journal Grist without confirming them myself. Because those or similar quotes had also appeared through the years in many other publications-in the Washington Post and Time, for example, as well as in several books that I consulted in preparing my speech-I too easily assumed their legitimacy. 

Despite their widespread currency, I should have checked their accuracy before using them. Grist and The Washington Post have now published corrections concerning the quote attributed to Mr. Watt in 1981. I talked to Mr. Watt on the phone and expressed my own regret at using a quote that I had not myself confirmed. I also told him that I continue to find his policies as Secretary of the Interior abysmally at odds with what I, as well as other Christians, understand to be our obligation to be stewards of the earth.
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