William D. Ruckelshaus, responsible for shaping the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the 1970s, as the Agency’s Administrator, and then serving again as Administrator from 1983 to 1985, died at 87 years old on November 27, 2019.
Ruckelshaus also served as Chairman of the Board for the World Resources Institute (WRI) from 1996 to 2004.
According to The Washington Post who has spoken with J. Patrick Dobel, a public affairs professor at the University of Washington, about Ruckelshaus’ time in the EPA, Dobel said: “He got the EPA a lot of public support and built up visibility.”
Mr. Ruckelshaus was born in 1932. After studying law at Harvard University, he was named state deputy attorney general in 1960 and was counsel with the Indiana Board of Health, where he prosecuted companies contaminating state waterways.
The Times magazine in 2008 rated William D. Ruckelshaus among the best Cabinet secretaries in U.S. history, and in 2015, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S.’ highest civilian honour by President Barack Obama.
“As the first EPA Administrator, he solidified our country’s commitment to protecting human health and the environment. Administrator Ruckelshaus led the Agency during a time when the first federal environmental statutes were enacted and set the original example for all subsequent EPA Administrators to follow. His distinguished life and career, capped with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, will remain an inspiration for generations,” stated Andrew Wheeler, EPA's Administrator.