William Ruckelshaus was named EPA’s first Administrator when EPA was formed in 1970 by President Nixon. He went on to lay the foundation for an effective, robust EPA by hiring its initial leaders, defining its organizational structure as well as setting a pattern for taking on complex issues such as the ban of DDT and overseeing the implementation of the Clean Air Act of 1970. In 1983, with the EPA in crisis due to a pattern of mismanagement, including misuse of money and irregularities in administration of the Superfund program, President Ronald Reagan appointed Ruckelshaus to serve as EPA Administrator a second time.
Current EPN volunteers who worked at EPA during that time remember vividly his return, where his initial priorities were to improve staff morale, restore public confidence and put EPA back on track to do the job assigned to it by Congress. Mr. Ruckelshaus’s integrity, deep commitment to the mission of EPA and management skills will long be remembered; he is an icon in the history of EPA. In honor of EPN’s two-year anniversary, Mr. Ruckelshaus sent his well wishes in a video. Click the play button below to see his message.