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Former EPA director Ruckelshaus will receive Theodore Roosevelt Medal for Public Service

Puget Sound Partnership Chairman William D. Ruckelshaus ... former director of EPA and FBI will be honored in October by the Theodore Roosevelt Association.   - Scott Rasmussen
Puget Sound Partnership Chairman William D. Ruckelshaus ... former director of EPA and FBI will be honored in October by the Theodore Roosevelt Association.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

William D. Ruckelshaus, a part-time resident of San Juan Island and former director of the EPA and the FBI, will receive the Theodore Roosevelt Medal for Public Service from the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Oct. 21, in Seattle.

Ruckelshaus will give the keynote address at the start of the association's annual meeting, which continues through Oct. 24.

The Theodore Roosevelt Association is an historical and cultural organization dedicated to honoring the life and work of Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), the 26th president of the United States.

Ruckelshaus, 77, is governor-appointed chairman of the Puget Sound Partnership, which is working to improve the health of the Salish Sea by 2020; and former chairman of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

Ruckelshaus has been involved in public service for 50 years. He was deputy attorney general of Indiana from 1960-65, member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 1967-69, assistant U.S. attorney general from 1969-70, and was appointed by President Nixon the first director of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.

During his service at EPA, Ruckelshaus oversaw a seven-month hearing on DDT, after which he instituted a ban of DDT, the pesticide featured in Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring."

In April 1973, he was appointed acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and in the same year was appointed deputy U.S. attorney general.

In an event known as the "Saturday Night Massacre," Ruckelshaus and his boss, Elliot Richardson, resigned their positions in the Justice Department rather than obey an order from President Nixon to fire the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, who was investigating official misconduct on the part of the president and his aides.

After leaving the Justice Department, Ruckelshaus returned to the private sector and the practice of law, serving for a time as the senior vice president of legal affairs of Weyerhaeuser.

In 1983, after EPA director Anne Gorsuch resigned amid allegations her agency mishandled the $1.6 billion toxic waste Superfund, President Reagan appointed Ruckelshaus to serve as interim director.

Ruckelshaus joined Perkins Coie, a Seattle-based law firm, in 1985.

From 1983-86, he served on the World Commission on Environment and Development set up by the United Nations. In 1997, President Clinton appointed him as U.S. envoy in the implementing of the Pacific Salmon Treaty. In 1999, he was appointed by Gov. Gary Locke as chairman of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

On May 7, 2008, Gov. Christine Gregoire appointed Ruckelshaus to the Puget Sound Partnership.

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