Do you remember William D. Ruckelshaus who was from Indiana? Here is some background from Wikepedia. I think his background and political history makes this Op-Ed from the New York Times even more interesting as we watch the politics of climate change unfold in the days and months ahead.
He served as the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, was subsequently acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then Deputy Attorney General of the United States. During 1983 through 1985 he returned as EPA Administrator.
Ruckelshaus was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, to a distinguished family with a long history of practicing law in Indianapolis and serving in Republican Party politics.
After passing the Indiana bar exam, Ruckelshaus joined the family law firm of Ruckelshaus, Bobbitt, and O'Connor.
Starting at age 28, he was Deputy Attorney General of Indiana from 1960 through 1965. For two years he was assigned to the Indiana Board of Health. As counsel to the Indiana Stream Pollution Control Board, Ruckelshaus obtained court orders prohibiting industries and municipalities from heavy pollution of the state's water supply. He also helped draft the 1961 Indiana Air Pollution Control Act, the state's first attempt to reduce that problem. He then spent two years as Chief Counsel for the Attorney General's Office.
Ruckelshaus then began a political career. He ran in 1964 as a moderate Republican for an Indiana Congressional seat, losing in the primaries to a candidate from the conservative wing of the party. He then spent a year as Minority Attorney for the Indiana State Senate.
He then won a seat in the Indiana House of Representatives, benefitting from an up year for Republicans overall. He became Majority Leader of the House in his first term, serving in that capacity from 1967 to 1969.
Ruckelshaus became the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s first Administrator when the agency was formed on December 2, 1970, by President Nixon. Although many people were mentioned as possibilities for this new position, Ruckelshaus got the nod based upon the strong recommendation of the U.S. Attorney General, John Mitchell.
Ruckelshaus laid the foundation for the EPA by hiring its leaders, defining its mission, deciding priorities, and selecting an organizational structure.
Just thought you might like to know more.
I sincerely hope that Indiana Republicans are listening.
Laura Ann Arnold
By WILLIAM D. RUCKELSHAUS, LEE M. THOMAS, WILLIAM K. REILLY and CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN
Published: August 1, 2013 391 Comments
EACH of us took turns over the past 43 years running the Environmental Protection Agency. We served Republican presidents, but we have a message that transcends political affiliation: the United States must move now on substantive steps to curb climate change, at home and internationally.
There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth’s atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected.
The costs of inaction are undeniable. The lines of scientific evidence grow only stronger and more numerous. And the window of time remaining to act is growing smaller: delay could mean that warming becomes “locked in.”
A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama’s June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. He will use his executive powers to require reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the nation’s power plants and spur increased investment in clean energy technology, which is inarguably the path we must follow to ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate.
The president also plans to use his regulatory power to limit the powerful warming chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons and encourage the United States to join with other nations to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase out these chemicals. The landmark international treaty, which took effect in 1989, already has been hugely successful in solving the ozone problem.
Rather than argue against his proposals, our leaders in Congress should endorse them and start the overdue debate about what bigger steps are needed and how to achieve them — domestically and internationally.
As administrators of the E.P.A under Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush, we held fast to common-sense conservative principles — protecting the health of the American people, working with the best technology available and trusting in the innovation of American business and in the market to find the best solutions for the least cost.
That approach helped us tackle major environmental challenges to our nation and the world: the pollution of our rivers, dramatized when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire in 1969; the hole in the ozone layer; and the devastation wrought by acid rain.
The solutions we supported worked, although more must be done. Our rivers no longer burn, and their health continues to improve. The United States led the world when nations came together to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals. Acid rain diminishes each year, thanks to a pioneering, market-based emissions-trading system adopted under the first President Bush in 1990. And despite critics’ warnings, our economy has continued to grow.
Climate change puts all our progress and our successes at risk. If we could articulate one framework for successful governance, perhaps it should be this: When confronted by a problem, deal with it. Look at the facts, cut through the extraneous, devise a workable solution and get it done.
We can have both a strong economy and a livable climate. All parties know that we need both. The rest of the discussion is either detail, which we can resolve, or purposeful delay, which we should not tolerate.
Mr. Obama’s plan is just a start. More will be required. But we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet. The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.