William Ruckleshaus is a former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He is a lawyer who has been involved in many environmental issues and compromises.
Ruckleshaus was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1934. He attended Princeton and
Harvard Universities, from which he received a bachelor of arts and a law degree, respectively. After graduating, he became a lawyer and soon served in the Indiana House of Representatives.
In 1969, President Nixon made Ruckleshaus Assistant Attorney General for the United States, and in 1970, Nixon selected him to be the first head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Ruckleshaus proved a skilled administrator as director of this newly founded agency.
became acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1973, and therefore left his post in the EPA. He was then appointed Deputy Attorney General of the United States, but soon left that position as well because of a disagreement with the President over a Watergate issue.
Ruckleshaus returned to practicing law. He also spent time as the Senior Vice-President of Legal Affairs of the Weyerhaeuser Company, a large wood-products company.
With the resignation of a number
of EPA administrators due to accusations of mishandling the Superfund program in 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed Ruckleshaus as interim EPA administrator, a position that he held for the remainder of the year and most of 1984. Ruckleshaus did important work with both industries and environmentalists to successfully stabilize the Agency.
Again, Ruckleshaus returned to law, working for the firm Perkins Coie in
Seattle, Washington. He also served on boards of directors and advisors of a number of universities and organizations, and in 1989, he became chairperson of Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc., a large garbage-disposal business involved in lawsuits over landfills that were not meeting government regulations.