WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement on the passing of former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator William Ruckelshaus, who served as administrator in 1970 in the Nixon Administration. Mr. Ruckelshaus later served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and famously defied President Nixon’s order to fire the independent special Watergate prosecutor. In 1983, when the EPA was in crisis, Mr. Ruckelshaus was again appointed to serve as EPA Administrator for the Reagan Administration.

“As families gather across America for Thanksgiving, we give thanks for many different things. One of the people we can be most thankful for as a nation is the first leader of the Environmental Protection Agency, Bill Ruckelshaus, a man of extraordinary courage and vision who was willing to speak truth to power and put country over party. His enduring legacy is living proof that we need more Democrats and Republicans who share his commitment to the health of our people and the health of our planet. If we had more leaders like him today, we would have a stronger democracy and a safer planet for it.

“Our battles for cleaner air, cleaner water and a safer planet are far from over, but if we can summon the courage and leadership today that Bill Ruckelshaus provided so long ago, we will get through our challenges much as he helped us get through equally daunting challenges forty years ago.”