Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus, 1970-1973 and 1983-1985

Official portrait of Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus
Official portrait of Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus
Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus
Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus

Administrator Ruckelshaus served as the first EPA Agency Administrator, from December 1970 to April 1973. During EPA's formative years, he concentrated on:

  • developing the new agency's organizational structure;
  • enforcing against severely polluted cities and industrial polluters;
  • setting health-based standards for air pollutants and standards for automobile emissions;
  • requiring states to submit new air quality plans; and
  • banning the general use of the pesticide DDT.

Administrator Ruckelshaus returned to EPA for a second term as EPA's fifth administrator. While at EPA, he committed to open communications with the public through his "fishbowl" policy.  His administration instituted an emergency ban of the pesticide ethylene dibromide (EDB) and started cleanups of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

More information available about Administrator Ruckelshaus is below.  

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  • Biography William D. Ruckelshaus: First Term
  • EPA Journal article William D. Ruckelshaus: The Return of "An Extraordinary Public Servant"
  • William D. Ruckelshaus: Oral History Interview (EPA publications number 202-K-92-0003; January 1993) -- examines the first (1970-73) and second (1983-85) terms of EPA Agency Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus, including EPA's relationship with the White House, Congress, industry, state governments, and environmental movement; and issues related to international affairs, budgets, Nixon and Reagan policies, and efforts towards cabinet status for EPA.

Articles by Administrator Ruckelshaus

  • EPA's First Administrator on the Establishment of EPA - December 1970 EPA press release
  • A Challenge to EPA from Nov./Dec. 1980 EPA Journal
  • Views from the Former Administrators from November 1985 EPA Journal
  • Environmental Regulation: The Early Days at EPA from March 1988 EPA Journal
  • Looking Back, Looking Ahead: EPA from Jan./Feb. 1990 EPA Journal
  • Ruckelshaus Takes Steps to Improve Flow of Agency Information [Fishbowl Policy] - May 19, 1983 press release

Articles about Administrator Ruckelshaus

  • The Guardian: Origins of the EPA (section on the First Administrator)
  • November 1985 article "EPA History (1970-1985)" - includes information on both Ruckleshaus terms