This week the world lost an inspirational leader dedicated to environmental protection. His name was Russell E. Train. Train died at the age of 92 (see, protecting the environment can make you live longer).
The list of Train’s contributions to famous environmental laws is impressive. Actually, the word impressive doesn’t do the list justice, more like mind-blowing. Here’s a summary of his contributions:
- First head of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ, the White House’s environmental policy shop)
- Second EPA Administrator
- Father of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the guiding federal legislation that dictates how new environmental projects should be developed
- President of the World Wildlife Fund
- Led the American delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, the first large gathering of world leaders to consider environmental degradation
Train was a Republican lawyer by training, yes a Republican, you heard right. Motivated by epic rates of pollution in the 70s and a conservationist at heart Train sought to protect the environment and promote economic growth (my favorite combination). Train consulted President Nixon on environmental laws and advocated that the protection of the environment can be a bipartisan national interest.
Under his lead at EPA, the agency:
banned four particularly toxic farm chemicals (aldrin, dieldrin, heptachlor and chlordane) and instituted auto emission limits. He recruited economists to forecast the costs of environmental rules. And he established the agency’s scientific capacity to evaluate the health consequences of exposure to toxic compounds, the basis of the EPA’s process for assessing the risks and benefits of its actions.
Train was raised in the Washington area, and his father worked at the White House. He was quoted as a “man of exquisite manners” and resided by his wife of 58 years, and 12 grandchildren.
Sounds like the perfect life to me. Salute to you, Mr. Russell E. Train, and thank you for your dedication to the environment. Cheers.