Formidable as Ally or Adversary, NRDC's Clean Air Champion Has Led Public Health, Global Warming Fights for More Than 30 Years
WASHINGTON (April 5, 2006) -- The Environmental Protection Agency today is honoring the lifetime achievements of clean air champion David G. Hawkins, attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council and director of the NRDC Climate Center, for 35 years of service working to protect the health and safety of the American public against the threats of air pollution and global warming.
During that time Hawkins has been both a tenacious adversary and a staunch ally to the agency. He also served as its chief air pollution official from 1977 to 1981. His name has become virtually synonymous with the Clean Air Act itself.
In recognition for his work, Hawkins has been selected to receive this year's Thomas W. Zosel Outstanding Individual Achievement Award, one of the agency's annual Clean Air Excellence Awards, which recognizes an individual selected by the assistant administrator for outstanding achievement, demonstrated leadership, and a lasting commitment to promoting clean air and helping to achieve better air quality.
"Dave Hawkins has been ahead of the environmental curve for 35 years. When the nation's cities were shrouded in smog, he helped shape the Clean Air Act and worked hard to ensure it was implemented and enforced. Today David is out front leading the fight again," said NRDC President Frances Beinecke. "His work has helped protect the health of millions of Americans, and his unwavering faith in the power of law in our democracy has been an inspiration for a whole generation of younger lawyers."
"Over the years, there has been no more effective and consistent voice on behalf of cleaner air than David Hawkins," said William K. Reilly, administrator of the EPA from 1989 to 1993. "He has had a significant role in improving the rigor of our clean air laws and the integrity of their enforcement. I salute his enormous contributions to the quality of the environment and to the best traditions of participatory democracy in America. The world our children inherit will be better because of his efforts."
David Hawkins joined NRDC as an attorney in 1971, working on industrial air pollution control and attainment of air quality standards. In 1977, he was appointed by President Carter to serve as Assistant EPA Administrator for Air, Noise, and Radiation, where he was responsible for initiating major new programs under the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and extensively involved in other regulatory proceedings.
Hawkins returned to NRDC in 1981 as co-director of the organization's Clean Air Program, working mainly on the next round of Clean Air Act amendments and developing a national program to combat acid rain. In 1990 he became director of NRDC's newly combined Air and Energy Program.
When NRDC established its Climate Center in 2001, Hawkins became its director, leading a staff of experts and advocates to advance solutions at the state, national and international levels to cut the heat-trapping pollution responsible for global warming. Hawkins also works extensively on advanced coal technologies to capture and contain carbon emissions, and has testified frequently before Congress and industry organizations.
Hawkins serves on the boards of the Center for Clean Air Policy, Resources for the Future, and the Board on Environmental and Energy Systems of the National Academy of Sciences. He participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, and is participating in the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report on climate change.