President Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to NRDC Founding Director John Adams

WASHINGTON (February 15th, 2011) -- President Obama today presented John Adams, the founding director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. Adams is the first founder of an American environmental advocacy organization to receive the award since 1991.

Following is a statement from John H. Adams, NRDC Founding Director and author of A Force for Nature:

“Forty years ago, people of all political persuasions joined together to form the modern environmental movement. It was President Nixon who signed legislation, backed by an overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats alike, that created the EPA and the bedrock environmental laws that have served us well for a generation.

“Back then, protecting our health and our environment’s health wasn’t political.  Clean air and clean water were simply the rights of every American – ones we needed to enforce and protect. The times may have changed, but those basic rights to clean air and clean water and safe food remain. 

“Receiving the Medal of Freedom today is not only an honor for me, it is presidential recognition of the vital importance of all American citizens’ environmental rights.”