Remembering Bill Ruckelshaus

Bill was one of the sharpest, kindest minds in the room in the Washington Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. When we proposed it and worked with the governor’s staff to organize it, a palpable thrill moved through the whole team when Bill agreed to serve as co-chair. His clear eye on the long view helped to ensure that the panel’s recommendations did not gather dust on a shelf. His efforts helped to make Washington’s approach a compelling example that other states were quick to embrace.

One outcome: some coastal states became important funders for critically needed research to understand this problem and test potential interventions. I distinctly remember one meeting that consumed most of a day and left all the panel members drained. In his 80s, Bill was the eldest of all, but he was the only one who thought to thank the kid who brought coffee to the table—and he remembered his name. We are fortunate to have had such good company and excellent leadership.


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