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September 19, 2012

Former EPA Administrator Russell Train dies at 92

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Russell Train, a leading American conservationist who helped craft some of the nation's enduring environmental laws, has died at age 92.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said late Monday that as a leader with the federal agency at the time it was just starting under the Nixon administration, Train helped set the path for the ongoing work of the agency.

"His years with the agency saw landmark environmental achievements whose impacts are still felt," Jackson said in a statement, citing laws such as the Toxic Substance Control Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, which helps protect the nation's water.

Train came to symbolize the bipartisan nature of the environmental movement more than 40 years ago when many conservatives were enthusiastic advocates of environmentalism.

Train was appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower to the bench of the Tax Court in 1957. The Washington Post said that around that time he and his wife took two safari expeditions to East Africa and the experiences had an impact on him that lasted throughout his life.

In 1965, he left the Tax Court to take over the presidency of the Conservation Foundation, a research and education organization.

Newly elected President Richard Nixon named him undersecretary of the Interior Department and in 1970 he became the first chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, an advisory group to the president. The EPA was started in 1970 and William Ruckelshaus was its first administrator. When Ruckelshaus left to take over the FBI during the Watergate scandal, Train was chosen to lead the EPA.

"I would say the natural world has lost one its greatest friends," Ruckelshaus said Tuesday from Seattle. "Russell Train was a pioneer in the modern environmental movement and deserves the thanks of every American, indeed every citizen of the world for his life's work."

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