The recipient of the 2015 Environmental Achievement Award: Henry Diamond.
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) presented its 2015 Environmental Achievement Award to Henry L. Diamond, Founder and Senior Counsel, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., recognizing his lifetime of achievements in the practice of environmental law and the conservation of lands and waters across the United States.
The Award honors Diamond’s more than 50 years of outstanding service to preserving our nation’s environment through environmental law, policy, and management. “Henry’s long, wide-ranging career is a timeline of environmental progress,” said Edward Strohbehn, Board Chair of ELI. “He saw a path forward at the very beginning of the modern environmental era, and went on to build much of that path himself over a lifetime of vision and achievement.”
ELI Acting President Scott Schang explained that ELI chose Diamond because he sets the standard for other environmental law practitioners. “Henry Diamond stands as an environmental statesman with a reputation for finding common ground among competing interests and shaping our system of modern environmental and natural resources laws to a degree few others can claim. In public service and private practice, Henry shows us how to be an advocate for what is fair and just and how to encourage effective implementation of the laws – in many instances laws he helped establish. America is a far richer landscape and Americans enjoy our country’s natural bounty because of his efforts.”
Mr. Diamond began his environmental and resource career upon meeting Laurance S. Rockefeller and becoming a key advisor on parks, recreation, and outdoor issues. This association led to his service in 1962 as editor of the report of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission for President John F. Kennedy. The seminal report led to the creation of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Wilderness Act, and the national system of wild and scenic rivers.
He served as Executive Director of the influential 1965 White House Conference on Natural Beauty, which Mr. Rockefeller chaired. And he served as a member and then as chairman of the President’s Citizens Advisory Committees on Recreation and Natural Beauty and Environmental Quality.
When New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller created the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on the first Earth Day in 1970, he appointed Diamond to serve as commissioner, leading the nation’s first integrated environmental agency. As commissioner, he led a 533-mile bicycle ride across New York State, successfully promoting a $1.2 billion environmental bond issue. As the state’s hunting and fishing programs were brought under the DEC umbrella, the DEC also created programs to deal with mercury, solid waste, water, and air pollution as well as access to public lands and forests. The combination was the first of its kind in the nation and became the model for many other states.
He moved to the private sector in 1975, joining the nascent environmental law firm that became Beveridge & Diamond. The firm is now the nation’s largest environmental and natural resource law firm, with over 100 practitioners in 7 offices nationwide advising clients on regulatory, project development, sustainability, and litigation challenges worldwide. As Senior Counsel, Diamond remains at the vanguard of environmental and natural resource practice.
Throughout his career and to this day, Mr. Diamond has remained a tireless advocate for land and water conservation. He has served on more than 30 boards and commissions, including Resources for the Future, Environmental Law Institute, The Woodstock Foundation, The Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc., and Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation. He chaired the National Park Service 75th Anniversary Conference which produced the influential Vail Report, and co-authored the 1996 survey Land Use In America. He recently co-chaired the bipartisan Outdoor Resources Review Group, sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman and Lamar Alexander. The Group’s report, Great Outdoors America, served as a catalyst for the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.
Mr. Diamond has received numerous honors and awards, including the Pugsley Medal of the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration (2008) and the U.S. Department of Interior’s Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award (2011).