- Associated Press - Monday, November 16, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - The White House announced Monday that an Indian treaty rights activist and Environmental Protection Agency leader from Washington state will be among those receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s top civilian award.

Billy Frank, Jr. was an Indian treaty rights and environmental stewardship advocate, whose activism paved the way for the “Boldt decision,” which reaffirmed tribal co-management of salmon resources in the state. Frank led effective “fish-ins,” akin to sit-ins of the civil rights movement, during the tribal “fish wars” of the 1960s and 1970s.

Frank, who died in 2014, received many awards, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award for Humanitarian Achievement.

William D. Ruckelshaus was first and fifth administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He shaped the guiding principles of the agency and brought the public into the decision-making process. Among the EPA’s achievements under his leadership was a nationwide ban on the pesticide DDT and an agreement with the automobile industry to require catalytic converters, which significantly reduced automobile pollution.

As deputy attorney general, Ruckelshaus is also known for refusing to fire the Watergate special prosecutor.

The awards will be presented next week at the White House.

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