F. Henry “Hank” Habicht, II (1983-1987)
Early History/Schooling: Frank Henry Habicht, II was born on April 10,1953, in Oak Park, Illinois to Frank Henry and Jeanne Ellen Habicht. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1975 and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1978.
Tenure as AAG: In 1983, President Reagan nominated Habicht for the post of Assistant Attorney General of the Land and Natural Resources Division. Because Habicht had met with Senate committee members numerous times once he was nominated, he was confirmed without a formal confirmation hearing.
As the number of the Division’s Superfund/CERCLA cases increased, Habicht increased the Division’s Superfund team. He also elevated the Environmental Crimes Unit to the Environmental Crimes Section. During his tenure, the number of civil and criminal environmental enforcement prosecutions more than doubled. During Habicht’s tenure, the Division also prosecuted several landmark wildlife cases and continued its work to resolve a number of water rights disputes. Habicht argued Amoco Production Co. v. Gambell before the Supreme Court, a case involving Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act claims related to drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. As AAG, Habicht formed and chaired the National Environmental Enforcement Council, which was established to promote coordination of federal and state environmental enforcement actions. During Habicht’s tenure, the Division was involved in the Congressional reauthorization of Superfund and the Clean Water Act. During a dispute between EPA and DOE, Habicht helped to further refine the concept of the “unitary executive” for the Reagan administration.
Career: From 1978-1981, Habicht was an associate in the Washington D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis. In 1981, he became a Special Assistant to Attorney General William French Smith, and in 1982 was named Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Land and Natural Resources Division under AAG Carol Dinkins.
In 1987, Habicht returned to private practice, serving as the Vice President of William Ruckelshaus Associates and as counsel to Perkins Coie. He also provided policy advice on environmental and conservation issues to then-Vice President Bush during the 1988 presidential campaign. From May 1988-1993, Habicht served as Deputy Administrator of EPA. From 1993-1998, Habicht was Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Environment for Safety-Kleen Corp. He later became CEO of the Global Environment and Technology Foundation, the co-founder and principal of Capital E, LLC, and a managing partner of SAIL Venture Partners, LLC.
Personal: Habicht married Wendy Louise Wilson in June 1980. They have two children.
This material is based on the review of a variety of historical sources, and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you have any corrections or additional information about this individual or about the history of the Division, please contact ENRD.