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Biography of Lee M. Thomas

Lee Thomas

Outgoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus today praised President Reagan's choice of his successor, Lee M. Thomas.

Thomas, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response since June 7, 1983, was named by the President today to succeed Ruckelshaus, whose resignation becomes effective Jan. 5.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the President's choice," Ruckelshaus said. "Lee Thomas is one of the finest and most able public servants whom I have had the opportunity to work with and know."

"The Superfund and hazardous waste program he directs is one of the most difficult, challenging assignments in the environmental field and he has fashioned it into a viable, fast-paced program that is producing results.

"It has been gratifying and a source of great satisfaction to have worked with Lee in seeing this program developed and put in motion," Ruckelshaus said. "Lee shares many of the same goals that I do, and I know that the agency will continue to progress and prosper under his capable stewardship," he added.

Thomas, 40, first joined the agency on Feb. 24, 1983, when the President selected him to serve as Acting Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response. On March 25 of that year he was designated as Acting Deputy Administrator until a permanent Deputy could be confirmed.

Prior to joining EPA, Thomas served as the Executive Deputy Director and the Associate Director for State and Local Programs and Support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Thomas' career also includes serving as Director of the Division of Public Safety Programs for the Governor of South Carolina. The division included units for criminal justice, highway safety, comprehensive emergency management, and public safety grants. He has also been an independent consultant in criminal justice planning and management.

Thomas served two consecutive terms as chairman of the National Criminal Justice Association, and was a councilman on the Ridgeway, S.C., town council.

Thomas earned his Masters in Education from the University of South Carolina, where he did postgraduate work in psychology. He received his bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.

Thomas resides in Woodbridge, Va., with his wife, Dixie, and their sons, Jordan and Braden.

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