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In Memoriam: Robert R. Nordhaus

Submitted by EFC Team on December 28th, 2016

The Energy Future Coalition lost one of the most valued members of its Steering Committee on December 24, 2016, when Robert R. Nordhaus passed away.

Bob was the very definition of “a gentleman and a scholar.” We knew him best for his participation with the Energy Future Coalition, but that was a small coda to an extremely distinguished career. In briefest summary, he helped craft much of the groundbreaking federal energy legislation passed after the 1973 oil embargo, first with the House Legislative Counsel and then as counsel to the House Commerce Committee.

In 1977, he was a member of the Energy Policy and Planning Office in the Carter White House, and then Assistant Administrator of the Federal Energy Administration. He served for three years as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s first General Counsel and then joined the law firm Van Ness Feldman in 1981. In 1993, he was appointed General Counsel of the Department of Energy by President Clinton, returning to his firm in 1997 for the balance of his career. A 1960 graduate of Stanford, he received his law degree from Yale.

Bob was perhaps most proud of his children’s accomplishments – Hannah as the author of the well-received “The Beekeeper’s Lament” and “American Ghost” and Ted as co-founder of the influential Breakthrough Institute. Bob’s brother Bill, of course, is a well-known economics professor at Yale who has written extensively on the economics of climate change.

We remember with fondness and sadness Bob’s penetrating legal insight, wry wit, and self-effacing modesty. He will be deeply missed.

Photo Credit:  Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times

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