In Memoriam: Bob Hattoy
Photo by Bob Pehlam
On March 4, the environmental movement lost one of its champions, Bob Hattoy. He was 56.
Hattoy served as the Sierra Club's Southern California/Nevada Regional Director from 1981-1992, and was pivotal in gaining protections for the California desert and preventing offshore drilling along the California coast. "I think his greatest environmental legacy is the California coastline," Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope told the San Francisco Chronicle. When newly-elected President Ronald Reagan proposed opening the coastline to oil drilling, Hattoy organized a coalition of groups and individuals of all political stripes to oppose the plan. Pope calls Hattoy "the human force that pulled everyone together."
At the time of his death in Sacramento, Hattoy was president of the California Fish and Game Commission. His political career focused on the environment, but he was also a leading AIDS activist who gained national prominence when he addressed the 1992 Democratic National Convention, the first openly gay person with AIDS to stand before a national political convention. He was Bill Clinton's environmental advisor during his first presidential campaign, and served as the White House liaison to the Department of the Interior. "We have lost a pioneer, a leader and a friend," former President Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a joint statement released on March 6.