The Clean Water Blog

Peter Lockwood

A Champion for Clean Water: Peter Lockwood

If you want to make change, you have to get involved. It's an ethos we live by at Clean Water Action and it was embodied by one of our founding board members, Peter Lockwood.

Peter passed away in fall 2017, after a long illness.  Clean Water Action lost a member of our family and the public lost a steadfast defender of public health and our communities.

Peter was a tax lawyer and a champion for clean water. He was Justice Thurgood Marshall's first law clerk. He was part of the civil rights movement throughout the 60s, and carried on a commitment to that fight his entire life. He helped found Clean Water Action in 1972 and was a guiding light for the organization for more than 40 years. He will be missed, sorely.

Peter was compassionate, thoughtful, and witty. He was a legend at Clean Water Action board meetings. He could move from the deep details of a financial report to an impassioned defense of the right of Americans to push back against abuses of power that helped perpetuate pollution and harm to the public ─ and Clean Water's duty to join the fight ─ in the blink of an eye. He understood, deeply, our mission and knew what was at stake. Peter knew how to ask the right questions to help focus the attention of our work to protect clean water ─both for the big picture, but also the wonky and thorny legislative and regulatory details that we have to wade through.

Clean Water Action's board meets in person two times a year. After the first day of each meeting staff and board get together for a dinner, a chance to get to know each other a bit better, share stories, and talk about something other than the business of protecting clean water. Staff and fellow board members would often jockey for the chance to sit next to Peter at these dinners. We knew we'd be regaled with his stories of his life in the nation's capital, his experience fighting for civil rights in the 60's, the places he loved to travel, and about his appreciation of good food and good wine. Each of us came away that much the richer for our time with Peter.

Peter's connection to Clean Water Action and commitment to the organization and the campaigns we worked on seemed bottomless. Even as other board members and staff came and went, Peter stayed on, determined help Clean Water Action achieve success, weather storms, and make progress on the most pressing issues of the past 45 years. Peter was proud of Clean Water Action's work and we are humbled by his support over the years. We are eager to carry his passion and commitment forward as we work to defend the landmark and commonsense protections that Peter helped us win.

Our thoughts are with Peter's friends and family.