Lawyer helped shape en­vi­ron­men­tal rules, probed Ja­panese in­tern­ment camps in U.S.

The Washington Post Sunday - - OBITUARIES - BY BART BARNES new­so­bits@wash­

An­gus C. Mac­beth, an en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and mem­ber of an unofficial cadre of lawyers who helped shape en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions in the years fol­low­ing the 1970 cre­ation of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, died Jan. 22 at his home in Wash­ing­ton. He was 74.

The cause was car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, said a son, Ham­p­den Mac­beth.

Mr. Mac­beth was among the ear­li­est mem­bers of the Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil, or­ga­nized in 1970 by a group of seven class­mates at Yale Law School. It is now an or­ga­ni­za­tion of about 500 lawyers, sci­en­tists, and pol­icy ex­perts that lit­i­gates and lob­bies for en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues at the fed­eral, state and lo­cal level.

As an NRDC lawyer in the 1970s, Mr. Mac­beth helped bring about Con­sol­i­dated Edi­son elec­tric com­pany’s aban­don­ment of plans to build a power plant at Storm King Moun­tain on the Hud­son River. On be­half the Hud­son River Fish­er­men’s Association, he ar­gued in lit­i­ga­tion that the plant would be in­ju­ri­ous to fish in the river.

Dur­ing the Jimmy Carter ad­min­is­tra­tion, Mr. Mac­beth was chief of en­vi­ron­men­tal en­force­ment at the Jus­tice De­part­ment. From 1981 to 1983, he was spe­cial coun­sel to the Com­mis­sion on Wartime Re­lo­ca­tion and In­tern­ment of Civil­ians, which in­ves­ti­gated the World War II roundup of eth­nic Ja­panese in the United States and their con­fine­ment in camps.

He wrote a re­port on the com­mis­sion’s work, “Per­sonal Jus­tice De­nied,” which con­cluded, “Not a sin­gle doc­u­mented act of es­pi­onage, sab­o­tage or fifth col­umn ac­tiv­ity was com­mit­ted by an Amer­i­can ci­ti­zen of Ja­panese an­ces­try or by a res­i­dent Ja­panese alien on the West Coast.”

The re­port served as a ba­sis for the 1988 leg­is­la­tion that gave Ja­panese in­tern­ment camp survivors an apol­ogy, $20,000 in­di­vid­ual repa­ra­tions and an ed­u­ca­tion fund.

An­gus Chris­tian Mac­beth was born May 9, 1942, in Los An­ge­les, where his fa­ther was a lawyer.

Mr. Mac­beth grew to around 6-feet-2, and his for­mal man­ner gave off an air of con­fi­dent author­ity. He also spoke with a slightly Bri­tish ac­cent, likely ac­quired dur­ing his high school years, when he at­tended an Eng­lish board­ing school.

He grad­u­ated in 1964 from Yale Univer­sity, at­tended the Univer­sity of Ox­ford in Eng­land, and grad­u­ated in 1969 from Yale Law School.

From 1986 to 2006, Mr. Mac­beth was a part­ner in the Wash­ing­ton of­fice of Si­d­ley Austin, where he headed its en­vi­ron­men­tal group. He was a for­mer pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Col­lege of En­vi­ron­men­tal lawyers.

Survivors in­clude his wife of 42 years, JoAnn En­gelke Mac­beth of Wash­ing­ton; and two sons, Ham­p­den T. Mac­beth of Wash­ing­ton and Cullen Oakes Mac­beth of Las Ve­gas.


An­gus Mac­beth was an early mem­ber of the Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil.

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