Ranny Reiker and Rep. John Dingell
Ranny Reiker and John Dingell Ranny Reiker and Rep. Jon Dingell © Jason Whalen

Newsroom | The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy Mourns the Death of Conservation Icon, Rep. John Dingell

The “Lion of Congress” was 92.

Arlington, VA

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the longest serving member of in the history of the United States Congress, passed away yesterday. Dingell, known by many as the “Lion of Congress,” was 92.

"I am profoundly grateful for Rep. John Dingell’s distinguished service to our country and his dedication to protecting our lands and waters,” said Mark R. Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Like so many of our fellow Americans whose lives he touched, my colleagues, The Nature Conservancy family and I wish to offer our condolences to his family and recognize the unique and remarkable public service his life represented.”

Dingell was the champion of some of the nation’s most significant environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Air Act. He also provided leadership for many of our most beloved land and water conservation projects, providing not only his home state of Michigan, but the entire country economic, recreational and environmental benefits for years to come.

“Congressman Dingell was a true and tireless advocate for the causes he believed in, including conserving nature for the good of us all, and he did it with his trademark good humor and spirit of partnership,” added Tercek. “For almost six decades he worked across the aisle to find solutions to make all our lives better. It is up to all of us to honor him and continue the work he led throughout his life. We can do so by finding ways to bridge the partisan divide, and be steadfast in our pursuit of those issues he held dear. He would have expected nothing less of himself and nothing less of us.”

In his home state of Michigan, Dingell was a trustee of The Nature Conservancy from 2007 to 2012, serving as a valuable partner and leader in many Conservancy efforts.

“Like hundreds, maybe thousands of other individuals, John Dingell was not just a leader, he was a personal friend and mentor,” said Helen Taylor, state director of Michigan for TNC. “He would challenge and push you, and best of all, make you laugh. He was tough, principled and he genuinely cared about all of us. I will miss him greatly.”

Dingell helped create and expand the first-ever International Wildlife Refuge in North America at the Detroit River on the U.S.-Canadian border. In 2006, the Conservancy enrolled its Erie Marsh Preserve into the Refuge, thereby doubling the size of the area managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Since 2001, the refuge has grown from 394 acres to more than 5,000 acres today.

In addition to shepherding some of the nation’s premier environmental legislation, Dingell displayed a passion for equal rights. He helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.