Executive Director @ Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Mr. Jeff Ruch is the co-founder and has been the Executive Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) – a unique organization which defends conscientious government employees and helps them better protect our environment – since 1997. Previously, Jeff was the Policy Director and staff attorney at the Government Accountability Project representing whistleblowers. Prior to that, he worked in California government, mostly in the State Legislature as counsel to various committees where he drafted literally hundreds of laws on topics ranging from energy conservation to the rights of employed inventors. Jeff has also served stints as a deputy district attorney, an appellate court clerk and is a graduate of the California Correctional Officers Academy.
PEER has been around for more than two decades. During that time, it has –
Shut the pathway for lead poisoning for 1.4 million children under age 7 living in 5 million older residential units with lead paint. A PEER lawsuit forced long-overdue rules requiring that all repairs and renovations on these older houses be conducted in a lead-safe manner.
Strengthened protections for federal whistleblowers through litigation, such as restoring U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers and negotiating the biggest federal whistleblower settlement in history. These victories not only created groundbreaking case law but also forced a measure of that most elusive element – accountability.
Created safeguards for government scientists and the integrity of their research. This work includes not only new legal protections for scientists but validating their technical work and exposing official acts of scientific fraud and censorship.
Won important government reforms, such as preventing losses of billions by insulating federal land appraisals from political influence and exposing how the Army Corps of Engineers cooks its books on cost-benefit analyses to falsely justify multi-billion dollar projects. That latter case caused the removal of two generals and a colonel, blocked Congressional authorization of any new navigation projects for six years and framed an issue known in short as “Corps Reform.”
Shielded public lands from abuse by uprooting all genetically modified crops and banning pollinator-killing insecticides from wildlife refuges, combating illegal destruction of wetlands and halting off-road vehicles from destroying national forests, parks, and fragile desert lands.
Defended wildlife by winning steps to prevent ship-strikes on the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale, ending shoot-on-sight orders for double-crested cormorants and reducing harassment of manatees by “swim-with” tourists. PEER is a leader is fighting against the militarization of wildlife management.
Forced adoption of safeguards for human exposure testing of pesticides and other toxins. This followed our exposé of EPA funding the testing insecticides on toddlers in an infamous experiment it was forced to cancel.
This work has been accomplished by PEER assisting and working on behalf of environmental employees in cubicles, field stations and laboratories across the country.