Saturday, August 29, 2015 • 10:52

Building near White House honors Valley Center rancher

Thomas Kimball at his 12-acre wildlife ranch in Valley Center. In his later years Kimball, although a national figure of considerable stature, served on the Valley Center Planning Group.
March 06, 2013
Washington, D.C., has many monuments and buildings named after influential and prominent Americans.

There's the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building and the Rayburn House Office Building (after House Speaker Sam Rayburn). And then there's the building that bears the name of a longtime Valley Center resident and rancher.

Six blocks from the White House stands the Thomas L. Kimball Building, dedicated in 1989 as headquarters of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the largest conservation organization in America. The naming ceremony, 14 years ago this month, honored the longtime naturalist who lived on a 12-acre hilltop ranch on Chaparral Terrace.

Kimball served as chief executive of the NWF for more than two decades, then devoted another 18 years of service as honorary chief. During his tenure, he testified before dozens of Congressional committees and was instrumental in the development and passage of many of the nation's landmark conservation and environmental laws.

Among the far-reaching policies with which he was involved were the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wilderness Act, Alaska Lands Act, Clean Air Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and the Water Projects Recreation Act. Many of these pieces of legislation led to establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Superfund to clean up toxic wastes.

Kimball died in 1999 at age 81. Survivors include his wife and a daughter, Pamela, who lives nearby.

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