Peter A. A. Berle
|Member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee|
|President of the|
National Audubon Society
|Preceded by||Russell W. Peterson|
|Succeeded by||John Flicker|
|Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation|
|Preceded by||Ogden R. Reid|
|Succeeded by||Robert F. Flacke|
|Member of the New York State Assembly from the 64th District|
January 1, 1969 – December 31, 1974
Peter Adolf Augustus Berle III
December 8, 1937
New York City, New York
|Died||November 1, 2007 (aged 69)|
|Political party||Democrat / Liberal|
Lila Sloane Wilde
(m. 1960; his death 2007)
|Relations||Cortlandt Field Bishop (grandfather)|
|Parents||Adolf A. Berle|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
Harvard Law School
|Profession||Lawyer, politician, environmentalist|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch/service||United States Air Force|
Berle was born on December 8, 1937 in New York City to Adolf Augustus Berle, Jr. (1895–1971) and Dr. Beatrice (née Bishop) Berle (1902–1993). His father was an important member of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt's "Brain Trust" and served as Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to Brazil. His mother was a prominent physician and author. He had two sisters, Beatrice Van Cortlandt Berle and Alice Bishop Berle.
His maternal grandparents were Cortlandt Field Bishop (1870–1935) and Amy Bend (1870-1957). His great-grandfather was George Hoffman Bend (1838–1900), a member of the New York Stock Exchange who was prominent in New York Society. His paternal grandparents were Mary Augusta (née Wright) and Adolf Augustus Berle.
Berle graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. After his father's death in 1971, his mother married Dr. André Frédéric Cournand (1895–1988), a physician who was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1956.
After graduating from Harvard, Berle joined the United States Air Force where he trained as a parachutist and intelligence officer. After being honorably discharged with the rank of first lieutenant, he returned to Cambridge for law school. After graduating from law school, he joined the prestigious law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind and Garrison, where he was assigned to case litigating against Consolidated Edison. Con Ed planned on building a pump storage facility on a hillside overlooking the Hudson River but Berle and the firm won a precedent-setting victory that forced the company to fix any environmental damage.
Short after in 1971, he founded Berle, Butzel & Kass, one of the first environmental law firms in the country. His firm successfully litigated against Union Carbide for fouling underground water on Long Island.
New York State Assembly
In 1968, Berle was elected to the New York State Assembly serving three consecutive terms in the 178th, 179th and 180th New York State Legislatures from January 1, 1969 to December 31, 1974 on the Democrat / Liberal tickets. His district, known as a Silk-Stocking District, extended from 60th Street to 125th Street.
As a freshman legislator, he successfully sued then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller over budgetary process issues. He played an important role in expanding Adirondack State Park by more than 9,000 acres in the park, including 11 of the highest peaks in the Adirondacks. He eventually became the ranking member of the Committee on Environmental Conservation. During his time in office, he wrote the book "Does the Citizen Stand a Chance?" advocating for the rights of underprivileged constituents, published in 1974.
N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation
In May 1976, Berle was appointed by Gov. Hugh Carey to succeed Ogden R. Reid as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In this role, he helped initiate the cleanup of the Love Canal toxic waste dump at Niagara Falls. During his tenure, action was taken against the General Electric Company for discharge of PCBs into the Hudson River and his office was responsible for readying and running the venues at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
Berle, who was known as "fiercely independent," was forced to resign on December 12, 1978 after several disagreements with Gov. Carey. He was succeeded by Robert F. Flacke, who was previously the chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency.
National Audubon Society
From 1985 to 1995, he served as President of the National Audubon Society, succeeding Russell W. Peterson, the former Governor of Delaware. Concurrently, he was the president of the Stockbridge Land Trust, director of the Orion Society and a trustee and former chairman of the Century Foundation.
As president, he worked to prevent oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as arguing before the Supreme Court in support of responsible handling of water issues in the Midwest.
Joint Public Advisory Committee
In 1993, he was one of the five U.S. members appointed by President William J. Clinton to the Joint Public Advisory Committee, a constituent piece of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation under the North American Free Trade Agreement, serving until 2002.
In 1960, Berle married Lila Sloane Wilde in Lenox, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Helm George Wilde (1907–1998) and Marjorie Lila Field (1910–1997), herself a granddaughter of Emily Vanderbilt Sloane (1874–1970). Lila's maternal uncle was Frederick Vanderbilt Field (1905–2000). Peter and Lila were the parents of:
- Dolf A. Berle, the former president of Lucky Strike Entertainment and Dave & Busters.
- Mary A. Berle, principal of Muddy Brook Elementary School.
- Beatrice L. Berle, who runs Berle Farm an organic farm in Hoosick, New York
- Robert T. Berle, a real estate investor.
Berle died on November 1, 2007 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts of injuries sustained in August 2007 in Stockbridge when the roof of a barn collapsed as he was dismantling it. His funeral was held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Stockbridge.
- "Adolf A. Berles Have Son". The New York Times. 10 December 1937. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- "Paid Notice: Deaths BERLE, PETER A. A." The New York Times. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Funk, Charles Earle (1936). What's the name, please? A guide to the correct pronunciation of current prominent names. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. OCLC 1463642.
- Kennedy, Shawn G. (14 June 1993). "Beatrice Berle, 90, A Doctor, Teacher And Medical Writer". New York Times Times. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- "MRS. BERLE WINS $515,000 OF ESTATE; Bishop Accounting Bares the Settlement From $3,237,065 Holdings of Her Father WAS CUT OFF IN THE WILL Wife of Assistant Secretary of State Charged Parent Mismanaged Property". The New York Times. May 24, 1938. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- Berle, Beatrice van Cortlandt. "Beatrice van Cortlandt Berle '52 - History Department - Vassar College". history.vassar.edu. Vassar College. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (13 December 1953). "BEATRICE BERLE WED IN REYKJANIK; Daughter of Former Assistant Secretary of State Married to Lieut, Dean Meyerson". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (31 May 1949). "ALICE B. BERLE PLANS WEDDING FOR JUNE 18". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
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- "Ex libris: Amy Bend Bishop". Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
- "Cortlandt Bishop, Art Patron, Dead. Chief Owner of the American Anderson Galleries Here Stricken in Lenox". New York Times. March 31, 1935. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
Cortlandt Field Bishop, principal owner and former president of the American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, Inc. ...
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- Zimmerman, Joseph F. (March 27, 2008). The Government and Politics of New York State: Second Edition. SUNY Press. p. 326. ISBN 9780791474365. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Severo, Richard (30 April 1976). "Berle Named to Succeed Reid in Environment Post". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Khiss, Peter (22 November 1978). "New York State Lists 20 Old Dumps Filled With Perilous Wastes". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Society, Peter A. a Berle And Henry Diamond; Peter A. A. Berle, President Of The National Audubon; Conservation, Henry Diamond, Who Practices Environmental Law, Are Former Commissioners Of The State Department Of Environmental; Act, Co-chairmen Of The Bipartisan Committee For The Environmental Bond (1 November 1986). "A Proposition for New Yorkers". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Burrows, William E. (25 March 1979). "THE CANCER SAFETY CONTROVERSY". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Meislin, Richard J. (18 December 1978). "BERLE TO LOSE POST, STATE OFFICIALS SAY". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Meislin, Richard J. (23 December 1978). "Berle Is Forced To Resign Post; Flacke Gets Job". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Shabecoff, Philip (19 September 1985). "Conservationists and Others Battle a Reagan Nominee". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (14 November 1985). "Birds and Bees and Lean Marines". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Shabecoff, Philip (29 November 1985). "NEW LEADERS AND A NEW ERA FOR ENVIRONMENTALISTS". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Shabecoff, Philip (16 April 1985). "ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT IS FACING CHANGES". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- "Peter A.A. Berle, 69, of 2 Sky Farm Road died Thursday". The Berkshire Eagle. 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Schneider, Keith (16 September 1993). "Environment Groups Are Split on Support For Free-Trade Pact". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (31 May 1960). "Lila Wilde Wed To Peter Berle In Lenox, Mass.; Teacher Is Bride of Air Force Lieutenant, Son of Former Diplomat". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Times, Special To The New York (28 August 1932). "MISS FIELD BRIDE OP LIEUT. WILDE; Brilliant Church Ceremony in Lenox for Commodore. Vanderbilt's Descendant. BISHOP DAVIES OFFICIATES Bride Attended by Sister, Mrs. H. B. Jackson, and Six Bridesmaids Reception at High Lawn House". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- "Dolf Berle: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- "Dave & Buster's names Margo Manning COO". Nation's Restaurant News. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Gentile, Derek (April 17, 2014). "New Muddy Brook principal a district administrator, former teacher". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Canfield, Dave (December 18, 2010). "Berle Farm grows even greener with addition of solar power system". The Record. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Clemence, Sara (22 August 2005). "Lavish Lenox Estate". Forbes. Retrieved 14 May 2017.