Daniel A. Dreyfus, a public servant who contributed to major environmental legislative policy and became a director of the Gas Research Institute, has died. The ASCE fellow was 89.
He managed key responsibilities for the Department of Energy, including overseeing the fueling and safety of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines and surface vessels as well as the planning and initial exploration for the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.
Dreyfus, Ph.D., F.ASCE, was a life member of ASCE. In 1957, he was directly commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He also served as a company commander in the Eskimo Scout Battalions of the Alaska National Guard, where he delighted in toughening up special forces trainees. He was awarded the 7th Infantry Division’s Order of the Bayonet and a Combat Infantryman's Badge.
In between his military duties in Korea and Alaska, Dreyfus married the love of his life, Josephine, and they had five children. With his family, he eventually settled in McLean, Virginia, near Washington, where he pursued a career in public service.
In 1968 Dreyfus was appointed as a professional staff member to the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, beginning his time in the United States Senate. In 1979, he was appointed as the staff director for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Before retiring from the Senate in 1981, he had worked on the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, which established the Department of Energy. Next came his role at the Gas Research Institute as the Director of Policy Analysis, in a position of Deputy to the vice president of the company, and his continued presence on Capitol Hill in a slightly different capacity.
Dreyfus returned to public service in 1993 in a presidential appointment as the director for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, DOE. After final retirement from federal service, and joining his love of history with his professional life, he joined the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as associate director for operations.
In his spare time, Dreyfus explored his favorite hobbies: gardening, talking to nature, gunsmithing for black powder shooting, and woodworking. He was a member of the Cosmos Club, the Izaak Walton League, the Knights of Columbus, the American Philatelic Association, and Mensa.