Obituary: Blair S. McMillin / Lawyer who battled pollution controls on the steel industry

May 7, 1935 - Jan. 27, 2014

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Blair S. McMillin, a lawyer who represented the steel industry in battles against pollution control, died Monday of heart failure at age 78.

Mr. McMillin of Mt. Lebanon spent his career at Reed Smith and was head of its environmental group for 15 years.

He argued for the interests of steel firms against government attempts to clean up the environment, including representing U.S. Steel in the 1970s in a long-running battle with the Environmental Protection Agency, the state and county over pollution at the Clairton coke works.

Born in Monongahela in 1935, Mr. McMillin was the son of a football coach. He went to Princeton on a football scholarship, his family said, but broke his foot and couldn't play.

After Princeton, he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Law School and went to work at Reed Smith, rising to several leadership positions.

He was listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" in natural resources and environmental law.

In his spare time, he served as the president of the Harvard Yale Princeton Club in the 1990s, held leadership roles at Third Presbyterian Church in Shadyside, enjoyed golf and supported Special Olympics golf tournaments that his son, James, who has Down syndrome, competed in.

He was also a member of groups studying the poetry and novels of writer Thomas Hardy and traveled to England several times for conferences at the sites of Hardy's books.

"He was always a lover of poetry," said his wife, Judith. "His mother read it to him when he was a child. The two of them had this great interest in poetry."

Besides his wife and son, Mr. McMillin is survived by a daughter, Barbara of California, and a son, Douglas of Colorado.

A memorial service will be held Friday at Third Presbyterian Church.


Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-231-0132.


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