RIP: Stewart Udall

David Cassuto

Stewart Udall has died.  Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Kennedy & Johnson, congressman from Arizona, and architect of many the nation’s most powerful environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, Wilderness Act, and others, Udall was a visionary and a politician — a combination rarely seen then or since. 

Udall’s 1963 book, The Quiet Crisis, helped launch and continues to inspire the environmental movement.  In his later years, he sued the government on behalf of those exposed to radiation from nuclear testing and uranium mining.  Udall’s efforts led to the passage of the Radiation Exposure Safety Act.  Many of his family, including his son Tom and brother Mo, serve or have served the nation in Congress. 

Read a full obit of this extraordinary man here.

One Response

  1. “Legislative achievements from Secretary Udall’s cabinet career include The Wilderness Act of 1964, The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the expansion of the National Park System and the creation of The Land and Water Conservation Fund.” ….from his family’s statement, available here It links to an interview/essay he produced earlier this year.

    He was one of the great ones…I’m truly saddened, but thankful that America benefited so richly from his immense vision and sense of justice. And yet, I have to wonder–where is that vision today (as you say, rarely seen then or since)? The very definition of wilderness is under attack right now from legislation proposed by Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT. S 1470 allows motorized sheep herding in to-be-designated wilderness, setting a damaging precedent for the entire Nat’l Wilderness Preservation System, along with the scrapping, entirely and without citizen input, of several WSAs, among other bad deals like mandated logging/treatment in roadless areas; see

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