Cathy Carlson is EARTHWORKS’ current Policy Advisor and a longtime advocate for mining reform, clean water and healthy communities.
Stewart Udall inspired a generation of activists like myself to pursue the balanced management of our natural resources. As Congress and the Administration grappled with the questions of how to manage our public lands in the country, Stewart Udall wrote in 1969:
…after eight years in this office, I have come to the conclusion that the most important piece of unfinished business on the nation’s resource agenda is the complete replacement of the Mining Law of 1872.”
His book about uranium mining in the West continues to illustrate how we need to balance the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear power with the impacts of communities near the uranium mines. He was adamant about the importance of looking at the consequences of our Nation’s energy policy. EARTHWORKS is proud to recognize Stewart Udall as one of the founding members of our organization (then called Mineral Policy Center). We continue the work he started in the 1960s.
Sitting in a Natural Resources Policy at the University of California in the late 1970s, we learned about the legacy that Stewart Udall left in the eight years that he served as Secretary of the Interior. He created much of the policy that was being debated at the time in college classrooms, and his leadership continues to be discussed and admired in classrooms around the country.
I have had the good fortune of meeting several of the Udall clan, including the outlaws that are such a strong and integral part of the family. I mourn their loss of a great leader and the family patriarch.
But today, I also feel blessed to live in the West and see the landscapes that were protected by Stewart Udall’s vision. He leaves a legacy for all Americans, and a path for all of us to follow in defense of our natural resources.