Michael McCloskey, cofounded EARTHWORKS (then Mineral Policy Center) with Stewart Udall and Phil Hocker. He also was EARTHWORKS’ board chair from 1997 to 2001, and Sierra Club executive director from 1969-1987. He writes:
I had known Stewart Udall from the time when he was Secretary of the Interior under President Kennedy. During Kennedy’s time, he embodied a surge of optimism that Kennedy’s presidency would usher in a new wave of progress on conservation, particularly in protecting nature.
While things did not always work out that way, especially after Kennedy’s demise, nonetheless Udall carried the mantle of that period of hope into his future life.
We were delighted when he agreed to give his stamp of approval when the Mineral Policy Center was formed and become its chairman. When he had been Interior Secretary, he emphasized the importance of reforming the mining act of 1872 and gave that hope historical stature.
I heartily agreed and served with him from the outset and was delighted to renew my acquaintance with him. In his mind, I was always an environmental lobbyist, who was up-to-date on events on the hill. His attitude reminded me of the times I was in his office when he was Interior Secretary and what an exciting time it was.
He had a long and productive life and did important work, both writing books and working as a lawyer in the southwest trying to reform and improve things. But in my mind, I will always think of him as the idealistic Secretary of the Interior who was devoted to reforming the mining laws. We shall miss him.