Jim Lyon was EARTHWORKS (then Mineral Policy Center) Vice President for Policy in the early 1990's -- the closest we've come to comprehensive hardrock mining reform in 137 years and counting. He is currently the Vice President for Conservation Policy at the National Wildlife Federation. He writes:
I had the honor of working closely with Stewart in the early 1990s when I was with Mineral Policy Center, and 1872 Mining Law reform legislation was on the national stage. And what could be better than the opportunity of working with a conservation legend. Stewart took Mining Law reform personally. He would repeatedly say to us that he felt it was unfinished family business for he and his brother Mo. In 1993, he wrote:
"Thirty-three years ago, in The Quiet Crisis, I wrote -- America today stands poised on a pinnacle of wealth and power, yet we live in a land of vanishing beauty, of increasing ugliness, of shrinking open space, and an of an overall environment that is diminished daily by pollution and noise and blight -- As for hardrock mining, however, I could have written those same words this morning. ...There can be no justification for permitting the hardrock mining industry to continue exempting itself from environmental standards applicable to most other industries."
Phil Hocker cofounded EARTHWORKS (as Mineral Policy Center), along with Stewart Udall and Michael McCloskey. Phil served as Mineral Policy Center s first executive director from its founding in 1988 through 1997. He writes:
I mourn the loss of Stewart Lee Udall.
From 1954 to 1960, Stewart Udall served as Congressman from a mining-dominated region of Arizona. He knew first-hand the reckless damage the mining industry causes. He knew that the 1872 Mining Law still gives mining corporations vast power to overwhelm other values on public lands. He strove to fix it.
In January 1969, when he stepped down after eight years as Secretary of the Interior, Stewart wrote:
"...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."
When EARTHWORKS (then known as Mineral Policy Center) was formed in 1988, Stewart Udall volunteered to be Chairman of our Board of Directors. He lent his prestige and his knowledge to the campaign to reform the 1872 Mining Law. Stewart testified in person at an early Reform hearing in the Senate. He and I went door-to-door in the offices of Congress, meeting with Representatives and Senators to explain the need for 1872 Reform. He wrote letters and op-ed pieces to help spread the word.
Stephen D Esposito was Phil Hocker s successor, and served as EARTHWORKS second president and executive director from 1997 through 2008. He is now the President of RESOLVE. He writes:
Stewart had a unique capacity to match a global conversation vision with actions that made a difference to the people and the places that we all love.
EARTHWORKS had the good fortune to be guided by this vision and pragmatism from the outset. The Udall spirit and drive to find solutions to environmental challenges lives on in organizations like EARTHWORKS, the Udall Foundation and the foundation's support for the U.S. Institute of Environmental Conflict Resolution.
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.
Karin Sheldon joined EARTHWORKS Board of Directors in 1994, has been the chair of the board from 2001-2010, and is currently the Executive Director of Western Resource Advocates.
I had the honor of serving on the board of Earthworks (then called Mineral Policy Center) when Stewart Udall was Chair. I was enthralled by his stories of the battles to create new national parks and monuments, protect migrating salmon from massive dams, and preserve wilderness.
Secretary Udall promoted reform of the Mining Law throughout his career and long after retiring from public office. He was also committed to the appropriate control of unbridled oil and gas development, and the protection of our historic, archeological and cultural treasures.
Stewart Udall was the consummate Westerner, with a Westerner s deep connection to the landscapes, people and history of the region. He was handsome, courtly and charming with wry sense of humor and absolute zest for life.
Stewart Udall was a member of Congress and in charge of the sprawling Department of the Interior at a time when environmental protection was a bi-partisan issue. He and an array of Democratic and Republican colleagues recognized that the wealth of natural resources of America belong to all, a shared inheritance of value and beauty requiring stewardship and conservation.
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.
Yesterday, the U.S. EPA announced that they will spend more than $1.9 million to study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water quality and public health. EPA did a similar study in 2004 which concluded not only that fracking constitutes no risk to drinking water, but that no further study of the issue should be conducted.
So why is EPA conducting this new study anyway? Let me count the ways (after the jump):
Former Secretary of the Interior, former US Congressman and EARTHWORKS cofounder Stewart Udall died today at his home in New Mexico at age 90. During his long career as a conservationist, Udall co-authored the Wilderness Act of 1964, which protected millions of acres from development, stewarded the creation of more than 60 national parks, and sued the federal government on behalf of Navajo uranium miners and people suffering health impacts from above aboveground nuclear tests.
In 1988, Stewart Udall joined with Phil Hocker and Mike McCloskey to form the Mineral Policy Center, later EARTHWORKS, where he served on our board of directors until 1997. We will always remember Stewart and do our best to carry on his vision of environmental justice, clean air, clean water, and protection for our treasured natural resources.