RIP Stewart Udall - thanks for the Wilderness Act

Stewart Udall, the former interior secretary and last surviving member of President John F. Kennedy’s original Cabinet, died Saturday at his home in Santa Fe, N.M. He was 90.

Udall, who once said "Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man" was an ardent conservationist and was instrumental in passing landmark environmental bills, including the Wilderness Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, when he served as the Secretary of Interior from 1961 to 1969 under Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

In a statement, President Barack Obama said, “For the better part of three decades, Stewart Udall served this nation honorably. Whether in the skies above Italy in World War II, in Congress or as secretary of the interior, Stewart Udall left an indelible mark on this nation and inspired countless Americans who will continue his fight for clean air, clean water and to maintain our many natural treasures. Michelle and I extend our condolences to the entire Udall family, who continue his legacy of public service to this day.”

His political legacy and his commitment to environmental stewardship will continue to be seen not only in his policies, but also his progeny.  Both his son, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and his nephew, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), continue to build on their father's and uncle's legacy.

Rest in peace, Secretary U. Our lives are all immeasurably better because of your farsightedness.