Deaths elsewhere

March 21, 2010

STEWART UDALL, 90

Former interior secretary

Stewart Udall, who sowed the seeds of the modern environmental movement as secretary of the interior during the 1960s and later became a crusader for radiation-exposure victims, died Saturday. He was 90.

A statement from Udall's family, released through the office of his son, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said he died of natural causes at his home in Santa Fe.

Udall headed the Interior Department for eight years under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Under Stewart Udall's leadership from 1961 through 1968, the Interior Department aggressively promoted an expansion of public lands and helped win enactment of major environmental laws, including ones to protect endangered species.

Udall helped write several of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation, including the Wilderness Act of 1964, which protects millions of acres from logging, mining and other development.

After leaving government service, Udall helped bring a lawsuit against the government on behalf of the families of Navajo men who suffered lung cancer in mining uranium for the government. Another lawsuit sought compensation for people who lived downwind from aboveground nuclear tests in Nevada during the 1950s and early 1960s. The lawsuits failed in court, and Udall said the experience left him angry and discouraged.

Udall married Ermalee Webb of Mesa, Ariz., on Aug. 1, 1947. She died in 2001. He is survived by six children - Tom Udall, Scott Udall, Lynn Udall, Lori Udall, Denis Udall and Jay Udall - and eight grandchildren.

- Associated Press

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