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SANTA FE — Stewart Udall, an elder in a famed political family who led the Interior Department as it promoted an expansion of public lands and helped win passage of major environmental laws, has died at the age of 90.
During his 1961-1968 tenure as interior secretary, Udall sowed the seeds of the modern environmental movement. He later became a crusader for victims of radiation exposure from the government’s Cold War nuclear programs.
President Obama praised Udall’s service.
“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,” he said.
Udall died of natural causes Saturday at his home in Santa Fe, surrounded by his children and their families, according to statement released through the office of his son, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
Udall, brother of the late 15-term congressman Morris Udall, served six years in Congress as a Democrat from Arizona, and then headed the Interior Department from 1961 through 1968 under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. His son Tom and nephew Mark also became congressmen, then both were elected to the Senate in 2008.
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