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Public Statements

Sportsmen's Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. President, before my colleague, Senator Durbin, leaves the floor, let me just say that this whole issue, as he has pointed out, of campaign finance is a pressing issue. It is one that is before us now. We are seeing it play out in the campaign. I am sure that at the end of this campaign, citizens across this country are going to demand reform, they are going to demand change. The Senator has outlined several pieces of legislation that I believe really do that. This constitutional amendment is one. The DISCLOSE Act, a piece of legislation the Senator has offered and fought for, I think both in the House and the Senate, really brings transparency to the process. They bring disclosure to the process, and we need to do it. So I really appreciate the Senator's leadership and look forward to working with the Senator very closely on this issue as we get into the next Congress.

TRIBUTE TO RUSSELL TRAIN

I rise today to pay tribute to a gentleman by the name of Russell Train. On Monday of this week, our Nation lost a great friend of the environment. I was saddened to learn of the passing of Russell Train. Russ was a true pioneer in the history of environmental protection. He was a part of that great generation of bipartisan leaders, that remarkable group of men and women, Democrats and Republicans, who put the environment center stage, who championed conservation. My father, who knew and admired Russ, was also a part of that generation. They leave very big shoes to fill. Their legacy is monumental.

Russ Train's life parallels so much of the history of the environmental movement in this country because he was part of that history because he did so much to make it happen. In 1965, when he was 45, Russ left his position as U.S. Tax Court judge. He decided to devote himself full time to conservation and became president of the Conservation Foundation. His midlife career change may have been a loss for the Tax Court, but it was a huge gain for the environment.

Brilliant, tenacious, committed, he dedicated the rest of his life to the environment. Along with Rachel Carson, the celebrated author of ``Silent Spring,'' Russ helped raise environmental issues to the national level. He served as Under Secretary of Interior from in 1969 to 1970. He was the first Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality from 1970 to 1973. He was instrumental in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and headed it from 1973 to 1977. During those years, he oversaw landmark legislation: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Toxic Substance Control Act. All bore the imprint of Russell Train.

Perhaps his most lasting achievement was the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. He helped see that groundbreaking legislation through the Nixon White House and through Congress. For over 40 years now, NEPA has required Federal agencies to prepare environmental impact statements for any major projects. NEPA is justly regarded as the foundation for U.S. environmental protections.

But what began as a bipartisan triumph was later subject to partisan divide. While in the House in 2005, I served as the ranking member of a task force whose stated purpose was to review and improve NEPA. But there were those who wanted to destroy it--with 1 swift blow or by 1,000 cuts but destroy it all the same. Many of us fought very hard not to let that happen. As I said at that time, where critics of NEPA saw only delay, we saw deliberation. Where they saw postponed profits, we saw public input. NEPA was then and is now an antidote to the potential arrogance of government power. It listens to the community, it addresses opposition early on, and in the long run it minimizes conflict and protects the environment. It trusts the American people to take part in managing their public resources. And it remains one of Russell Train's greatest legacies.

Russ himself stated it best at the 40th anniversary of NEPA. He said:

NEPA is America's most-imitated environmental legislation around the globe. What we launched in 1970 has become a contribution to the planet not less than to our citizenry ..... NEPA's legacy is that what the people know has great value to a government that seeks their knowledge and takes it seriously.

After leaving the government, Russell led the U.S. branch of the World
Wildlife Fund for many years. He did so with his usual passion and commitment, always engaged, always pragmatic and reasonable but ever the visionary for a better world.

In 1991 President Bush awarded Russ the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Russell Train was a remarkable man. Jill and I have been honored to call him and his wonderful wife Aileen our friends. We extend our sincere condolences to Aileen and their children and hope they will take comfort in knowing the world is a better place for Russell's life and work.

NEW MEXICO'S CENTENNIAL

On January 16, 1912, President Taft signed the proclamation making New Mexico the 47th State. So it is with great pride that I join Senator Bingaman in submitting a resolution recognizing the centennial anniversary of our State.

For those of us who are blessed to call New Mexico home, we are imprinted by its remarkable history and its awesome beauty. We are part of the rich diversity of its people.

One hundred years ago, the population of New Mexico was 327,000 people. Now it is over 2 million. But the mix of Native American, Hispanic, and European tradition has long been a part of our State. New Mexico is a land of deep roots. We are enriched by this mosaic of culture. It has informed our history, our art, and our sense of who we are as a people.

Our State is rightly called the Land of Enchantment. It is also a land of courage. From the Civil War to Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, from the Navajo Code Talkers to Bataan and Corregidor, and from Korea and Vietnam to the brave men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, when our Nation has called, New Mexico has always stood ready to answer that call.

The story of New Mexico is a long and proud one. It goes back well over 10,000 years to the Clovis people. It goes back to Santa Fe, founded in 1610, the oldest capital city in the United States. In 1920, Route 66 connected New Mexico to California and to the Midwest. This and other interstate projects that followed brought jobs and more people to our State, and today we need a new commitment to investing in the infrastructure that is essential to renewed prosperity.

In the 1920s and 1930s, New Mexico was part of an oil boom that fueled the rest of the Nation, and today we are on the cutting edge of clean energy technology, helping to reduce our Nation's dependence on foreign oil. In the 1940s and 1950s Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs became legendary centers of scientific innovation and research. Today they continue to play a vital role in our Nation's security. Our State is also promoting STEM education--science, technology, engineering, and math--so that our graduates can get good jobs, so they can compete in a global economy.

How we address these issues will shape the next 100 years in our State, but I am sure of one thing: We have a blend of cultures and backgrounds like nowhere else. It has helped bring us where we are today. It will help take us where we need to go tomorrow. The vitality and creativity of our people is as strong as ever. Working together, we will continue to meet the challenges of our State and our Nation. In this year of our centennial, we look back to our unique history and we look forward to a bright future.

I thank the Senator from Kentucky, Mr. Paul, for allowing me to finish my statement. I appreciate very much his courtesy. With that, I yield the floor.

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