Today on Earth Day, U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1), member of the House Natural Resources Committee, introduced a bill to name the U.S. Department of the Interior building after the late Stewart L. Udall. Rep. Heinrich released the following statement honoring the former Interior Secretary's legacy:
"It was with great sadness that just over a month ago, I learned of former U.S. Interior Secretary Stewart Udall's passing. And today, on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, it is fitting that we honor his legacy by beginning the process to name the U.S. Department of the Interior building after him.
"There is no question that Secretary Udall's immeasurable impact on our nation will continue to be felt by Americans through the magnificent National Parks and public lands that he dedicated his life to preserving.
"His legacy includes the Wilderness Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the creation of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the expansion of our National Park system. Thanks to his work, those treasured public lands now belong to every American and will contribute to the spirit of our nation for generations to come.
"Stewart Udall's dedication to public service and his leadership were a true inspiration to me personally and I was honored to know him.
"Our nation is deeply indebted to him and today, on Earth Day, it is appropriate that we name this federal building the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building."
Seven colleagues from the New Mexico and Arizona House delegations cosponsored the bill including: Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-3), Rep. Harry Teague (NM-2), Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-7), Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1), Rep. Harry Mitchell (AZ-5), and Rep. Ed Pastor (AZ-4). Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate today by U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).