Stewart Udall's Just Cause

Stewart Udall wins a round in his battle for radiation victims

Crew cut, athletic and a war hero, Stewart Udall was a perfect fit with John F. Kennedy's New Frontier. As Secretary of the Interior, he won acclaim for expanding national parks and garnered headlines for leading officials on 50- mile hikes. As a lawyer-lobbyist, Udall stayed in Washington until 1979, when a new cause called him home.

On a stopover in St. George, Utah, the previous year, Udall had heard wrenching tales of death and debilitating illness from cancer afflicting Southwesterners who had lived downwind from the Nevada nuclear-test site from the 1950s to the early '60s. Victims were convinced their...

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