Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cecil Andrus, conservationist, Carter interior secretary and longest-serving Idaho governor, dies

Photo by Katherine Jones, Idaho Statesman
Cecil Andrus, who took on mining interests as the longest-serving governor of Idaho and Jimmy Carter's interior secretary, died of lung-cancer complications at his Boise home Thursday, one day short of his 86th birthday.

Andrus "may have been the first governor or either party to win on an environmental issue," opposition to a molybdenum mine in the White Cloud Mountains, writes William Yardley of The New York Times. As interior secretary, "He helped reduce the impact of mining in Appalachia," helping Carter pass and then implement the Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act of 1977.

Perhaps his greatest national legacy was getting Congress to protect 103 million acres of Alaska, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is still a target for energy companies. Carter said Friday, "Together we made conservation history."

Andrus returned to Idaho and served another eight years as governor. "He returned to the preservation fray in recent years to help Rep. Mike Simpson protect his beloved Boulder-White Clouds as wilderness in 2015, and he fought with the federal government to get nuclear waste out of Idaho his entire career," Rocky Barker writes for the Idaho Statesman. "Andrus will lie in state in the Idaho Capitol rotunda from noon Wednesday until noon Thursday. A private funeral is planned for Wednesday; a public memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Thursday in the Jordan Ballroom of the Boise State University Student Union."

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