The Udall Foundation’s Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution could be renamed for the late Sen. John McCain under legislation introduced Tuesday in the Senate.
McCain, the six-term Arizona Republican who died Aug. 25, helped create the institute and considered the foundation’s namesake, longtime Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., to be one of his Capitol Hill mentors.
The new name would be the John S. McCain III United States Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution.
“Sen. McCain was involved in the beginnings of the foundation and was also involved when the legislation was modified to create the institute,” said Marc Rosen, acting executive director and general counsel for the Udall Foundation. “He was very involved in that so, in recognition of his involvement and support, we think it’s a great fit.”
The Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, with offices in Tucson and Washington, D.C., was founded in 1992 as an independent executive agency to honor the legacy of former longtime Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., who was well known as an environmentalist. Congress added the name of Udall’s brother — former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall — to the foundation’s name in 2009.
The Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution was originally established by McCain in 1998 via a bill six years after the foundation itself was founded, to help cut costs and encourage governmental cooperation in environmental issues, making for a much more time-efficient process.
McCain considered the Udall family close friends and called Morris Udall a mentor.
McCain’s 2002 memoir “Worth the Fighting For” included a chapter titled “Mo” in which McCain wrote at length about how Udall took him under his wing when he was a junior member of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee in the 1980s.
“I loved Mo Udall. Absolutely loved him,” McCain wrote.
McCain also served in the Senate with Udall’s son, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., from 2009 to 2015.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a co-sponsor of the legislation to rename the institute for McCain, said that the institute has helped resolve environmental conflicts for almost 100 projects across Arizona in its 21-year run.
“I am proud to lead the effort appropriately renaming the institute in honor of Senator McCain and allow the foundation to continue carrying out his incredible legacy,” Sinema said in a written statement.
Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., also is a co-sponsor of the bill, a spokeswoman said.
The legislation also introduces some changes to the foundation’s enabling legislation, including officially recognizing both Tucson and Washington, D.C., as office locations.