Former US Interior Secretary Manuel Luján Jr. has died

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A former Republican congressman from New Mexico who as U.S. Interior Secretary drew fire from environmentalists for challenging the Endangered Species Act has died. Manuel Luján Jr. was 90.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who was a distant cousin, on Friday announced Luján’s death. He had a long history of heart trouble and underwent triple-bypass surgery after a 1986 heart attack.

Luján represented New Mexico’s 1st District from 1969 to 1989. He gained a reputation as an advocate for Native Americans, business and constituents in a majority-Democratic district.

As Luján’s final term wound down, President George H.W. Bush tapped him for Interior secretary. Luján remained in Bush’s administration until the president left office in January 1993.

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