Hickel: Columnist missed my legacy

Posted: Sunday, September 14, 2008

In the Sept. 7 Juneau Empire, columnist Gregg Erickson missed most of my accomplishments in two terms as governor. Here is a partial list.

• Demanded that Atlantic Richfield drill at Prudhoe Bay in 1967, leading to the discovery from which Alaska's economy and government services have benefited since.

• Led the settlement of the state and federal claims resulting from the Exxon Valdez disaster for $1.1 billion, avoiding the delays and expense of litigation. Those funds are being used to clean up, preserve and enhance Prince William Sound.

• Demanded and received nearly $4 billion of unpaid oil taxes and royalties from the producers.

• Established the individual fisheries quota and the Alaska Community Development Quota, winning participation by more than 50 villages in the Bering Sea fisheries.

• Founded the Northern Forum, creating a network of cooperation among over 30 Arctic regions.

As for the Hickel Highway, without a surface transportation route, the North Slope would have taken many more years to develop. As a historical footnote, it was built in the winter of 1968 - 69, not 1967 as Erickson indicated. It was my decision to build the road, but it was built by my successor, as I had been recruited by President Nixon in December 1968 as Interior secretary.

Walter J. Hickel

Former Alaska governor


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