Nixon and Alaska
Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Richard Nixon. Remembering that on a blog about Alaska is worthwhile when you consider the role the 37th president played in so many pivotal events in our state’s history. As vice president in 1959, he was seated to Eisenhower’s right when the president signed the proclamation admitting Alaska to the union. As president himself a decade later, Nixon nominated Walter Hickel his Interior Secretary (see photo at right), then fired him a year later for Wally’s outspoken stance on student protests of the Vietnam War. Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the authorization for construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, which Nixon also signed, created the EPA (every Alaska developer’s least favorite bugaboo) and mandated environmental reviews for every development project on federal lands. The legacy of all these events is readily apparent in Alaska today.