"At Democratic Convention
Miller Administration Obstructed Settlement of Land Claims Egan"
Southeast Alaska Empire, September 28, 1970, p.1
Anchorage (AP) William Egan, Democratic candidate for governor, charged Saturday night the "irresponsible and negative attitude" of Gov. Keith Millers administration has been a major blockade to settlement of the native land claims.
Addressing a State Democratic Convention banquet in Anchorage, Egan declared that Millers administration refused "for 20 months to remove its obstruction to settlement of the native land claimsthe most vital legislation to confront Alaska since statehood."
"Alaska needs leadership now," Egan said, "leadership that would not delay until the zero hour to reveal its position to the Congress, to announce at the zero hour that it has an open mind on the terms of the native claims legislation."
Egan said if he is elected governor in November, he will go to Washington, D.C., to work with congressmen for an "acceptable, equitable, and just" settlement.
Egan, former two-time governor who seeks to return to the office he lost to former Gov. Walter Hickel in 1966, unleashed wide-ranging criticism of the Miller administration and proposed a full-scale Department of Environment to assist in planning for balanced development of Alaskas natural resources.
In a speech interrupted by partisan cheers, Egan said, "we have never before had the confusion and distress that prevails in our state today. Constitutional government, based on a responsible executive, has been abrogated to the authority of a seemingly endless array of "task forces" and commissions. At a time when Alaska must have strong leadership, the administration flounders."
Egan also said Alaskans "are rightfully concerned that our state government is not prudently managing the hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus funds in our state treasury."
"They have every reason to be concerned, for they have witnessed the fiscal irresponsibility of the past four years. Administration spokesmen openly boast that in four short years they have increased annual state expenditures to four times that of the preceding Democratic administration," he added.
Egan also said a permit for the trans-Alaska pipeline is long overdue, adding: "It should have been issued a year ago by a secretary of interior who held the trust of the White House and had influence with Congress."
"Adequate safeguards for the environment should have been included in the permit, placing the burden of compliance with the builders and owners," Egan said. "That is the procedure followed in all other licensing and should be applied to this project."
"We will win in November because we offer the candidates who have but one dedicated purposeand that is to make certain that every policy decision, every approved enactment is in the best interests of all the people of Alaska, he said.