The Trans Alaska Pipeline System was
built and completed to move oil from the North Scope of Alaska to the northern
most ice-free port in Valdez, Alaska. On March 13, 1968, Atlantic Richfield Oil
Company and Humble Oil and Refining Company announced the discovery of the
giant Prudhoe Bay oilfield on Alaska’s North Slope (Robert Sherrill 1973). This
discovery had an estimated 10 billion barrels in reserves, making it the
largest discovery in the United States. These companies, along with several
others began planning the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. The proposal for the
pipeline created a massive controversy lasting four years (Trans Alaska
Pipeline Controversy). Starting in 1970, environmental groups aimed to stop the
project by filing lawsuits. By 1972, the U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled
that the federal government did not follow the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920,
which required a smaller pipeline right-of-way than required for the
Trans-Alaska Pipeline (Mary Clay Berry 1973). However, in 1973, the U.S.

Congress took up the issue of amending the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 to
permit a larger right-of-way. Though there were many arguments against the
construction of the pipeline, Congress still went out of their way to get the
Trans-Alaska Pipeline built.

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