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In 1970 in Inuvik, Canada on the Mackenzie River, 2 degrees above the Arctic Circle, Secretary Hickel inspected the test site for an above- ground, hot-oil pipeline. The Prudhoe Bay oil surfaces at 140 degrees F and the hot-oil pipeline had to avoid subterranean permafrost lenses that if   melted could crack the pipeline. Once completed in 1977, TAPS became the largest project in the history of free enterprise.

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1970 Hickel (left) and Jean Cretien, Canadian Commissioner for Northern Regions and Indigenous People (right), inspect pipe stacked at Prudhoe Bay. Construction would begin in 1972.

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USGS Director Dr. Bill Pecora briefs Secretary Hickel prior to his inspection of one of the test sites that Hickel ordered to be drilled every 500 feet along the 800-mile pipeline route. In locations where permafrost was discovered, “stantions” were put in place to elevate the pipeline above ground – an expensive, but necessary, precaution.