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The Alaska Pipeline
More about the film The Alaska Pipeline

Three welders from the Pipeliners Local 798 Union In the early weeks of 1968, after a decade-long search for oil in Alaska's frozen wilderness, gas burst up out of an exploratory well on the North Slope with such force the crew thought it was about to blow. Geologists soon calculated that as much as ten billion barrels of oil lay below the frozen tundra of Prudhoe Bay -- the largest oil find in North America.

The pipeline built to bring that oil to market was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century. For more than three years, workers battled brutal Arctic weather to construct an eight hundred mile pipeline that traversed three mountain ranges, thirty-four rivers, and eight hundred streams, and that withstood earthquakes and sub-zero temperatures. The men, machines and money the pipeline brought to Alaska would forever transform what had long been regarded as America's last great wilderness. The pipeline's construction pitted America's need for energy against its desire to protect land and wildlife, sparking one of the most passionate conservation battles in American history.

This American Experience program explores the impact the pipeline had on culture and society in Alaska as well as the environment, featuring the men and women who worked on the line as well as long-time Alaska residents, members of the Native Alaskan community, environmentalists, government geologists, congressional supporters and foes of the project, and local Alaska politicians.

Film Description
A synopsis of the film, plus film credits.

The program transcript.

Further Reading
A list of books, articles, and Web sites relating to the program topic.

Program interviewees and consultants.

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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is closed captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by The Caption Center at WGBH.

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