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Oil was discovered on Alaska's North Slope in 1967. Soon thereafter, the state of Alaska sold oil leases worth over $900 million, and established royalties that made Alaska one of the richest states in the nation. Before this could happen, oil companies needed an economical way to move the oil to market. Several ideas, such as rail transport and ice-breaking tankers, were rejected. A consortium of oil companies formed the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company to build the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), which included both the pipeline starting in Prudhoe Bay, and the terminal facilities at Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in Alaska. Two major interests opposed the pipeline. Alaska's native people pressed long-standing land claims and threatened to tie up the project in court ...

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