PIPELINE ACROSS ALASKA by Charles Coombs

PIPELINE ACROSS ALASKA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the oil's discovery to its first trip South, Coombs chronicles the coming of the pipeline--a tremendous project which had to overcome the ""almost overwhelming challenge"" of environmental hazards, native claims, labor and political disputes, and above all rough terrain and extreme cold. Pro-pipeline all the way, Coombs is best on its builders' responses to the latter challenges: the problems of drilling in permafrost, the special machinery that had to be invented for laying the pipe or placing support posts in the frozen land, the temporary ice bridge and all-season haul road that had to be constructed to transport the ""mountain"" of material, the difficulties of welding in the icy field. Native claims and working conditions get less attention, and though Coombs mentions the environmental problems involved in the pipeline's construction and the possibility of oil spills during its operation, his emphasis is on the extraordinary precautions taken to minimize the ecological upsets (""zero impact is possible only at the cost of zero achievement"") and on the ""failsafe"" methods devised for preventing, detecting, and controlling spills. Though we'd prefer to see more concern about the pipeline's impact, it's hard not to be impressed by the achievement.

Pub Date: April 5th, 1978
Publisher: Morrow