UTILITIES: The Big Poker Game

Even after Canadian Oilman Frank McMahon lost out in his fight to pipe natural gas from the vast Peace River Basin* of Alberta and British Columbia into the U.S. Northwest (TIME, June 28), he refused to concede defeat. Although the Federal Power Commission awarded the franchise to rival Ray Fish's Pacific Northwest Pipeline Corp. (see map), nature had spotted McMahon's untapped gas supplies some 400 miles closer to Seattle than the San Juan Basin along the Colorado-New Mexico border, from which Fish planned to get his gas.

A chance-taking-ex-driller, McMahon climbed into his private plane (in which he flies 200,000...

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