Environment: Alaska: Money v. Law

Ever since oil reserves of at least 5 billion barrels were discovered on Alaska's North Slope, oilmen have been wondering how to get the commodity to market. Some suggest sending it across the ice-choked Northwest Passage to the U.S. East Coast on supertankers. Others propose a pipeline through western Canada. But most Alaskans are betting on a controversial pipeline that would run the 773 miles to the ice-free port of Valdez on Prince William Sound.

Last month Interior Secretary Walter J. Hickel, a former Governor of Alaska, said that he would sign a permit for construction of the line. The only thing...

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