It took $8-billion and 3 years to build. It was 800-mile oil pipeline winding its way thru the Alaskan wilderness crossing 3 Arctic mountain ranges and hundreds of rivers and streams. At the time it was the world’s largest and most expensive privately funded construction project.

Half of the 48-inch wide steel pipeline was built above ground to protect the Alaskan permafrost from the naturally warm oil and to allow wildlife to walk underneath. At its peak production, it was pumping two-million barrels of oil a day.

The only major oil spill came when a saboteur blew a hole in the pipe near Fairbanks and more than half a million gallons spilled onto the ground. But other than that, the Trans-Alaskan pipeline has been a huge enviornmental success.

It was on this date, June 20, 1977, that oil from the country’s largest oil fields at Prudhoe Bay began flowing thru the pipeline south to Valdez, Alaska.