November 16, 1973

No parades today. No public celebrations. Just the usual birthdays or anniversaries of a private nature marked by families and individuals.

So why the title?

This date references one of the many preliminary steps to a great American construction project. It was on this day that President Nixon urged the US Congress to pass the bill authorizing the Alaska pipeline.

For nearly 800 miles across and through some of the most difficult terrain the pipe, with a four foot interior diameter, connects the oil fields of the North Slope with the Port of Valdez. An ice free port, supertankers drink their fill at the terminal and then glide away.

And where do they go?

A good percentage of them unload at refineries along the US West Coast. Cherry Point, Whatcom County, Washington is included. It is a refinery build especially to receive this northern, domestic oil and put on-line in 1977, the year the “tap was opened”.

Hats off!  Hard hats that is. To the men and women that worked the construction crews. Long hours. Difficult work. Precise work. Terrible working conditions.

While researching this topic I wanted to include the barrels per day the pipeline supplies. At two official web sites I found conflicting numbers. How can the port ship each day three times the amount the pipeline pumps?

And my friends wonder why I’m getting more cynical with age?????