An Important Visit by Senator Hugh Chance
During the summer of 1975, Senator Hugh Chance visited with me seven days on the pipeline in Alaska. During the three days Senator Chance was at Prudhoe Bay, I arranged for him to be given a tour of the oil field and facilities. Because of his position in government, he was given an extensive tour. All questions that he asked were readily answered by the oil company executive conducting the tour. Senator Chance was taken everywhere he requested to go and was shown all data that he asked to see. The Prudhoe Bay oil field, from which crude oil is presently being produced, was explained in detail, and the entire North Slope of Alaska was discussed.
On one of those days we went to one of the drill sites. Senator Chance asked for more and more technical data and by the time we returned that afternoon to our starting point, we were totally astonished at what we had seen and heard. Senator Chance had been taken to places that even I as a Chaplain had not previously been allowed to go. However, I stress that I did have executive privileges and could go to any point on the field I wanted to, as well as look at any documents I desired. As I have said, this had been conceded to Chaplains, after about nine months on the Pipeline we were then given executive privileges. We were allowed an executive dormitory and were allowed to see certain things that others could not. Nevertheless, that day I was shown things with the Senator and told things by Mr. X that I had not learned before.
We have already explained that Senator Chance made it clear that the things he had seen that day were in direct opposition to the facts that had been presented by the briefers who came from Washington, D.C. to inform State Senators as to the supposed facts of an energy crisis. I myself was very surprised when I heard the Senator expressing himself, and I said, "Surely a government official would not lie to us about the energy crisis." Senator Chance answered, "Chaplain Lindsey, we were told something about the Prudhoe Field, and we were told that there was an energy crisis. Today I have found out that there is no energy crisis." It was at that point that he asked me to arrange a further interview with Mr. X the next day, which I did.
When I contacted Mr. X and told him that the Senator would like to talk to him again that day, he said, "By all means. I'll have some time this afternoon, and I'll be glad to give you as much time as you need."
We walked into the office of Mr. X at Atlantic Richfield's facility that afternoon and Senator Chance began to ask questions. Mr. X was at first a little reluctant to answer the questions, and then the Senator said, "Sir, I want to ask you these questions as a gentleman to a gentleman. I would appreciate very much your direct answers. I promise you that the answers you give will be answers that I would like to use in trying to wake up the American people." Then Senator Chance went on asking questions. He asked, "Mr. X, what is it that the Federal government is out to do? Why is it that they are not allowing the oil companies to develop the entire North Slope of Alaska? Why is it that private enterprise cannot get this oil out? Mr. X, will you please tell me the whole story?"
followed included some of the most astonishing answers I have ever heard
in my life. This is not opinion, but is actually what I heard from a
man who was one of the original developers of the Prudhoe Bay oil field.
He said, "Senator Chance, there is no energy crisis! There is an
artificially produced energy crisis, and it is for the purpose of controlling
the American people. You see, if the government can control energy,
they can control industry, they can control an individual, and they
can control business. It is well known that everything relates back
to crude oil."
Senator Chance asked, "Mr. X, if you developed the entire North Slope of Alaska as private enterprise what would happen?" Mr. X looked at the Senator and answered simply, "If we as oil companies were allowed to develop the entire North Slope oil field, that is the entire area north of the Brooks Range in Alaska, producing the oil that we already know is there, and if we were allowed to tap the numerous pools of oil that could be tapped (we are tapping only one right now), in five years the United States of America could be totally energy free, and totally independent from the rest of the world as far as energy is concerned. What is more, sir, if we were allowed to develop this entire field as private enterprise, within five years the United States of America could balance payments with every nation on the face of the earth, and again be the great nation which America really should be. We could do that if only private enterprise was allowed to operate freely, without government intervention."
I stress that I am not giving a personal opinion, but I am simply quoting what an expert in the field said.
The Senator was obviously very angry, and he looked back at Mr. X and said, "Sir, in light of all that you've told me, you've set me thinking today that after being a State Senator for four years, I would like to know something. Sir, will you please tell me what you think the American government is out to do?"
It was at that point that Mr. X revealed his, opinion that the government was out to declare American Telephone and Telegraph a monopoly, and secondly, to nationalize the oil companies.
Senator Chance almost gasped at that point and asked, "You mean to tell me that you're convinced that the Federal government is out to nationalize the oil companies?" Mr. X said that was so, in his opinion, and that the Federal government would continue to put such rules and stipulations on the oil companies until fuel prices would go sky high.
conversation was in 1975. Already Mr. X was predicting over $1.00 a
gallon at a time when the American people were reluctantly paying something
like 50 cents a gallon. Mr. X told the Senator and me that the Federal
government would force oil prices to over $1.00 a gallon, and in doing
so would make the
Mr. X gave facts and statistics that day, and in the last six months of the construction of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, it became clear that he certainly knew what he was talking about.
Senator Chance had another question. "Mr. X, if you're convinced that the Federal government is out to nationalize the oil companies, undoubtedly you have a target date?"
Mr. X said, "Yes, Senator, we do. As oil companies we have already calculated that with present government controls and regulations, we as oil companies can remain solvent until 1982." Those were Mr. X's exact words.
The Senator said, "Sir, I'm amazed at what I've heard, because it falls in line with what I've believed for years, in what the Federal government and its agencies are really attempting to do to the American people."
Senator Chance was obviously very upset, and as he discussed it all with me in the dormitory room later that day, he said that when he went to the lower 48 states he would attempt to have somebody publish the truth of this matter and use it in their election campaign. He wrote a personal letter to Ronald Reagan and received a personal reply—Senator Chance wanted Ronald Reagan to go to the North Slope of Alaska and see the truth as he had seen it, and make the energy crisis a major platform in his campaign. He believed that if he did so, he would be elected.
Ronald Reagan wrote back to Senator Chance and said, "Sir, I'd like to, but I don't have the time—my schedule will not permit." Senator Chance attempted to get others to know the truth about the Prudhoe Bay oil field and the fact that there was no true energy crisis, while something could still be done before the created crisis became even more severe. It was artificially produced, of course, but many of the American people were becoming convinced that there really was an oil crisis, while the oil companies themselves were constantly being hamstrung.
Senator Chance could not get anyone willing to stick their necks out far enough to tell the truth because this was becoming a major issue. The American people were being affected, gasoline tanks were empty, crude oil was in short supply, and even natural gas in certain of our East Coast cities was cut back that year to such a low level that homes were going cold. By creating an artificially induced energy crisis, the American people in large numbers became convinced that our energy really was short.
In our last chapter, we told about that pipeline in Wyoming. The oil was available, but the pipe was shut down. As we proceed, we shall see that huge quantities of oil were available in Alaska, and could readily be made available to the outside world, provided the pipeline itself was available. We shall see that intensive efforts were made to hinder that work to slow it down, to increase its costs, and all the time to hoodwink the American people.
What was behind it all? It is not enough simply to say that the current President is at fault. These regulations were proceeding before he was President, indeed, during the term of a President who represented another Party. This scandal I am exposing is something that leads to the bureaucratic controls behind—and yet beyond—government political leaders, as such. I shall have more to say about that as we proceed . . . and about important financial operations.
What was the involvement of the New York banker and of those Arab Sheiks who had to help bail out the oil companies when they faced bankruptcy? These are questions to which we must have answers. At the appropriate point we shall give you more of the facts, but first we turn aside to give you some information about the oil fields themselves and how they work, and then (in Chapter 7) give some typical examples of the wasteful expenditures forced on the oil companies.
These examples could be multiplied. We shall refer to the problems with the Unions, but those were relatively minor. The oil companies could have lived with those frustrations, but we shall still give an illustration of that problem area, so that the whole picture is brought into clearer focus. Then we shall go on to the far greater problems involving the ecology.